A corrections officer who was already sacrificing his safety by working with dangerous individuals underwent a violent attack the other day, and a fellow officer failed to jump in and fight the attackers. Other honorable officers commented that it was unacceptable that the “guy wouldn’t help.”
The 39-year old officer was on duty when five alleged Bloods gang members physically assaulted him suddenly, breaking his neck. The surveillance footage shows that the other officer in the room stood back and watched the assault, doing nothing to stop it. Despite the negligent officer’s actions or lack of, the union President defended him, saying, “I’m not gonna allow anyone to say my guys could have done more.” However, video footage clearly shows otherwise and that the attack was one of the “worst in years.”
The victim and the bystander officer “were standing in a vestibule separating the day room and inmates’ cells.” For no apparent reason, Espinal entered the small room and punched the officer in the face, knocking him to the ground.
The four other men entered, where they continued to hit and kick the officer, in an unjust five-against-one fight. The other officer, who was standing behind a small table, only came from behind it after two other corrections officers entered to intervene.
He showed no sign of concern or response, and simply watched the attack occur.
When the other two officers arrived, they worked to detain the attackers, and one officer sprayed pepper spray at the altercation, stopping the fight.
The officer who was attacked survived the incident, but he sustained serious injuries including a broken neck and bleeding brain.
Upon investigation, it was discovered that the attack was personal, as the officer had reportedly written up one of the Bloods gang members, prompting five of them to seek revenge.
An anonymous source and critic of the officer’s lack of action argued that all officers take an oath when entering the law enforcement field and upon seeing the footage, said, “There’s no reason to stand there for one second.”
He then continued to say that “something has to be done” about protecting correction officers from these types of attack. He then blamed the current New York City Mayor, Bill de Blasio, who prevented the practice of “punitive segregation for inmates younger than 22.”
All five attackers are 21 or younger, “awaiting trials” for serious offenses including attempted murder.
However, Mayor De Blasio did visit the victim and promised to address the situation once again and determine a way to keep correctional officers safe while at work.
Even more unfortunate, is that the victim had only been working in the correctional system for about two years. He was “head of a bank” in Haiti prior to moving to the United States in 2007.
Charges for the attackers’ violent actions have not been determined, according to the Bronx district attorney’s office spokesperson, Patrice O’Shaughnessy.
Commissioner of the Department of Correction, Cynthia Brann insisted that the attackers would be punished accordingly, but that the primary focus was on the victim’s healing.
The victim’s cousin reported that the officer had expressed not feeling safe at work.
Husamudeen admitted that the officer was attacked for simply doing his job, and other inmates confirmed that the attack was planned.
It is obviously tragic that such a violent ordeal occurred, at the suffering of a corrections officer trying to enforce the law. It is arguably equally disturbing that another officer did not react and allowed the attackers to continue the unfair fight.
Whether he was somehow involved in the attack or just did not have the mental capacity and awareness to deal with the situation, the witnessing officer should arguably be investigated and possibly removed from his position, as he proved to be a danger to fellow officers.
If not combated, this type of behavior will be seen as acceptable, which will make potential corrections officers reconsider working in the prison system, as well as give dangerous inmates ideas about trying to use uncommitted officers to harm dedicated ones.
The officer is lucky to have survived the violent attack, and hopefully, this incident will result in safer working conditions. As the current situation stands, corrections officers have undeniably dangerous jobs at detention centers and should be more adequately protected against the perpetrators who they are working to keep safe and under control.