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1971 prison riot, is recalled at memorial rite

Michael Smith, a former corrections officer who was shot four times during the 1971 riot at the Attica Correctional Facility, said Tuesday that the recent $12 million settlement will help bring peace to victims of the tragedy.

He was one of several speakers Tuesday during a memorial service at the prison by members of the Forgotten Victims of Attica and correctional officers from throughout the nation -- from Florida to California.

Speakers also called for an apology from New York State and opening of sealed state records on the riot.

Eleven corrections officer and 32 prisoners died during the Sept. 13, 1971, retaking of the prison by State Police officers.

"This day marks a historic event," Smith said. "Thirty-four years ago, something cut short the lives of those we remember."
"[The victims] made an impression -- an impression that affects our lives," Smith said.
Gov. George E. Pataki announced a $12 million settlement last year with the survivors and relatives of the 11 state employees killed and others injured during the riot.

"It is a time to reflect," said Richard Harcrow, president of the New York State Police Benevolent Association. "We consider the families of the Forgotten Victims of Attica our extended families."

Kentt Monteleone, of Batavia, talked about his father, John, a foreman in the prison's metal shop, who was killed during the retaking of the prison.
"What happened 34 years ago is a tragedy, to say the least. Innocent men paid the ultimate price for going to work," he said.

Rep. Thomas M. Reynolds, R-Clarence, announced that he has learned through the Internal Revenue Service that compensation from the settlement will be free of taxes.

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