The Witness series brings together the men and women of  Law Enforcement who were instrumental in landmark events in American history. For information about upcoming programs please visit the Museums Events pages.

More than 50-years after the violent events at the Attica Correctional Facility, scholars and witnesses to the event joined the National Law Enforcement Museum for a panel discussion on April 14, 2015. Panelists included Donald Almeter and Michael Smith, both former Corrections Officers at the Attica Correctional Facility who were taken hostage by that facility’s incarcerated population, and Dr. Heather Ann Thompson, author of Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971and Its Legacy. On September 9, 1971, Almeter was in A Block when he heard the rioting inmates taking over the prison. He recalled, “The whistle was blowing and [the Sergeant’s] answer to all of us was that help was on the way. It didn’t happen.” Smith was in the prison’s metal shop when the whistle blew. He remembered the fear and confusion from those early moments. He remembered the physical devastation after the riot, “prisoners were “smashing everything that could be smashed and igniting everything that could burn.”


This program was generously sponsored by Target