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Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Corrections Union:
NYSCOPBA: Fake suicide attempt used to attack officers in new Attica Correctional Facility incident

Inmate in special housing unit used
situation to attack Attica staff

By MATT SURTEL - msurtel@batavianews.com

A fake suicide attempt by an inmate last week resulted in injuries to at least four officers at Attica Correctional Facility. An officer was delivering meals to inmates on May 5 in the Special Housing Unit, according to the New York State Correctional Officers & Police Benevolent Association. He came upon an inmate who said he was suicidal and had wrapped what was described as “an altered bed sheet” around his neck.

More officers were alerted and arrived at the cell. The inmate was ordered to remove the sheet from his neck and complied. He began making threats at staff and stating he wanted to fight them, according to NYSCOPBA (the Corrections Union).

A sergeant attempted to de-escalate the situation but the inmate allegedly remained agitated and combative. He again placed the sheet around his neck with it tied to the cell bars. Staff entered the cell to stop the inmate from hurting himself, NYSCOPBA officials said. As they entered the cell, the inmate allegedly removed the sheet and lunged at the officers. He began punching and kicking the officers as they tried to get control.

Staff was able to get the inmate into a body hold and into handcuffs. He was removed from the cell and brought to the infirmary for evaluation. During the investigation, the inmate allegedly told a sergeant he faked the hanging so the officers would enter the cell so he could fight them.

Four officers were taken to United Memorial Medical Center for treatment. One officer had pain and swelling to his right forearm and jaw, NYSCOPBA said. A second officer had facial swelling, a chipped tooth and swelling and knee pain. A third officer had pain, swelling and scrapes his hand, knuckles and left elbow. The fourth officer suffered pain and swelling to his hand, wrist and elbow and abrasions to his lower leg.

They were all treated and released and did not return to duty. Several other officers sustained minor injuries subduing the inmate. They were treated by medical staff at the facility and remained on duty. The inmate, 24, is serving a 17-year sentence after being convicted of second-degree attempted murder and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon in 2018 in Onondaga County.

“Four more officers injured after being lured into the inmate’s cell just so he could attack them,” said Western Region Vice President Mark Deburgomaster of NYSCOPBA in the release. “The officers’ main priority was to get into the cell to stop the inmate from hurting himself and he used it as a ruse to attack them.

“This is an inmate that was already in a Special Housing Unit for disciplinary charges and who callously shot a shop keeper in the head in Syracuse over stealing a bottle of soda in 2017,” he continued. “Exactly the type of inmate who uses the lax disciplinary system currently in place to attack staff.”

The announcement by NYSCOPBA was the second in two days involving alleged attacks on staff at Attica Correctional Facility. The union reported Tuesday that six corrections officers were injured last month when an inmate attacked, after being caught trying to flush a razor blade down a toilet before a cell search.

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Cunius, Carol Lee Caldwell, 5/24/21
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