Rikers gang attacks injure at least 11 NYC corrections officers
One ambush gave four Rikers Island correction officers broken bones, cracked ribs and bruised eyes
By Chelsia Rose Marcius
New York Daily News
NEW YORK — A gang-driven ambush gave four Rikers Island correction officers broken bones, cracked ribs and bruised eyes — and was one of five attacks at one jail this week that injured at least 11 officers, the Daily News has learned.
Thirteen inmates — 11 of them identified as gang members — attacked correction officers Simeon Hayes, Mary Cunningham, Sharmelle Bernard and Dionne Kendall Tuesday night at the Robert N. Davoren Complex, according to an internal incident report obtained by The News.
Hayes suffered a broken right hand, cracked ribs and other injuries after being struck with a fire extinguisher, the report says.
All four officers were taken to Mount Sinai Queens, where they were treated for their injuries before being released.
The onslaught began at around 10:30 p.m. Tuesday after gang member Nasir Greene gained access to a control room, from where jail workers monitor security.
Greene buzzed a door that let other inmates enter the area, the report says. The detainees then began to throw closed-fist punches at four officers before a probe team was called in to quell the chaos.
The brutal attack was one of a series of assaults this week on staffers at the Davoren complex, a Rikers jail long plagued by gang violence.
The first incident at around 5:30 p.m. on March 19 involved 13 Bloods members — six of whom were also part of the Tuesday ambush — and injured at least three officers, according to another internal report.
In that incident, Greene and another inmate punched an officer in the face as other inmates began hurling objects at Correction Department staffers, prompting two officers to spray the assailants with a chemical agent.
The second incident was March 20 at around 1:15 a.m., when five inmates — including four who were part of the March 19 melee — broke free from their officer escorts, ran down a corridor and removed their flex-cuffs. That scuffle injured at least one officer injured.
Two days later, on March 22, correction officer Md Shifullah suffered a concussion after Crips member David Young closed his fist and punched Shifullah on the right side of his head, according to an internal report. The blow sent Shifullah into a wall, where he hit the left side of his skull.
Shifullah was taken to Elmhurst Hospital, where wound up with five staples to his head. Another officer, Donnell Cummings, was also injured in the fracas.
A fifth assault reported on Thursday injured one officer.
The correction officers’ Benevolent Association President Benny Boscio Jr. slammed Mayor Bill de Blasio and Correction Department Commissioner Cynthia Brann for vowing to end punitive segregation — commonly referred to as solitary confinement — a tool that allows officers to separate violent inmates.
“Assaults on our officers have skyrocketed up by more than 23% over last year and instead of allowing us to separate violent offenders who commit attacks like this, this administration wants to eliminate punitive segregation completely so that assaultive inmates can be emboldened to terrorize our members and non-violent inmates,” said Boscio.
“Commissioner Brann and Mayor de Blasio continue to condone these acts of violence and by doing nothing to stop these assaults, they are complicit.”
“The safety of those who work in our facilities is always our first priority,” said Correction Department spokesman Peter Thorne. “Any attack is reprehensible and we are pursuing rearrest of the individuals involved."
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