Another Rikers Island correction officer has been attacked on the job by an inmate. The Department of Correction’s union says it’s the fourth such attack in just six weeks.
The union is calling on city officials to make changes immediately to protect the officers.
The 25-year-old officer is recovering from a broken nose and first- and third-degree burns after he was attacked during his shift on Saturday night, officials said.
“One inmate sucker-punched him from the side and took the hot water and threw it on him,” said Elias Husamudeen, president of the Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association.
J’von Johnson, 21, is facing felony assault charges for his alleged role in the attack.
“Outrageous attacks like this, on an officer just doing his job helping keep the rest of us safe, are exactly why this inmate was immediately placed into more restrictive custody,” said Peter Thorne, the DOC’s deputy commissioner of public information.
Husamudeen said the attack wasn’t all that surprising.
“For us, the writing is on the wall,” he said.
Just five weeks ago, 39-year-old Jean Souffrant, also a Rikers correction officer, suffered a brutal attack at the hands of a group of inmates. He suffered a fractured spine and bleeding on the brain.
Last Tuesday, a 24-year-old officer was assaulted on the job.
The union also claims there was another incident last week.
“A female correction officer, who was breaking up a fight, and she, too, had her jaw broken by inmates who were under 21 years old,” Husamudeen said. “We do not have the backing or protection of the mayor of the city of New York and even his administration, his commissioner. There’s not enough being done.”
Now, the union is demanding action from the Department of Correction commissioner, city public advocate Letitia James and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.
“This guy who assaulted this correction officer yesterday, he just assaulted another one last year,” Husamudeen said. “He’s coming out of one of these programs where they put inmates … that’s alternative to punitive segregation.”
Husamadeen claims attacks on officers have increased since the de Blasio administration did away with punitive segregation for younger inmates, which means putting them in solitary confinement when they act up.
But a spokesperson for the Department of Correction said assaults on staff resulting in serious injury have decreased 14 percent over the last three years.
The union disputes that number and claims there is all talk and no action. CBS2 did not immediately receive a response from Mark-Viverito or James regarding their thoughts on the union’s demands.