PRISONER ROBERT HINTON SHOT DEAD FOR REPORTING VIOLENT ABUSE
Just weeks from a $450,000 payout from the city and his first child expected in January, a former Rikers Island inmate had everything to look forward to — until he was fatally shot in the head in Brooklyn.
Robert Hinton, who made headlines for surviving a beatdown from correction officers, was killed Thursday night — just two months after winning a settlement from the city.
Hinton, 28, was on the brink of getting the big check when he was shot in front of the Van Dyke Houses on Sutter Ave. in Brownsville around 11:35 p.m., according to police. He was looking forward to welcoming a baby girl.
A second victim was shot in the leg. He ran to a nearby apartment, where cops found him, officials said. His wounds were not life-threatening.
The shooter was still being sought late Friday, police said.
In September, the city settled with Hinton over the 2012 case in which he was beaten by several correction officers. He was handcuffed and in solitary confinement on Rikers.
Hinton had committed the sin of refusing to be transferred to a different cell without getting his lunch — a baloney sandwich.
The settlement was signed Sept. 14, but Hinton had yet to receive it when he died, his lawyer said. It was unclear exactly when he would have received the money, but generally the city has a 90-day window to send the check, so he likely would have received it within the next three weeks.
The Brooklyn man's face swelled to three times its normal size, his eyes filled with blood and he had cracked vertebrae as a result of the beating. A surveillance camera captured the attack.
"Our hearts are heavy with the news today of our client Robert Hinton's death," said Leo Glickman, whose firm represented Hinton in the lawsuit. "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."
A Rikers Island captain and five correction officers were fired in January for the beating. In announcing the dismissals, city Correction Commissioner Joseph Ponte said "there is no room for this type of behavior at Rikers."
The Bronx district attorney's office is still weighing whether to file criminal charges against the officers, a spokeswoman said.
"We are satisfied that Robert got his day in court and Robert now hopes to move on with his life," his attorney, Nicole Bellina, said at the time of the settlement.
Hinton's mother was at the medical examiner's office Friday afternoon, while devastated relatives gathered at his home. The mom learned of the shooting toward the end of the family Thanksgiving gathering, his aunt Lynette Johnson told the Daily News.
"It was devastating," Johnson 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."
The baby girl was due Jan. 20, his sister Keviah Johnson, 21, said.
"He was adventurous, loving, fun," she said. "He was the protector of the family."
"We were having Thanksgiving dinner," another sister, Kenashia Johnson said. "When everyone left he took his little sister and nephews home. And then he went to Brownsville."
Hinton was affiliated with the Bloods street gang, police sources said, and had several stays on Rikers Island. He had a five-year stint on an assault case in 2008, before he was transferred to state prison, officials said.
He was released in June 2014. He also served a three-year prison term beginning in 2005 for assault.
In the 2008 case, Hinton was accused of shooting and wounding a man during an argument.
He had 11 prior arrests for a range of charges, including weapons possession, assault, and attempted murder.
He had been arrested twice in 2015, officials said.