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Correctional officer tackled, assaulted by inmate at Winnipeg Remand Centre
WINNIPEG -- A correctional officer was attacked by an inmate at the Winnipeg Remand Centre, said the Winnipeg Police Service.
The incident happened Thursday afternoon. Police said while in custody for charges from Winkler police, an inmate tackled a guard, took their key punch -- which is similar in size, shape, and weight to a collapsed police baton -- and struck the guard numerous times with it.
A spokesperson with Manitoba Justice said staff in the area was able to respond quickly, stop the assault, and secure the inmate. The correctional officer was treated in hospital for their injuries, and has since been released.
Police said Shawn Lloyd Sichewski, 35, from Lorette, Man., has been charged with aggravated assault on a peace officer.
Police said Sichewski was also charged with robbery stemming from an incident at a convenience store on Marion Street on Oct. 26. Officers allege a suspect filled a bag with items from the store, and threw several pop bottles at the clerk. The clerk suffered minor injuries.
Manitoba Justice said the Winnipeg Remand Centre has returned to normal operations, and an internal review will take place, as is standard practice.
“Manitoba’s correctional officers often respond to challenging situations involving inmates in our correctional facilities. The safety of our staff is paramount in the work that we do with inmates,” said the spokesperson.
This incident comes days after an inmate assaulted an officer at the Brandon Correctional Centre . A review will also take place in this case. Manitoba Justice said the reviews will be conducted with management and local labour boards.
“These events can be upsetting, not only to those involved but to others who work in the correctional system.”
Manitoba Justice said supports are available for staff experiencing stress and work-related illnesses, like PTSD, through coverage under the Worker’s Compensation Board.
JUSTICE MINISTER RESPONDS
Justice Minister Cliff Cullen said the safety of the province’s correctional officers is a top priority.
“My thoughts are with both officers who were injured in the course of their service; we wish them well in their recovery,” said Cullen in a statement.
He also acknowledged and commended the other officers and staff who jumped into action to help their colleagues.
“We strive to maintain the safety and security of Manitoba’s correctional facilities, but we recognize that correctional officers have difficult and dangerous duties,” he said.
Cullen said senior correctional officers will carefully review each case, and make any relevant recommendations for systemic improvements.
‘MEMBERS ON HIGH ALERT’: UNION
The Manitoba General Employees Union, which represents corrections workers, said violence in jails is increasing.
“These attacks have undoubtedly shaken our members in correction from across the province, no matter what jail,” said MGEU President Michelle Gawronsky. “All members are on high alert right now.”
Gawronsky said in each of these incidents, the members suffered concussions and were both taken to hospital. She said the union was told both attacks appeared to come out of nowhere, however each appeared to be planned.
“These two brutal attacks are savvier in nature, but everyday our members are dealing with violence. Whether that’s getting punched, kicked, spit on or verbally assaulted, these officers are beaten every day.”
Gawronsky said immediate action needs to be taken by Manitoba Justice to restore safety in the province’s jails for the protection of officers and inmates.
“Being a correction officer is no easy job. They must be on their toes at all times because in a moment, a calm environment can be flipped upside down and chaos and violence can take over,” said Gawronsky.
She said while members are dealing with physical injuries, many are also suffering from mental health issues because of the increased violence, and said they can no longer suffer in silence.
“These officers are moms, dads, sons, daughters and they deserve to feel safe at work and to go home to their families at the end of their shifts. Their families deserve this,” Gawronsky said.
--With files from CTV’s Scott Andersson