Rikers CO suffers broken nose while intervening in inmate fight
Union officials blamed Mayor de Blasio for not keeping the corrections officer safe
By Reuven Blau and James Fanelli
New York Daily News
RIKERS ISLAND, N.Y. — A Rikers Island correction officer suffered a broken nose Thursday night while trying to break up an inmate-on-inmate brawl — and her union blamed Mayor de Blasio for not keeping her safe.
The female officer was punched in the nose by inmate Xavier Blount after she used her chemical agent on Blount and other prisoners who refused to stop fighting, according to the jail officer’s union.
Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association President Elias Husamudeen said the officer was in pain but recovering from her injury.
He said that inmates have been emboldened to attack officers because they do not fear repercussions for their actions. He blamed de Blasio for getting rid of punishments that inmates could face for attacking an officer, civilian or another prisoner.
“We still have a mayor who is missing in action and out to lunch and refuses to protect correction officers,” Husamudeen said.
The city Correction Department said Blount was arrested for the assault and praised its officers for working “tirelessly every day to provide a safe environment for everyone.”
“Just like COBA, we too want safer jails and are dedicating the resources necessary to make that happen, including nearly $4.5 million announced in February for new security measures,” agency spokesman Peter Thorne said.
The union said that more than 2,000 officers have been assaulted by inmates since de Blasio took office.
The number of attacks jumped 67% in the first six months of the fiscal year that started July 1 compared to the same period a year earlier, according to the union.
Last month, a Rikers officer suffered a fractured spine when five inmates brutally beat him in a premeditated attack. That officer is still in a hospital recovering from his injuries, according to the union.
Husamudeen said that in the past inmates who attacked officers could be isolated or lose their privileges to use the recreation yard, the commissary and the TV. But that changed under de Blasio, he said.
“This female correction officer should not be nursing a broken nose while this inmate is shopping and buying Doritos,” he said.
The Correction Department said that the de Blasio administration created a dedicated arrest unit in the agency’s Intelligence Bureau that works to prioritize cases against inmates for the Bronx District Attorney’s Office to prosecute.
The total number of inmate arrests rose 41% to 1,126 in fiscal year 2017 from 796 in fiscal year 2015, according to the agency.
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