Union: Dozen officers hurt in large inmate fight at Coxsackie prison

A dozen corrections officers were injured during a large inmate fight at Coxsackie Correctional Facility earlier this month.

The fight took place on March 13 afternoon, but the New York State Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association reported it to the media on Friday.

The incident started when a dozen inmates walked across the yard, approached two inmates and started fighting, the union said. The inmates ignored orders to stop fighting.

The officer called for backup and used chemical agents to stop the fight. Four of the dozen inmates that had started the fight stopped. However, the others continued to fight. Staff used pepper spray and officers applied body holds to force inmates to the ground, the union said.

One inmate was forced to the recreation wall by staff, according to the union. Then, another inmate from the initial group came up behind the officers and struck one office in the back and then attacked the inmate on the wall, slashing him.

Staff grabbed the inmate in a body hold and forced him to the ground and he continued resisting, the union said. Other officers assisted in restraining his arms and legs until he was put in handcuffs.

Once order was restored, the inmates were removed from the yard and brought to the infirmary. The inmate who was slashed had cuts to his face. The other inmates had minor injuries.

The inmates who were identified as the main participants in the fight were placed into special  housing units. The remaining inmates were returned to their cells. They face disciplinary charges.

A dozen officers had a variety of injuries including cuts, elbow gash, shoulder, back, knee, hand, wrist and hip pain and swelling. The officers were treated by medical staff and remained on duty.

Correction officers found a sharpened piece of Plexiglass that had a string wrapped around one end to create a makeshift handle. No other weapons were recovered.

The union said this is not the first large fight at the Coxackie prison. There was one in October that involved 14 inmates.

“Thankfully, the injuries the officers sustained were not serious and it is a credit to those officers that they remained on duty despite those injuries,” said NYSCOPBA Mid-Hudson Region Vice President Joe Horacek in a statement. “The unfortunate reality is, with a completely watered down disciplinary system, there is no deterrent to stop this from happening over and over again. And when it occurs, it puts staff in the line of fire when they attempt to stop it and they are the ones who suffer when they get injured.”