Robert Hinton, a former Rikers Island inmate, was just weeks away from collecting a $450,000 settlement from New York state when he was shot and killed in Brooklyn Thursday night. Hinton made headlines when he was brutally beaten by several Rikers correctional officers in 2012 for refusing to be transferred to a different cell without first receiving his lunch, the New York Daily News reports. After the beating his face was swollen beyond recognition, his eyes filled with blood, and he suffered cracked vertebrae. A security camera captured the attack, the officers were fired, and the city signed the settlement in September.
Hinton was about to receive the check (the city has a 90-day window to pay up) when he was shot at 11:35 p.m. in Brownsville after spending Thanksgiving with his family. As of yesterday night police are still searching for the shooter, who also wounded a second victim.
Hinton’s aunt Lynette Johnson told the Daily News that the family learned of Hinton’s death toward the end of their holiday gathering. “It was devastating,” she said. “It doesn’t seem real. In the blink of eye you’re gone. He was a beautiful person. He said once, if you’ve been through half of what I’ve been through, you’d be dead.” Hinton’s sister Kenashia Johnson said that after Thanksgiving dinner he took his little sister and nephews home before heading to Brownsville.
Police say Hinton was affiliated with the Bloods street gang and had at least two previous stays on Rikers Island: one in 2005 and one in 2008, both for assault. He’d been arrested 11 times for everything from weapons possession to attempted murder. “Our hearts are heavy with the news today of our client Robert Hinton’s death,” Leo Glickman, Hinton’s lawyer, told the Daily News. “That he died in such violent circumstances reminds us again that our community must dedicate itself to ending the cycle of violence afflicting so many.”