FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—–May 25, 2021
Contact: Lauren Regan, CLDC Executive Director and Senior Staff Attorney
[email protected] or (541) 687-9180
Eugene, OR —Today, the Civil Liberties Defense Center filed a federal civil rights lawsuit under Bivens v. Six Unnamed Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, 403 U.S. 388 (1971), the Federal Tort Claims Act, and the Administrative Procedure Act, against the Federal Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”) and more than 40 of its correctional officers. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Eric King, whose constitutional rights have been continually violated since 2018 in retaliation for his political and anti-racist actions while incarcerated. The complaint alleges that BOP officers have collaborated with each other, and with white supremacist prisoners, to target, harass, and assault Mr. King. Moreover, King has been held in solitary confinement (the Special Housing Unit, or SHU) for over 1,000 days with no explanation or legal justification, in violation of BOP and federal statutory policy. He is currently one of only 80 people who have been held in the SHU for more than a year, let alone almost three years.
“I’m a human being with a family. I’ve been treated deplorably. For the last two years I’ve been stuck in a 6′ x 9′ cage, denied access to my family and my lawyers, and subjected to physical and emotional torture. They’ve done this because of my beliefs, not because of my actions – not because I’m a violent person, but because I disagree with their government. They treat me like I am not a human, and in doing so they reveal they are the true monsters. It shows how horrible this system is, not how horrible I am,” King said.
Eric King is an anarchist political prisoner serving a 10-year sentence for attempted arson of a government official’s office in Kansas City, Missouri, in September 2014. He acted in solidarity with the Ferguson uprising and rebellion — a movement that took place over the summer of 2014 in response to the Ferguson police murder of Michael Brown. At his sentencing, Eric spoke on the record about his political motivations for committing his criminal act, saying “The government in this country is disgusting. The way they treat poor people, the way they treat brown people, the way they treat everyone that’s not in the class of white and male is disgusting, patriarchal, filthy, and racist.”
“Eric King has faced chronic, targeted harassment, as well as severe emotional and physical torture, from BOP officers and known white supremacists working together, for over two years while held in solitary confinement. We reasonably believe this treatment has been in retaliation for his political views and First Amendment-protected activity. It is not acceptable or constitutional, and CLDC will not allow Mr. King’s civil rights to be eviscerated. He justly demands basic human respect and decent conditions. This type of abuse is rampant across the BOP, and needs to be condemned, and the federal criminal punishment system must be held to account,” said Lauren Regan, one of Mr. King’s attorneys with the Civil Liberties Defense Center.
One incident of harassment and torture occurred in 2018, when King was ordered by correctional officers to a small storage room and office, where he was verbally and physically attacked. The black eye he suffered as a result of this attack is visible in the photograph to the right.
In the aftermath of this attack, the guard claimed King had attacked him, and as a result, King was placed in restraints for over eight hours, without any clothing or blankets.
While he was restrained, BOP guards further tortured him by threatening, suffocating and strangling him.
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