GoFundMe for CO on life support reaches over $100K after inmate attack
Matthew Tidman remains on life support and investigators are pursuing criminal charges
By Luis Fieldman
SHIRLEY, Mass. — A GoFundMe fundraiser is accepting donations for a correction officer currently hospitalized and on life support after an alleged brutal attack by an inmate with a piece of lead gym equipment last week.
As of Friday afternoon, Matthew Tidman remains on life support and investigators are pursuing criminal charges, according to statements by a union representing corrections officers and the Middlesex District Attorney’s office.
The GoFundMe started by Brandie Young has raised $91,500 of its $10,000 goal as of Friday afternoon. The largest contribution so far is a $3,000 donation from the Jail Officers and Employees Association of Suffolk County.
“While Matt fights for his life and remains in critical condition, his family remains by his side,” Young wrote in the fundraiser’s description. “Matt is someone who is the first to lend a helping hand no matter the situation and now is our time to do the same for him and his family! Anything helps and is greatly appreciated.”
A representative from the correction officers union said Tidman’s condition remains precarious with him in the hospital and in intensive care.
“He’s still on life support with serious injuries after a heinous, unprovoked assault with a piece of gym equipment,” said Kevin Flanagan, the legislative representative for Massachusetts Correction Officers Federated Union, on Friday.
Flanagan said the Massachusetts Department of Correction had closed down the gym and is in the process of removing all the free weight equipment from its maximum security centers.
“As a union, we are asking for an investigation into how and why this happened,” Flanagan said.
Tidman is 36 years old and has spent 10-and-a-half years with the state’s Department of Correction, according to Flanagan.
The union is calling on the Middlesex District Attorney to prosecute the inmate to “the fullest extent of the law,” including attempted murder, in a statement released this week.
Meghan Kelly, a spokesperson for the DA, previously told MassLive that investigators are pursuing criminal charges in the matter. Attempts to reach the Middlesex DA’s office were not immediately returned Friday to find out whether prosecutors have filed charges yet.
“The inmate struck Officer Tidman in the head with the piece of equipment,” the statement by the union read. “He immediately fell to the floor where the inmate wielded the equipment and struck Matt several more times in the head.”
The equipment was described as a 10- to 15-pound piece of lead gym equipment. The union stated that the injuries to Tidman were so severe he had to be rushed by medical flight to a hospital and that he remains on life support to date.
“What occurred that day is unfathomable and should never occur in any of our prisons,” the union wrote. “This was nothing short of attempted murder.”