July 28, 2021
From It's Going Down
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A lot has gone on this month. From comrades like Loren Reed getting out (again!), to abolitionists in Florida getting their charges dropped, to Water Protectors like Jessica Reznicek now facing years in prison with a possible terrorism enhancement.

In this month’s column, we also bring you a whole roundup of news, prisoner birthdays, and updates on those facing repression in the wake of the George Floyd uprising.

Last up but not least, August is shaping up to be a busy month, with a call for people to organize #ShutEmDown rallies and much more! With so much to cover, let’s dive in!

Repression Roundup by State

Florida

In Florida, an abolitionist was brought to court on charges coming from last December’s protest at Florida State Prison in memory of long-time organizer Karen Smith. The defendant was found not guilty on both counts. Responding to the verdict, Florida Prison Solidarity wrote:

Prosecutors wasted tax dollars & time trying to repress our right to free speech. #KarenSmith is smiling somewhere as we continue our collective fight for abolition.

Not daunted by this attempt at repression, Florida Prison Solidarity have continued to organize phone zaps in support of prisoners, including one responding to repression at Florida State Prison in early July, and a more recent one against staff abuse at Charlotte CI.

Arizona

Loren Reed, who was held for a year in pretrial detention after last summer’s uprising, released and then re-arrested, has now been released again:

The FBI and the US Attorney thought that railroading Loren with a felony charge and prison time would be easy because they do it all the time,” said Ryan Fatica, a member of the Tucson Anti-Repression Crew. “His case is part of a broader strategy the FBI and other law enforcement agencies are enacting across the country right now to incarcerate as many people as possible who participated in last year’s protests and uprisings. What they didn’t count on was Loren’s courage and our solidarity. Loren was willing to face prison time rather than plead guilty and while he sat in pretrial detention, people across the country and around the world expressed their solidarity with his resistance.

Louisiana

Perilous Chronicle has a report from the David Wade Correctional Center in Louisiana, where at least 20 prisoners have begun a hunger strike against inhumane conditions including indefinite solitary confinement.

Utah

A 19-year-old woman is facing hate crime charges, which could lead to a year in prison, for allegedly “stomping on a ‘Back the Blue’ sign… while smirking in an intimidating manner” at a cop. Prosecutors in Garfield County, Utah, appear to be fond of using hate crime charges for anti-police messages, as last year they “charged a now 32-year-old man in August 2020 with another anti-police hate crime after he allegedly spray-painted the word “bisexual” over the word “blue” on a “Back the Blue” sign.”

Minnesota

Perilous Chronicle has a report from Moose Lake Correctional Facility, where detainees in the Minnesota Sex Offender Program have started a hunger strike, alleging that the program is holding people who’ve completed their sentences with no clear path to release. The article discusses the problems with “civil confinement” in depth, highlighting that:

Unlike within the criminal legal system, a person being considered for commitment is not presumed innocent until proven guilty during the proceedings nor do they have the right to trial by jury. Further, unsubstantiated allegations and hearsay are admissible in commitment hearings as the standards of proof are lower than in a criminal court.

In fact, it is not a requirement of civil commitment under the sexually dangerous persons category to have ever been convicted of a sex crime in the past.

Ohio

Kevin “Rashid” Johnson, a long-standing prison organizer, has been transferred once again, this time to Ohio. His supporters write:

After being transferred from Indiana to Ohio without any notice in an attempt to obstruct the lawsuit that he recently brought against the IDOC, Comrade Rashid is being held in Orient, OH in disciplinary seg with NO charges. He is without access to phone or commissary in order to purchase hygiene products. He also has ZERO property including legal property and items with which to write.

We are asking all of our friends, comrades, and supporters to call and email immediately and demand that Rashid be allowed access to commissary so that he can purchase soap, deodorant, etc. and that he be given his property including legal property and writing supplies. ALL P2P!

North Carolina

A phone zap has been called for Joseph “Shine White” Stewart, who is being held in solitary confinement with no explanation. The following script has been provided:

Hello. My name is ___ and I’m calling to voice concern over the treatment of Joseph Stewart. It has come to my attention that Joseph Stewart is being held in solitary confinement over security risk investigation, with no charges being given or explained. We demand that Joseph Stewart is released immediately from the inhumane conditions. Joseph has significant support on the outside and we will continue to hold you accountable for any actions or in-actions you take. Goodbye.

Suggested contacts include:

Warden Carlos Hernandez
Phone #: 828-438-6037
Email: [email protected]v

Commissioner of Prisons Todd Ishee
Phone #: 919-733-2126
Email: [email protected]

Chief Deputy Secretary Tim Moose
Phone #: 919-825-2759
Email: [email protected]

Another phone zap has also been called in support of prisoners at Polk CI, demanding the removal of an abusive guard.

Iowa

Water protector Jessica Reznicek has been sentenced to eight years in Federal prison for sabotaging the Dakota Access Pipeline. For more information, see her support site. Her co-defendant Ruby Montoya is still awaiting sentencing. The Anarchist Black Cross Federation have published an update on her case and the fight to repeal the terrorism charge that was applied to her sentence.

Pennsylvania

A hunger strike involving several members of the Vaughn 17 has now been resolved, with hunger striker Alejandro “Capo” Rodriguez-Ortiz writing that “We look at the 10 day strike as a success… Now the world sees what the PADOC was doing.” The strike caused the PA Department of Corrections to publicly acknowledge the existence of their long term segregation program. According to the legal director for the Abolitionist Law Center, this had never happened before.

Mongoose Distro have published a short piece of writing by David Elmakayes, a Philadelphia defendant facing charges connected to last summer’s uprising. You can donate to help David’s legal costs here.

Indiana

IDOC Watch have organized a Free Leon Benson! Clemency & Compassionate Release Now! Rally. The rally is the first public demonstration in the Freedom Now! Campaign for Mass Release, a larger campaign for decarceration that IDOC Watch is organizing.

Texas

AMW English has published a lengthy strategy document from Texas Team One, a new formation aiming to unite prisoners in the Texas prison system. Meanwhile, Chicano anarchist political prisoner Xinachtli has been scheduled to have his first parole hearing after 25 years in the Texas prison system, but the outcome is unknown at the time of writing this column. You can also check out an interview with Xinachtli, available both in audio form and formatted as a zine, thanks to the Final Straw Radio Show.

California

Jail Support LA have been helping arrestees from the recent series of confrontations with the transphobic far-Right in LA, so donations to that project will help them continue their work. The SF Bay View has published a whole series of articles marking the ten-year anniversary of the historic California hunger strikes, including Liberate the Caged Voices, Remembering the mighty hunger strikes, Salute to Sitawa, and Decades of torture, hundreds of men, weeks of starvation – and still we aren’t free!

Canada

July 1st saw a co-ordinated hunger strike/fast across seven different Canadian prisons in honour of the victims of Canada’s notorious “residential schools.” For more Canadian prison news, see the regular Canadian Tire Fire column on IGD, which covers stories such as the recent Quebec prison riot and mass protest against the death of Brandon Marchant.

International

In the UK, Bristol ABC are asking people to support Ryan Roberts, who’s being held awaiting trial on charges connected to a confrontation with the police earlier this year. Bristol Defendant Solidarity is helping at least 60 arrestees deal with charges from this incident, and is in urgent need of money to help with their legal costs.

In Northern Ireland, members of the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee joined with the family of anarchist political prisoner John Paul Wootton to hold a demonstration outside Maghaberry prison to highlight the discrimination he’s facing from the administration.

Belarus ABC continue to publish regular monthly updates on the intense repression faced by anarchists and antifascists there, and Freedom News have published an article on the case of Azerbaijani anarchists Bayram Mammadov and Giyas Ibrahimov.

An important court case has concluded in Greece with three anarchists being sentenced for acts associated with the group Revolutionary Struggle, you can read a statement from Giannis Michailidis, sentenced to 26 years, here. In Italy, three anarchists accused of sending letter bombs to prison officials and prosecutors are still on trial in the “Operation Prometeo” case (scroll to the bottom for English translation). A lengthy court case against Czech anarchists and environmentalists, Operation Fenix, has now finally ended with all the defendants being freed.

Abolitionist Media Projects

Recent episodes of Kite Line Radio have included a twopart interview with former antifascist prisoner David Campbell, and another twoparter with Maya Schenwar and Victoria Law, discussing their book, Prison by Any Other Name: Harmful Consequences of Popular Reforms. For the July 25 day of solidarity with antifascist prisoners, Antifa International interviewed former antifascist prisoner Jock Palfreeman about the situation in Bulgaria, and produced a zine on supporting antifascist prisoners, which is available in both color and b&w formats.

Upcoming Events

The month of August is commemorated as “Black August” by many radical prisoners in memory of George Jackson, and August 10 is commemorated in Canada and some other countries as Prisoners Justice Day.

Jailhouse Lawyers Speak are calling for abolitionist demonstrations under the slogan “Shut ‘Em Down 2021” on August 21st and September 9th. Reach out to Oakland Abolition and Solidarity if you’d like to get stickers to promote the events. Also, various international ABC groups observe August 23rd-30th as a week of solidarity with anarchist prisoners.

The annual Running Down the Walls solidarity event is scheduled for September 12th this year, with events confirmed for Austin, Lawrence, Chicago, New York, and Philadelphia already so far. For a list, go here.

Uprising Defendants

Everyone should support the defendants facing charges related to their alleged participation in the George Floyd uprising – this list of our imprisoned comrades needs to be getting shorter, not longer. The status of pre-trial defendants changes frequently, but to the best of our knowledge they currently include:

Isaiah Willoughby 49960-086
FDC SeaTac Federal Detention Center
PO Box 13900
Seattle, WA 98198

Kelly Jackson 50288-086
FCI Sheridan Federal Correctional Institution
P.O. BOX 5000
Sheridan, OR  97378

Montez Lee
Sherburne County Jail
13880 Business Center Dr. NW
Suite 200
Elk River, MN 55330-1692

Matthew White
Sherburne County Jail
13880 Business Center Dr. NW
Suite 200 Elk River, MN
55330-1692

José Felan
Sherburne County Jail
13880 Business Center Dr.
NW Suite 200 Elk River, MN 55330-1692

Matthew Rupert
Sherburne County Jail
13880 Business Center Dr. NW
Suite 200 Elk River, MN 55330-1692

David Elmakayes 77782-066
FDC Philadelphia
PO BOX 562
Philadelphia, PA 19105
You can donate to David’s legal funds here.

Lore-Elisabeth Blumenthal 70002-066
FDC Philadelphia
PO BOX 562
Philadelphia, PA 19105

Andrew Augustyniak-Duncan 176417
Allegheny County Jail
950 2nd Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Christopher West 161218
Allegheny County Jail
950 Second Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15219

You can also buy fundraiser clothing for Christopher “Brother Hush” West here.

Lavier Pounds 194234
Allegheny County Jail
950 2nd Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Alvin Joseph 99529156 (POSTCARDS ONLY)
Gwinnett Co Jail
2900 University Parkway
Lawrenceville, GA 30043

Develcho Waller 73223019
Robert A. Deyton Detention Facility
PO BOX 730
Lovejoy, GA 30250

Judah Bailey 73219019
Robert A. Deyton Detention Facility
PO BOX 730
Lovejoy, GA 30250

Bruce Thompson 73220019
Robert A. Deyton Detention Facility
PO BOX 730
Lovejoy, GA 30250

Ellie Brett 14822509
Robert A. Deyton Detention Facility
PO BOX 730
Lovejoy, GA 30250

John Wade 14762509
Robert A. Deyton Detention Facility
PO BOX 730
Lovejoy, GA 30250

Joseph Jett 1910905 (POSTCARDS ONLY)
Clayton County Jail
9157 Tara Boulevard
Jonesboro, GA 30250

Shamar Betts
Champaign County Jail
204 E. Main St.
Urbana IL 61801

Andrew Carlisle 1902379
C/O Securus Digital Media Center- Fulton County Jail
PO Box 989
Lebanon, MO

Dashun Martin 73222019
Metropolitan Detention Center
PO BOX 1500
Los Angeles, CA 90053

Upcoming Birthdays

Eric King

Anarchist prisoner serving a ten-year sentence for attempting to set fire to a government official’s office in solidarity with the Ferguson uprising. While imprisoned, Eric has been repeatedly attacked by staff, and is now facing trial on charges of having allegedly defended himself during one of these incidents. He is being held in incredibly restrictive conditions with no contact with the outside world, so any mail sent directly to him will probably not reach him, but you can order books or magazines to be sent to him – see his Amazon wishlist or try ordering something else he might like, you can see a list of his interests here for inspiration.

You can also donate to help meet his needs here, or buy one of these new fundraiser buttons.

Birthday: August 2

Address:

As above, please be aware that Eric has been placed on “Restricted General Correspondence Status”, so any mail sent directly to him will not reach him. Order books or magazines to be delivered to:

Eric King 27090045
FCI Englewood
9595 W Quincy Avenue
Littleton, CO 90501

Bill Dunne

Long-term anarchist prisoner held since 1979 for attempting to free another comrade from imprisonment. Through the years Bill has also taught GED classes at almost every prison he has found himself at, helping many prisoners get their GED. Bill is generous, principled, full of integrity and has never wavered from his politics or convictions. Bill continues to stay active politically, helping edit and write 4Struggle Magazine, organizing the yearly Running Down the Walls 5K for political prisoners, and serves on the ABCF Prisoner Committee. You can read some of his writings here.

The Federal system uses Corrlinks, a system where a prisoner must send a request to connect to someone on the outside before they can exchange emails, so if you’re not already connected to Bill then you’re best off just sending him a card or a letter.

Birthday: August 3

Address:

Bill Dunne #10916-086
FCI Victorville Medium I
PO Box 3725
Adelanto, California 92301

Mutulu Shakur

Black liberation prisoner held since the 1980s for alleged participation in Black Liberation Army activities alongside Assata Shakur and others. Dr. Shakur’s primary work has been in the area of health. He is a doctor of acupuncture and was a co-founder and director of two institutions devoted to improving health care in the Black community. He was an inspiration for many of the positive messages in his late step-son, Tupac’s, musical work.

As with Bill, Mutulu is held in the Federal system, so you can only contact him via Corrlinks if he’s added you as a contact.

Birthday: August 8

Address:

Dr. Mutulu Shakur #83205-012
FMC Lexington
Post Office Box 14500
Lexington, Kentucky 40512

Lawrence Michaels

A former Vaughn 17 defendant, and contributor to the Vaughn zines, “Live from the Trenches” and “United We Stood.” While the state has now dropped its attempts to criminalize Lawrence in relation to the uprising, he, like all of the Vaughn 17, deserves respect and support for making it through the entire process while staying in solidarity with his co-defendants and refusing to co-operate with the prosecution.

Pennsylvania uses Connect Network/GTL, so you can contact him online by going to connectnetwork.com, selecting “Add a facility,” choosing “State: Pennsylvania, Facility: Pennsylvania Department of Corrections,” going into the “messaging” service, and then adding him as a contact by searching his name or “NW2894.”

Birthday: August 14

Address:

Smart Communications / PA DOC
Lawrence Michaels – NW2894
SCI Greene
P.O. Box 33028
St. Petersburg, FL 33733

Hanif Shabazz Bey (Beaumont Gereau)

One of the Virgin Island 3, serving 8 consecutive life sentences after being tortured into a false confession then wrongly imprisoned since 2001 when his sentence was vacated.

Hanif is in an institution run by CoreCivic, and it appears that you can email him here.

Birthday: August 16

Address:

Beaumont Gereau #19-1952
Citrus County Detention Facility
2604 W. Woodland Ridge Dr.
Lecanto, FL 34461
United States

Pedro Chairez

A former Vaughn 17 defendant. While the state has now dropped its attempts to criminalize Pedro in relation to the uprising, he, like all of the Vaughn 17, deserves respect and support for making it through the entire process while staying in solidarity with his co-defendants and refusing to co-operate with the prosecution. You can read some of Pedro’s words here.

Illinois uses Jpay, so you can send him a message by going to jpay.com, clicking “inmate search”, then selecting “State: Illinois, Inmate ID: Y35814.”

Birthday: August 17

Address:

Pedro Chairez Y35814
Pontiac C.C.
P.O. Box 99
Pontiac, IL 61764

Christopher L Young

Queer anarchist prisoner/jailhouse lawyer in Kentucky wishing to start an anarchist book club and get more involved in organizing.

Kentucky uses Jpay, so you can send him a message by going to jpay.com, clicking “inmate search,” then selecting “State: Kentucky, Inmate ID: 136515.”

Birthday: August 17

Address:

Christopher L Young #136515
Little Sandy Correctional Complex
505 Prison Connector
Sandy Hook, Kentucky 41171

Russell “Maroon” Shoatz

Anarchist/anti-authoritarian-leaning Black Liberation/Black Panther prisoner, held since 1970 for his alleged involvement in attacking a police station in response to a police murder. Maroon is the author of the classic text “The Dragon and the Hydra: A Historical Study of Organizational Methods,” among others.

Pennsylvania uses Connect Network/GTL, so you can contact him online by going to connectnetwork.com, selecting “Add a facility,” choosing “State: Pennsylvania, Facility: Pennsylvania Department of Corrections,” going into the “messaging” service, and then adding him as a contact by searching his name or “AF3855.”

Birthday: August 23

Address:

Smart Connections/PA DOC
Russell Maroon Shoatz #AF-3855
SCI Dallas
Post Office Box 33028
St Petersburg, Florida 33733

Ronald Reed

Black Liberation prisoner, convicted in 1995 for allegedly shooting a police officer in 1970.

Minnesota uses Jpay, so you can send him a message by going to jpay.com, clicking “inmate search”, then selecting “State: Minnesota, Inmate ID: 219531.”

Birthday: August 31

Address:

Ronald Reed #219531
Minnesota Correctional Facility-Lino Lakes
7525 Fourth Avenue
Lino Lakes, Minnesota 55014

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Source: Itsgoingdown.org