GM – FBF – Today’s American Champion event was the Attica Prison Uprising, also known as the Attica Prison rebellion or Attica Prison riot, occurred at the Attica Correctional Facility in Attica, New York, United States, in 1971.Based upon prisoners’ demands for better living conditions and political rights, the uprising was one of the best-known and most significant flashpoints of the Prisoners’ Rights Movement.On September 13, 1971, two weeks after the killing of George Jackson at San Quentin State Prison, 1,281 of the Attica prison’s approximately 2,200 inmates rioted and took control of the prison, taking 42 staff hostage.During the following four days of negotiations, authorities agreed to most of the prisoners’ 27 demands, but would not agree to demands for complete amnesty from criminal prosecution for the prison takeover or for the removal of Attica’s superintendent. By the order of Governor Nelson Rockefeller, state police took back control of the prison. When the uprising was over, at least 43 people were dead, including ten correctional officers and civilian employees, and 33 inmates.Rockefeller, who refused to visit the prisoners during the rebellion, stated that the prisoners “carried out the cold-blood killings they had threatened from the outset,” despite only one of the officers and four inmates killed being attributed to the prisoners. New York Times writer Fred Ferretti said the rebellion concluded in “mass deaths that four days of taut negotiations had sought to avert”.As a result of the riot, a number of changes were made in the New York prison system to satisfy some of the prisoners’ demands, reduce tension in the system, and prevent such incidents in the future. As of 2021, Attica remains the most prominent prison riot to have occurred in the United StatesToday in our History – Attica Prison rebellion on September 9, 1971On Thursday, September 9, 1971, 5 Company lined up for roll-call. Hearing rumors that one of their companions was to remain in his cell after being isolated for an incident involving an assault on prison officer Tom Boyle after he was hit in the face with a full soup can by inmate William Ortiz, a small group of 5 Company inmates protested that they too would be locked up and began walking back towards their cells. The remainder of 5 Company continued towards breakfast. As the protesting group walked past the isolated inmate Ortiz, they freed him from his cell. They then rejoined the rest of 5 Company and proceeded on their way to breakfast. A short time later, when the command staff discovered what had occurred, they changed the usual scheduling of the prisoners, but did not tell prison officer Gordon Kelsey, the correctional officer in charge of leading 5 Company to the yard.Instead of going to the yard after breakfast as they usually did, the prisoners were led there to find a locked door, puzzling them and the correctional officer Kelsey. Complaints led to anger when more correctional officers led by Lt. Robert T. Curtiss arrived to lead the prisoners back to their cells. Officer Kelsey was assaulted and the riot began. The inmates quickly gained control of sections, D-yard, two tunnels, and the central control room, referred to as “Times Square”. Inmates took 42 officers and civilians hostage, and produced a list of grievances demanding their conditions be met before their surrender. As the demands were not met, negotiations broke down and the mood among the inmates deteriorated. It appeared as though Gov. Rockefeller remained opposed to the inmates’ demands, and they became restless. Defensive trenches had been dug, metal gates had been electrified, crude battlements were fashioned out of metal tables and dirt, gasoline was put in position to be lit in the event of conflict, and the “Times Square” prison command center was fortified.The inmates brought four corrections officers to the top of the command center and threatened to slit their throats. Reporters in helicopters circling the prison reported that the hostages in D yard were also being prepared for killing. Gov. Rockefeller had ordered that the prison be retaken that day if negotiations failed. Situation commander Oswald, seeing the danger to the hostages, ordered that the prison be retaken by force. Of the decision, he later said “On a much smaller scale, I think I have some feeling now of how Truman must have felt when he decided to drop the A-bomb.” At 9:46 a.m. on Monday, September 13, 1971, tear gas was dropped into the yard and New York State Police troopers opened fire non-stop for two minutes into the smoke. Among the weapons used by the troopers were shotguns, which led to the wounding and killing of hostages and inmates who were not resisting. Former prison officers were allowed to participate, a decision later called “inexcusable” by the commission established by Rockefeller to study the riot and the aftermath. By the time the facility was retaken, police had killed nine hostages and 29 inmates. A tenth hostage, Correctional Officer Harrison W. Whalen died on October 9, 1971, of gunshot wounds received during the assault. The final death toll from the uprising also includes the officer fatally injured at the start of the uprising and four inmates who were subjected to vigilante killings. Nine hostages died from gunfire by state troopers and soldiers. The New York State Special Commission on Attica wrote, “With the exception of Indian massacres in the late 19th century, the State Police assault which ended the four-day prison uprising was the bloodiest one-day encounter between Americans since the Civil War.” False media reports claimed that inmate hostage-takers slit the throats of many of their hostages, reports that contradicted official medical evidence. Newspaper headlines made statements such as “I Saw Slit Throats”, implying that prisoners had cut the hostages’ throats when the armed raid occurred. These reports set the stage for reprisals by troopers and prison officers. Inmates were made to strip and crawl through the mud and then some were made to run naked between lines of enraged officers, who beat the inmates. Several days after the uprising’s end, prison doctors reported evidence of more beatings. The Special Commission found that state officials failed to quickly refute those rumors and false reports. Within four years of the uprising, 62 inmates had been charged in 42 indictments with 1,289 separate counts. One state trooper was indicted for reckless endangerment. Inmates and families of inmates killed in the prison retaking sued the State of New York for civil rights violations by law enforcement officers during and after the retaking of Attica. After decades in the courts, the State of New York agreed in 2000 to pay $8 million ($12 million minus legal fees) to settle the case. The State of New York separately settled with families of the slain prison employees for $12 million in 2005. The Forgotten Victims of Attica have asked the State of New York to release state records of the uprising to the public. In 2013, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said he would seek release of the entire 570-page Meyer Report, the state’s review of the uprising, submitted in 1975 by former State Supreme Court Justice Bernard S. Meyer.One volume was made public, but a State Supreme Court ordered in 1981 that the other two be sealed permanently. In May 2015, 46 pages of the report were released. The released pages contain accounts from witnesses and inmates describing torture, burning, and sexual abuse of inmates by prison authorities. Research more about this American Tragedy and share it with your babies. Make it a champion day!