DOC officers slashed in gory ‘Tombs’ clash with inmate: officials

By: 
THOMAS TRACY | NY DAILY NEWS

Two city Department of Correction officers suffered deep gashes in a Thanksgiving Day clash with a blade-wielding gangbanger in Manhattan’s Tombs, authorities said Friday.

Franklyn Dominguez was inside the Manhattan Detention Center, known as The Tombs, about 7:30 p.m. Thursday when two DOC captains realized he was in an area he shouldn’t be.

As the captains tried to move Dominguez, he lashed out with a key ring that he had honed into a sharp weapon, sources with knowledge of the case said.

When a 35-year-old DOC officer saw the struggle and jumped in to help, Dominguez slashed him across the left forearm, opening a bloody gash, officials said.

“He had a weapon in his hand and was pacing back and forth about six feet from us, then he started punching at us,” said the wounded officer, who wished not to be named.

“We used a chemical agent, but it had no affect. I sprayed him too, but he kept coming for us.”

 

The officer didn’t realize he’d been cut until after he saw the blood running down his arm. He needed 10 stitches to close the gaping wound, officials said.

“This was the first time for me,” the officer, a three-year DOC veteran, said about the injury. “But you have to step in. If you see one of your fellow officers struggling with an inmate, you can’t walk away.”

One of the two captains who fought with Dominguez also suffered a deep cut to his knee, officials said.

Dominguez, a violent felon and Latin Kings member with 70 arrests, was in The Tombs after being arrested for violating an order of protection in April, officials said. He was ultimately subdued and taken into custody. Charges against him were pending.

The gang member had already been moved to a new cell block after he fought with other inmates in another part of the MDC. But, instead of being moved around the jail, he should have been put in solitary confinement for his violent antics — a security tactic the City Council is trying to end, critics asserted.

“An officer and a captain were escorting a detainee to a housing area at the Manhattan Detention Complex when the detainee assaulted them,” said DOC Press Secretary, Jason Kersten. “The safety and well-being of our personnel is of utmost importance and we do not tolerate attacks on staff, who work to ensure that our facilities are safe. This incident is under investigation.”

On Dec. 10 the Council is scheduled to address a bill to end solitary confinement, also known as punitive segregation.

In June, Mayor de Blasio barred the DOC from putting into solitary confinement inmates with underlying health conditions, like asthma, heart disease and lung disease.

 

De Blasio said the order is a first step toward ending solitary confinement. It came just days after the city announced it would discipline 17 uniformed staffers in connection with the death of Layleen Polanco — a transgender woman who died in June 2019 after having an epileptic seizure while in solitary confinement at Rikers Island.

Solitary confinement is necessary for violent inmates like Dominguez, the wounded officer said.

“So whatever he did to us, there will be no consequence?” the officer asked. “If he committed a crime, if he attacked officer he should be punitive segregation.”

Union heads said slashings and stabbings in DOC facilities are up 16% this year.

The Council’s proposal will “threaten the lives of everyone in our jails,” said Benny Boscio, president of the Corrections Officer Benevolent Association.

The plan, which Boscio noted is being pushed by City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, “is as great a threat to our officers as the inmates who are assaulting us with impunity,” Boscio said. He called the bill “reckless” and said that if any officers are killed, “Speaker Johnson will have blood on his hands.”

Mayor de Blasio is standing behind his plans to end solitary confinement.

“Ensuring the safety of those who work and live in our facilities is our first priority as we move forward with our effort to end punitive segregation,” said Avery Cohen, a de Blasio spokesperson.