Mass. CO on life support after inmate's assault with 15-lb. barbell

The Aug. 31 attack on correction officer Matthew Tidman occurred while he was monitoring the gym area of the facility


By Luis Fieldman
masslive.com

SHIRLEY, Mass. — An inmate at the MCI-Shirley medium security prison allegedly attacked a corrections officer late last month with a 10- to 15-pound weight to the head and the corrections officer is now hospitalized and on life support, according to a union representing correction officers.

The incident occurred on Aug. 31 and the Massachusetts Correction Officers Federated Union Executive Board described the attack on correction officer Matthew Tidman as “unprovoked” while he was monitoring the gym area of the facility.

CO Matthew Tidman is pictured in a photo from the GoFundMe set up to raise funds for his family. Tidman is hospitalized and on life support after an inmate hit him in the head with a barbell. (Photo via GoFundMe)
CO Matthew Tidman is pictured in a photo from the GoFundMe set up to raise funds for his family. Tidman is hospitalized and on life support after an inmate hit him in the head with a barbell. (Photo via GoFundMe) (GoFundMe)

“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.”

The union is calling on the Middlesex District Attorney to prosecute the inmate to “the fullest extent of the law” and including attempted murder.

The a spokesperson for the Middlesex District Attorney’s office confirmed the incident and described Tidman as having “sustained life threatening injuries as the result of an alleged assault by a prisoner.”

Meghan Kelly, a spokesperson for the DA, said investigators are pursuing criminal charges in the matter.

“The incident highlights the dangers which corrections officers face in performing their duties,” Kelly said in a statement. “We are very conscious of the long road ahead for Officer Tidman as well as the impact that this workplace violence has had on his family and colleagues.”

The union is also calling on all free weights to be removed at all maximum and medium security prisons immediately and that a full investigation be launched into how “such a violent criminal was in a medium security prison.”

GoFundMe for Tidman has begun accepting donations and is currently at $84,400 of its $100,000 goal, including a $3,000 donation from the Jail Officers and Employees Association of Suffolk County.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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