City supports cops but neglects correction officers, new union head Elias Husamudeen says in first political remarks

Graham Rayman

In a first public foray into the political arena, the new head of the correction officers union railed Friday that the city gives the NYPD whatever it wants, but ignores the safety of the men and women who patrol the jails.

“Whenever there is a national threat to police officers, anywhere in this country, the NY Police Department immediately responds by marshaling every resource available to secure the safety of its officers,” said Elias Husamudeen, president of the Correction Officers' Benevolent Association.

“However, it seems there is no one but our fellow officers who we can count on to have our backs.”

Husamudeen replaced longtime COBA president Norman Seabrook, who was forced out after he was indicted June 8 on corruption charges for steering $20 million in union money to a hedge fund in return for kickbacks. Husamudeen said correction officers are facing an “unprecedented security crisis.” 

But, he added, DOC supervisors are giving COs conflicting orders and telling them not to use force if they are assaulted.

“The department is bowing down to special interest groups and has created an environment where Correction Officers are afraid for their safety,” he said.

Husamudeen said he wants inmates with histories of jailhouse violence who have been rearrested to be removed from Rikers Island and moved to a jail where troublesome inmates are held in solitary confinement. 

“How many more correction officers must be slashed in the face, have their bones broken or eye sockets punched and be pummeled to the ground before this city wakes up?” he said. “Our nation has heard the cries of the families of fallen police officers. It's time New York hears our cries, too. Enough is enough."

City officials said inmate assaults on staff resulting in minor injuries are down 23%, and overall assaults on staff are down 19%.

Total inmate arrests also rose 93% in fiscal year 2016, compared to 2015, the officials said.

They pointed out that punitive segregation already exists for inmates 19 and older, and there is no plan to eliminate it.