On Wednesday, a New York City contractor — and owner of two construction companies — was charged with manslaughter in connection with the death of an 18-year-old construction worker from 2015.
As reported in The New York Times, prosecutors allege that the contractor ignored multiple complaints from workers about shoring up an exposed wall, which subsequently collapsed, killing one worker and injuring two others.
In addition to manslaughter, the indictment, which was issued in the State Supreme Court of Brooklyn, lists several other charges, including criminally negligent homicide, reckless endangerment, grand larceny, assault, falsifying business records and tax fraud, just to name a few.
According to the indictment, the contractor ordered several workers in 2015 to excavate an area next to a one-story building, which his companies were converting to a five-story structure. Not only did the contractor allegedly not receive permission from the city officials to work on this particular area, but he also failed to provide materials to shore an exposed wall on the adjacent building, as stated in the indictment.
Despite several requests from workers to shore up this exposed wall — including repeated requests just hours before the collapse — prosecutors claim the contractor failed to take appropriate action, resulting in the collapse of the adjacent building wall and the tragic death of the worker.
Sadly, this death is simply part of a disturbing trend in New York City. Since January 2015, 33 workers have died in the five boroughs alone, which have prompted a crackdown by city officials, including the Investigation Department.
Mark Peters, the commissioner of the Investigation Department, recently said at a news conference, “We have seen the tragic results on construction sites too many times when contractors ignore repeated warnings of danger and put the lives of workers at risk. In this case, the warnings were clear, but the defendant disregarded them at a deadly cost.”