An accused murderer was mistakenly released from Rikers Island because of a clerical error — and jail officials waited 12 hours to notify the NYPD about the boondoggle, police sources said Wednesday.
Christopher Buggs, 26, was awaiting trial in a 2018 Brooklyn murder when a judge sentenced him to time served on a new, unrelated criminal contempt case, according to police sources.
Someone saw the new charge and released Buggs, not realizing that he should have still been held on the murder charge, the sources said.
Corrections officials also waited 12 hours before they informed the NYPD of his accidental release, according to the sources.
The city’s Department of Correction confirmed that an inmate was prematurely released from the Otis Bantum Correctional Center on Monday.
“We are aware of this incident and a full investigation into how this happened is underway,” the department’s deputy commissioner of public information, Peter Thorne, said in a statement.
“Right now we are working with our law enforcement partners to return this individual to custody.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio said during his morning press briefing that “this should never happen again.”
“We’re going to get a full review of this immediately,” the mayor said. “We are confident he will be re-apprehended shortly.”
Cops say Buggs is about 5 feet 5 and 160 pounds. A photo released by police shows him with a scar on his cheek and a dollar-sign tattoo on his neck.
He was arrested on Feb. 3, 2018, in connection with the slaying of Ernest BrownLee, 55, during a dispute outside a bodega three days earlier on Throop Avenue near Vernon Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant, cops said.
BrownLee had a rap sheet of his own — he was arrested for murder in 1983, according to police sources. He was sentenced on two counts of first-degree manslaughter, and one attempted murder charge in 1984, state corrections records show.
He was released in 2008, according to the records.
Additional reporting by Carl Campanile