An update on Jarreau “Ruk” Ayers, a defendant in the Vaughn 17 about his illegal conviction and the State’s subsequent retaliation through denial of medical care. To read more about the background of the Vaughn 17 case, go here.
One of two defendants illegally convicted in the Vaughn Prison uprising on Feb 1, 2017, Jarreau “Ruk” Ayers finds himself locked into a civil and criminal battle with the State of Delaware over his freedom and medical neglect. As part of his refusal to be submissive to an oppressive system, Mr. Ayers chose to represent himself at trial and skillfully discredited state witnesses. The prosecution, unable to definitively place him inside the building during the riot, attempted to attack Mr. Ayers’ character citing his confident demeanor during his pro se representation of himself in his case.
A new collection featuring voices from the Vaughn 17, a group of inmates who collectively resisted an onslaught of charges following a prison uprising at the Vaughn T Correctional Facility in Delaware in 2017. https://t.co/TpUXozIznI
— It’s Going Down (@IGD_News) June 24, 2021
During closing arguments, the prosecutor stated, “You spent the better part of the last month with Jarreau Ayers. What about Mr. Ayers suggests that he is that person? That he is not going to do exactly what he wants to do, which is to go inside and join in what’s happening in there?” This statement under Delaware and federal law is a violation of the defendant’s 6th and 14th amendment rights. It’s illegal to use a person’s Constitutional privilege to represent themselves as evidence of guilt! The prosecutor essentially told the jury: “If he’s not afraid to stand up against this court, then he must be guilty of attacking these officers!” This statement erroneously insinuated that simply choosing to represent himself was a criminal act within itself.
The Delaware Supreme Court acknowledges that the prosecutor’s statement’s violated Mr. Ayers constitutional rights, but still refuses to vacate his sentence. In retaliation for his audacity to represent himself at his trial and in an apparent attempt to silence him, Mr. Ayers has been denied medical treatment. He was scheduled to have complete left knee reconstructive surgery back in 2017 but has not yet been provided this urgent medical procedure. He was locked down in Pennsylvania’s Restrictive Housing Unit and denied care. In September 2021, a federal court judge gave a memorandum opinion declaring the former DOC Chief Medical Director liable in stating: to prove deliberate indifference in the denial of medical treatment, all that needs to be established is that the delay or denial was a non-medical reason was the cause of Mr. Ayers not receiving his surgery. The judge concluded that Mr. Ayers’ security classification—a clearly non-medical reason—was driving the state to deny his surgery.
— It’s Going Down (@IGD_News) September 16, 2019
The federal court acknowledged that the denial of his medical care violated Mr. Ayer’s right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment under the 8th Amendment. Five years later, still no one has been held accountable for the abuse nor has his sentence been vacated for the violation of his constitutional rights that resulted in his illegal convictions. To submissively accept that the law can pick and choose what class of society the Constitution protects is to forfeit one’s own self-respect. Therefore, Mr. Ayers is seeking the assistance of the people to aid in the pursuit towards his freedom, whether through legal assistance, bringing awareness to his fight, or financial support. Ruk firmly believes that his freedom will come from the actions and demands of the people, not the integrity of the State!