September 9 - 1971 - The Attica Riot
The riot at Attica Correctional Facility in Attica, New York, would become one of the most well known prison riots in American history, but it really wasn't much of a riot. Prisoners managed to easily overwhelm their guards, take over the prison's control room, and hold 42 hostages in an exercise yard. At that point, the prisoners then listed a number of demands, all of which involved better conditions inside of the prison. The only odd part of the demands was a list of "vile and vicious slave masters." The negotiators got nowhere, however, and most notably, New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller refused to come anywhere near the prison to participate in negotiations. Mostly, he wanted to end the standoff quickly, as it had become a national news story and an embarrassment for the state of New York. Four days after the riot initially broke out, State Police dropped tear gas on the prisoners and hostages, then opened fire with shotguns. In the takeover, 33 prisoners and 10 hostages were killed. It ended the standoff, but not without an unnecessary amount of violence and destruction.