Department of Corrections and Community Supervision

New York State
Department of Correctional Services
Glenn S. Goord, Commissioner

Office of Public Information
[518] 457-8182

For immediate release:

Friday March 23, 2001

Six Wende Correction Officers injured by baton-wielding inmate

Six Correction Officers, including one female, at the Wende Correctional Facility were injured today when an inmate assaulted an Officer, grabbed her baton and fought with seven other Officers who responded to the scene.

At 9:10 a.m., inmate Christopher Simpson, who was being held in keeplock status because of assorted disciplinary violations, was in the process of being escorted off the cellblock for his one hour of court-mandated outdoor exercise. Using his fists, he struck a female Officer who was stationed at the end of the gallery, knocking her unconscious. The inmate then grabbed the Officer's baton and fought with the Officers who quickly responded to aid their fallen coworker. The Officers eventually subdued Simpson with the use of batons and restraints, and he was subsequently transferred to the facility's Special Housing Unit (SHU).

The female Officer was taken by ambulance to Erie County Medical Center for treatment of head injuries. Two other Officers were taken by ambulance to Buffalo General for treatment - one Officer sustained a possible broken wrist and ribs and the other was treated for puncture wounds on his arm. A fourth Officer was taken by state vehicle to Millard Fillmore Hospital for an elbow injury. Two other Officers reported minor injuries that did not require hospitalization, and then went off duty. The other two Officers were not injured and remained on duty.

The inmate was treated at the facility infirmary for a small laceration above his eye and minor lacerations to his body prior to his transfer to SHU.

Commissioner Glenn S. Goord canceled all afternoon programs at Wende, meaning all 935 inmates will be confined to their cells, to give officials time to assess the situation. The incident is under investigation by the Department's Inspector General's Office and the New York State Police.

"This brutal and unprovoked inmate attack on our Officers can not and will not be tolerated," said Commissioner Goord. "Inmates who chose to assault staff can be assured that they will face swift and severe disciplinary sanctions at the facility level and, where applicable, criminal charges as well. Criminal charges are indeed applicable in this case and a thorough investigation has begun which in all likelihood will lead to a criminal prosecution."

Simpson was being held in keeplock status because of disciplinary infractions that include fighting, threats and refusing direct orders. Keeplock status means an inmate is confined to his or her cell 24 hours a day with the exception of one hour of court-mandated exercise.

Simpson, 37, is serving a term of 26½ years to life for a 1984 second-degree murder conviction out of Kings County and a 1998 attempted first-degree promoting prison contraband conviction out of Chemung County. He was received into the state prison system on September 11, 1984, and has been an inmate at Wende since September 5, 2000 following a transfer from Coxsackie Correctional Facility. Simpson is eligible for parole on December 24, 2009.