THE NATION 1971: War at Attica

War at Attica

At 9:44 on a drizzly overcast morning last week, a radio loudspeaker snapped out the order to attack. Through the stinging mist of CS pepper gas dropped by Viet Nam-style helicopters, yellow-clad troopers set off a barrage of rifle fire from atop 30-ft. prison walls. More than 500 officers—armed with shotguns, rifles, pistols and clubs—charged into the crowded compound, shooting as they ran. Sporadic firing continued for nearly an hour. When the one-sided battle was over, lawmen representing the State of New York had killed 26 convicts and nine of 38 hostages that the inmates had seized in the...

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