COXSACKIE — Eight corrections officers at Coxsackie Correctional Facility were injured as they attempted to break up a fight between two inmates, said James Miller, director of public relations at New York State Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association on Thursday.
A sergeant and two officers were taken to a local hospital. The sergeant sustained pain and swelling to his knee, ankle, lower back, right shoulder and hip. One officer sustained pain and swelling to his right hand and thumb. A second officer sustained pain and swelling to his right hip, right shoulder and redness to his eye.
They were treated at the hospital and released, Miller said. The three officers did not return to duty.
Five other officers sustained minor injuries while attempting to break up the fight and get the inmates under control. They were treated by the facility medical staff and remained on duty, Miller said.
A sergeant at the prison observed two inmates begin to exchange punches in the mess hall at about 7:35 a.m. April 20. NYSCOPBA, the union representing the corrections officers, released details of the melee Thursday.
As the inmates continued to fight, the sergeant requested assistance and several officers responded to the mess hall. The inmates were ordered several times to stop fighting, but ignored them all. The staff used pepper spray on four different occasions to stop the inmates as they continued to fight, Miller said. The pepper spray was ineffective.
As the inmates continued to fight on the mess hall floor, the sergeant and another officer grabbed the shirt of one of the inmates and managed to pull him off of the other inmate, Miller said. Once under control, the inmate became compliant.
Two officers grabbed the second inmate by his waistband and shirt and pulled him off the floor. The inmate continued to struggle with officers, Miller said. They used body holds and forced him to the floor, and with assistance from other officers they were able to get him into handcuffs. Once in handcuffs, the inmate was compliant.
Both inmates were brought to the infirmary to be treated for their injuries. After treatment, one inmate was placed in a Special Housing Unit of the maximum-security prison. The second inmate was placed in a cell.
Disciplinary charges against both inmates are pending, Miller said.
“Despite calling on state legislators to make meaningful policy changes to protect staff, here we are once again reporting on multiple officers injured from an incident at Coxsackie,” NYSCOPBA Mid-Hudson Region Vice President Chris Moreau said in a statement Thursday.
“The violence numbers speak for themselves,” Moreau said. “The politicians elected to represent us must understand the gravity of danger that exists daily for our members and address the violence that exists in our prisons before someone gets critically injured or killed.”