NEW YORK (CBS) — A Rikers Island correction officer had a portion of his apparently thumb bitten off by a inmate and two other officers suffered injuries after a violent brawl broke out Thursday night in the prison, officials from the New York City Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association said Friday.
According to the COBA, the incident happened about 10:45 p.m. Thursday inside the Anna M. Kross Center. It’s not clear what led to the altercation, but COBA officials said one officer suffered lacerations to his hand and another was treated for palpitations. The third officer’s thumb was bitten off and severed at the knuckle, they reported.
All three were rushed to Bellevue Hospital where they were treated and released. Their identities were not revealed.
COBA President Norman Seabrook lashed out at prison brass, saying the only high-ranking official from the Correction Department to respond was a “low-level deputy warden” and that the chief of the department and correction commissioner also weren’t present.
“Budget cuts and savage inmates are literally eating away at our membership. It is inexcusable for the Correction Commissioner to be MIA while our members are being so viciously attacked,” Seabrook said in a statement.
The Department of Corrections told 1010 WINS, however, that staffing was not a factor in this incident or any other recent incidents. In a statement, officials said, “The Commissioner faithfully, unfailingly goes to the hospital to visit officers when they are injured on duty. Its unfair to criticize her this time, because only the flow of communication and the relatively short amount of time the officer spent at the hospital prevented her from being there last night.”
Department officials also said the officer’s thumb was only partially severed and that the incident was a one-on-one altercation.