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Borrello criticizes state for ‘horrific’ attacks at Collins facility

COLLINS — State Sen. George Borrello is responding to a violent week for corrections officers at the medium security correctional facility last week.

In a news release, the New York State Correctional Officers & Police Benevolent Association Inc. union reports an officer had part of his left ring finger bitten off by an inmate who violently fought with staff, injuring seven officers in the process at the medium security correctional facility last week. That assault was one of three that occurred at the facility on Wednesday, June 12, injuring a total of nine officers.

The first attack occurred when officers were conducting a cell search for contraband. The inmate was ordered out of his cell so staff could conduct the search. Once the search was completed, the inmate was ordered back into his cell but refused. When staff approached him, he pulled away initially. Three officers grabbed him in a body hold and forced him to the floor. On the ground and extremely combative, the inmate punched one officer in the face and bit a second officer at the tip of his left ring finger, severing his finger.

During the struggle, the inmate kicked another officer in the groin. Additional staff arrived at the attack and struggled to get the inmate under control. During the struggle, an officer noticed the inmate had a metal object in his hand and forced it out of his hand. Officers were able to force the inmate’s arms behind his back and apply handcuffs. Once handcuffs were applied, he was brought to his feet and escorted to a holding cell for evaluation.

All injured officers were initially treated by medical staff at the facility. The officer with the finger bite was transported to Erie County Medical Center for further treatment. The officer who was kicked in the groin was transported to a local urgent care. Both did not return to duty. The remaining five injured officers were treated for shoulder, elbow, wrist and knee injuries. They remained on duty.

“New York State prisons have become a real life ‘house of horrors’ thanks to the pro-criminal policies of the Democrats who run our state,” Borrello said. “In just one horrific day at Collins last week, a correctional officer had a piece of his finger bitten off by an out-of-control inmate, who also punched another officer in the face and kicked a third in the groin during the assault. The incident stemmed from the inmate’s anger at having to return to his cell after a routine cell search for contraband. Altogether, seven officers suffered injuries from the attack by this one inmate. Later in the day, two assaults by different inmates brought the total of injured officers up to nine, all in one day.”

The inmate, 28, is serving a three year sentence after being convicted in Queens County for second-degree assault in 2023. The metal objects were nail clippers.

“As we reach the halfway point of the year, assaults continue to skyrocket. In the first six months of 2024, we have surpassed 1000 assaults on staff and are on pace to have another 30% increase from last year. It is unacceptable and completely unsustainable at this point and all of this is a result of our State Legislature’s ridiculous policies that support inmates rather than the hard men and women who work in our prisons. While the legislators began their cushy summer vacations, our membership are forced into mandatory overtime with inadequate staffing levels and no relief in sight,” stated Kenny Gold, Western Region Vice President. “It is no wonder why an officer has part of his finger bitten off by a vicious inmate at Collins, there are no ramifications to his actions or any other inmate who attacks staff and that is reprehensible. We keep asking what will it take to get certain legislators’ attention? This incident caused permanent disfigurement, next time one of our members could lose their life! Sadly, anyone wearing blue pants knows someone dying won’t change the horrendous policies enacted by a convict coddling legislature!”

A female officer sustained back, chest and arm injuries in the second assault in the facility. Initially, the officer could not locate an inmate in one of the dorms. When the inmate returned to the dorm, the officer ordered the inmate to submit to a pat frisk. During the frisk, the officer noticed the inmate had a pair of gym shorts underneath his pants and had an object in one of the pockets. When the officer pulled the item out, the inmate pushed off the wall and elbowed the officer in the chest. He pushed the officer away, ripping her uniform shirt and picked up the object, which was the tip of a latex glove with pills inside, from the floor and ran toward the TV room. The officer caught up to the inmate who pushed her and slammed a metal door on her right arm before fleeing toward the kitchen. The officer caught the inmate again near the kitchen door and he proceeded to slam the kitchen door into her chest before running back into the dorm near the officer’s station. Additional staff arrived in the dorm and subdued the inmate without further incident. He was placed in handcuffs and removed from the dorm.

The officer was treated in the infirmary for back, chest and arm injuries and remained on duty. The inmate, who was placed in a Special Housing Unit following the assault, is serving his third stint in prison. Currently, he is serving a seven year sentence after being convicted in Erie County in 2023 for second-degree criminal possession of a weapon.

“The governor and the Democratic majorities in the legislature have failed to keep their promise to make sure our prison employees are kept safe,” Borrello said. “They are criminally negligent and responsible for every catastrophic injury on our prison staff as well as the lifelong physical and mental health impacts these hardworking men and women will endure.”

The third assault occurred as an officer was escorting an inmate from a transport van into the facility.

During the escort up a stairwell, the inmate pushed backward and head butted the officer. The officer immediately grabbed the inmate in a body hold and both fell to the stairwell floor. The inmate continued to remain combative, kicking at the officer. The officer administered OC spray, which had the desired effect. Once compliant, the inmate was placed in handcuffs and escorted out of the stairwell.

The injured officer sustained hand and forearm injuries and was treated at the facility. He remained on duty.

The inmate, 27, is serving a nine year sentence after being convicted in Chemung County for first-degree burglary in 2022.

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