COXSACKIE — An inmate who allegedly assaulted a correctional officer at the maximum-security Coxsackie Correctional Facility in November has been charged with a felony, according to state police.
Kyle Johnson, 32, of Coxsackie, was arrested at 11:51 a.m. Tuesday and faces a charge of assault while confined in a correctional facility, a class D felony, state police said.
The New York State Correctional Officers & Police Benevolent Association commended state police for their work on the investigation.
“We sincerely hope that the arrest of inmate Kyle Johnson on felony assault charges sends a clear message that violence against staff will not be tolerated,” according to the union’s statement. “This was a sudden, violent attack that left one of our officers with multiple fractures to his face in a year when assaults on staff reached record levels. We commend the state police and the Greene County District Attorney’s Office for pursuing charges in this incident.”
Johnson entered the prison’s school building Nov. 4 with several prohibited items, state police Public Information Officer Steven Nevel said.
The correctional officer, who has not been identified, directed Johnson to the wall for a frisk, at which point Johnson turned to the CO and punched him in the face with a closed fist, Nevel said.
The officer then fell to his knees and the inmate continued attacking him, according to the union. The officer shot back at the inmate with pepper spray, but to no avail.
Another officer arrived and was able to tackle the inmate to the floor using body holds, according to the union. When additional staff arrived, the inmate was placed in restraints.
The officer sustained facial injuries including a bloody nose and bruises to his head and face, Nevel said.
“He was sent to Albany Med for further evaluation,” Nevel said.
The officer was treated for he for a fractured orbital bone, fractured cheekbone and a broken nose. He did not return to duty, according to the union.
Johnson was convicted on first-degree burglary and first-degree use of a firearm, both class B felonies in Rockland County, in 2017, and is serving an eight-year sentence, according to the union. He committed an armed home invasion in 2016 in the town of Nanuet, according to the union.
State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision spokesman Thomas Mailey said the investigation is continuing.
“The safety and well-being of our staff and incarcerated individuals is our top priority,” Mailey said. “The department has zero tolerance for violence within our facilities and anyone engaged in misconduct will be disciplined. If warranted, as in this case, an incident can and will be referred for outside prosecution. The investigation into the Nov. 4 incident at Coxsackie Correctional facility is ongoing and the Department cannot comment further at this time.”
Another assault by an inmate took place Dec. 20 at the medium-security Greene Correctional Facility in Coxsackie. Three officers were injured in the attack, state police said.
NYSCOPBA Mid-Hudson Region Vice President Michael Mazzella described the assaults as examples of an alarming trend.
“As we approach the end of the year, 2019 marks the fourth straight year that assaults on staff have increased,” Mazzella said. “In 2016 there were 760 reported assaults on staff. With a week left in 2019, we are approaching 1,000 assaults on staff as inmate advocates continue to push for decreased disciplinary measures.”
“Without having substantial measures to deter inmates from attacking staff, our fear is that this alarming trend will continue,” Mazzella said.