A New York City Correction Department captain has been charged with criminally negligent homicide after an inmate hanged himself in his Manhattan jail cell and the guard refused to give him immediate help, instead telling others he was “faking it,” prosecutors said Monday. On Nov. 22, 2020, the inmate, Ryan Wilson, who had struggled with mental illness, told the guard, Capt. Rebecca Hillman, that he would hang himself with a noose he’d made out of a bed sheet if she “didn’t let him out of his cell,” according to prosecutors. Hillman allegedly ignored the threat, and Wilson ultimately hanged himself in his cell at the Manhattan Detention Complex. “[Hillman] then looked at Wilson, who was motionless… She said that he was faking it since he was still breathing—and the defendant, the captain—ordered that the cell door be closed,” Assistant District Attorney Dafna Yoran said. It wasn’t until 15 minutes later that Hillman ordered Wilson’s cell door to be opened. After the inmate’s death, the officer allegedly lied on official documents about the suicide. She’s pleaded not guilty to criminally negligent homicide and filing a false report.
If you or a loved one are struggling with suicidal thoughts, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741.