Inmate attacks guard at Charlotte Correctional Institution, DOC says. Photo of Omar Bleechington via the Florida Department of Corrections website.

Inmate attacks guard at Charlotte Correctional Institution, DOC says

An inmate at the Charlotte Correctional Institution is facing additional charges after attacking a correctional officer, according to the Florida Department of Corrections.

Inmate Omar Bleechington, 37, is accused of striking an officer in the face around 1:25 p.m. Wednesday, officials said. Bleechington was subdued and the female officer was taken to Bayfront Medical Center with serious injuries.

Bleechington was arrested and taken to Charlotte County Jail for booking, officials said. He was charged with battery of a law enforcement officer.

“The department stands behind this officer and the thousands of others in our facilities who work bravely every day despite the possibility of these difficult situations,” Secretary Julie Jones said. “I am thankful for the swift response by fellow staff to restrain the inmate and by our Office of the Inspector General and law enforcement partners to hold him accountable for his actions.”

Five officers have been assaulted by inmates over the last month at the Charlotte Correctional Institution, according to officials.

A former corrections officer, James Baiardi, said he fell victim to a few inmate attacks while working at the Charlotte Correctional Institution.

“When I became a father and I used to leave the house, I would wonder, ‘Am I coming home today?'” Baiardi said.

After serving 30 years as a corrections officer, Baiardi believes a big part of the problem is the recent budget cuts.

“After years of cutbacks on staffing levels of security of COs, we need to increase it,” he said. “And properly compensate them so we can keep these officers.”

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