Convicted cop killer assaults prison guard, authorities say

Derrick Powell

Derrick Powell

DOVER — A death row inmate punched a correctional officer Thursday at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center, according to the Correctional Officers Association of Delaware.

The incident was “serious” but the officer did not have to stay overnight at a hospital and is now recovering, union president Geoff Klopp said.

The association said the inmate was showering when he reached through the bars and hit the officer in the face.

The officer, who Mr. Klopp said has been part of the Department of Correction for at least several years, was treated at a local hospital.

The inmate is Derrick Powell, who was convicted in 2011 in the 2009 slaying of Georgetown police officer Chad Spicer. The fatal shooting came after the attempted robbery of a drug dealer set off a police chase.

Mr. Klopp said the attack highlights the need for more correctional officers in state prisons.

“We were blessed that this incident was not worse. But I fear this is just the tip of an iceberg,” he said in a statement. “With continued ignoring of the problems, they only get worse. This assault was not the first one that occurred this year, and unless the state addresses our concerns for safety, it will not be the last.

“We — as professional corrections officers — are left without the staff and resources to insure the safety of our members, the inmates and society at large. Something must be done before serious injury or death occurs.”

The Department of Correction did not respond to requests for comment.

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