Correction Officer Attacked By Rikers Inmate Days After De Blasio Administration Touted Increased Safety Behind Bars

Reuven Blau

Days after the jail commissioner touted increased safety behind bars, a city correction officer was slashed in the arm by an inmate after the morning meal service Sunday.

Inmate Matthew Whittington, 26, attacked the unnamed officer as he attempted to retrieve the detainee's meal tray inside the West Facility on Rikers Island at 6:40 a.m., records show.

Whittington left his cell and began punching the officer, according to a department report. A second officer came to help, but the fight apparently just escalated.

The officers punched Whittington in the face several times, records show. They later discovered a scalpel blade wrapped in black electrical tape in front of the cell.

Whittington has been in jail for three years. The alleged Bloods leader is facing a host of charges, including assault and arson.

“He's a head of the Bloods…as high as it goes,” a jail source said.

The attack is under investigation.

"I am outraged by this serious assault,” Department of Correction Commissioner Joseph Ponte said. “Attacks against the hardworking men and women who serve in our department will not be tolerated.”

The attack comes five days after the de Blasio administration bragged about a reduction in the number of attacks on officers for the first time in five years.

For the first six months of the year, inmate assaults on staff resulting in serious injuries decreased 45% compared with the same period last year. The use of force by officers causing serious injuries went down 46%.

Sunday, the union representing jail officers slammed those figures, and demanded serious action.

“Today, we are calling on the mayor to fire the commissioner before one of our officers is killed,” said Correction Officers Benevolent Association President Elias Husamudeen.

Jail brass has struggled to stem the flow of contraband. On Friday, officers found two pounds of marijuana at two different facilities.