NYC COs suffer broken bones in assault by detainees on Bronx jail barge

A recently released city report shows that more than 1,200 COs have been assaulted this year

By Graham Rayman
New York Daily News
NEW YORK — Two correction officers suffered broken bones when they were jumped by detainees in the city jail barge moored on the East River in the Bronx, their union said Thursday.

One officer sustained a broken leg while the other, a broken finger, in the melee in the Vernon C. Bain Center in Hunts Point. A responding correction captain used pepper spray to quell the disturbance, the union said.

The attack began when the detainee — reputedly a member of a Bloods gang — refused to leave a housing area, union officials said. The detainee attacked the officers, punching and kicking them.

The Vernon C Bain Correction Center prison barge from a kayak.
The Vernon C Bain Correction Center prison barge from a kayak. (Julie McCoy, CC BY-SA 4.0)

Other detainees joined in the chaos, throwing tables and chairs at the officers, the union said.

The two injured officers were taken to Jacobi Medical Center and treated.

City Correction officials did not immediately respond to a request for information on the incident.

The incident was another in a series of attacks on correction officers. The union cited figures in the recently released Mayor’s Management Report which show more than 1,200 correction officers have been assaulted in 2021.

The number of inmate slashings and stabbings has doubled, from 123 in 2020 to 247 in 2021.

Correction staff uses of force have also increased 23% from 6,086 cases in 2020 to 7,506 in 2021, with a significant jump in uses of force that caused serious injury, the management report said.

Correction Officers Benevolent Association President Benny Boscio tied the attack to the ongoing DOC staffing issues. He said Correction Commissioner Vincent Schiraldi pledged to hire 600 new officers by the end of October, but just 113 have been brought on board.

“We have already lost 500 Correction Officers due to resignations and retirements since January. Our staffing crisis is a result of the department’s failure to ensure there are optimal staffing levels to provide the highest levels of security,” Boscio said.

Correction officials have countered that the staffing shortage has been caused by a spike in officers not showing up for work or calling in sick.

The de Blasio administration sued COBA in late September alleging the union was encouraging officers not to show up. The city then withdrew the lawsuit, saying the union had promised to encourage staff to show up.

©2021 New York Daily News.

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