Inmates at a federal jail in Brooklyn have suffered for days without heat or power during a wintry cold snap, according to lawyers and U.S. lawmakers.
The crisis reached a head on Saturday as protesters rallied outside the Metropolitan Detention Center in the industrial waterfront section of Sunset Park, where inmates banged on the walls of the jail and flashed nightlights in a plea for help.
A fire last Sunday cut off power and heat to parts of the jail, according to motions filed this week in federal court by lawyers from the Federal Defenders who represent some of the inmates.
Since then, at least some of the more than 1,600 inmates at the jail have suffered in near-freezing temperatures and in darkness after the sun goes down while locked in their cells for 23 hours a day, according to the court filings.
Current inmates at the facility include Nxivm sex-cult leader Keith Raniere and accused jewelry thief mastermind Damir Pejcinovic, as well as MS-13 gang members and mafiosos - but the facility also holds those charged with lesser crimes and awaiting bail hearings or trial.