Wednesday, 15 March 2017

DALLAS 6 UPDATES

UPDATE

June 11, 2017

From Shandre Delaney - mother of Carrington Keys


Carrington was transferred to SCI Greene in Waynesburg, PA last Monday. (SCI Greene is notorious for torture. This is where Charles Graner perfected his torture techniques before going on to torture prisoners at Abu Ghraib.) Carrington testified as a witness in a case for Andre Jacobs in court this past Friday.  I did not hear from him since last Sunday.  I got two text notices from the prison tracker system PA vine; one that he was transferred to SCI Greene and another today stating that he had been transferred but he is not in any prisoner tracking system at this time which was very frightening to me.  

He just called me today.  As par for course, he is being retaliated against.  

Upon arriving to SCI Greene he was immediately placed in the hole, when he should be in population. He never received any paperwork stating why.  While in the hole, he looked through his property and found that he had some significant pieces missing.  He had been working on a book.  The new chapters he had been working on have been removed, as well as transcripts from the Dallas 6 court case and basically anything that he had in connection to Andre Jacobs and Dallas 6.  

Security Major Liggit, who is a recipient of one of Andre Jacobs many lawsuits, is the perpetrator.  Carrington was taken to court wrapped in an electronic vest that could send a 50,000 volt through his body.  He was told he was considered a security threat and escape risk.  They asked him to sign a paper regarding the vest but  he refused.  He reported all this information to the judge and he believes that she put in a call because he was notified by the same Major Liggit today that he would be moved ASAP.  

I will be putting in a call to Secretary Wetzel on Monday. Besides telling him to send my son back to SCI Forest Immediately, I'll remind him it would behoove him and his parole board to release my son, who the parole board has been arbitrarily denying release since he became eligible in 2012.  



 COURT UPDATE
Date: March 15, 2017
What: Ruling in case of Carrington Keys of the “Dallas 6”
CONTACT: Shandre Delaney, mother of Dallas 6 defendant Carrington Keys; Human Rights Coalition 570-763-9504.  Phoebe Jones, Justice for the Dallas 6 Support Campaign and Global Women’s Strike  610-505-4944 
Victory: Judge’s Decision Ends Nearly 7 Year Fight to Exonerate the “Dallas 6” Prisoner Whistleblowers
In what supporters have proclaimed a victory for the last remaining “Dallas 6” defendant Carrington Keys, on Monday March 13 Judge Lesa Gelb sentenced him to no extra prison time.  Mr. Keys had been facing 6 felony counts of aggravated harassment by a prisoner. The Judge ruled that Mr. Keys was only guilty of lesser charges of disorderly conduct and sentenced him to 4-8 months, concurrent with his current sentence. (Mr. Keys waived his right to a jury trial and withdrew two motions he had filed to dismiss and quash the charges.) With this ruling, none of the Dallas 6 have been found guilty of riot or of (in Mr. Key’s case) aggravated harassment in the 2010 incident in which six African American prisoners at SCI Dallas staged a peaceful protest and were viciously beaten by guards in response. See background on case below.

On Tuesday, there were misleading headlines and articles in the Luzerne County Times Leader and Citizens Voice saying that Mr. Keyes was found guilty of slinging feces.  He was not.  He was found not guilty of aggravated harassment which was based on the allegation that he threw feces.  He was found guilty of the lesser offense of disorderly conduct, which does not include in its terms that he threw anything. The family states they are requesting a retraction of these “alternative facts.”
Mr. Keys said:


“It was important that we fight this case to send a message of inspiration to other prisoners who are falsely accused.  There are far too many people who have been pressured by a system to plead guilty to false allegations due to the fear of the consequences of what may occur if found guilty by a jury.  Secondly it was important to stand up for all prisoners in solitary confinement, all people of color and all oppressed people who have been singled out by tyrants in this government.  In the beginning we were all charged with riot and in the end it was only one Dallas 6 found guilty of riot – Anthony Kelly, who plead guilty in the very beginning so he could go home (he had maxed out).  More of us in the Dallas 6 came out unaffected by any punishment imposed as a result of misdemeanors and two were exonerated after years of fighting. In the beginning, I was charged with riot and six felony counts of aggravated harassment.  In the end I came out with a disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor conviction.  That is the result of standing up for myself, and the support from my mother and all other people who rallied together for justice.  It may not be everything that I wanted but, hey, this is the price that men pay for standing up to an injustice system.  All power to the people!”

Shandre Delaney, Mr. Keys’ mother and coordinator of the Justice for the Dallas 6 Campaign, said,

"My son is happy that it’s over, but it’s bittersweet. He blew the whistle on torture he witnessed by prison guards and for that he was dragged through court for almost seven years.  It is an outrage.  The guilty ones are the guards who abused their power and the racist justice system that covered for them. As his mother along with supporters we intend to continue to fight for the rest of the prisoners trapped in this torturous system.  I just got some letters from prisoners at SCI Dallas, and there was another coerced suicide, just like the case of Matthew Bullock which sparked the men to take action in 2010. So we take this victory to the next level now.”
Attorney Michael Wiseman, who acted as Mr. Keys’ standby counsel at this proceeding, and during the first trial that resulted in a hung jury and dismissal of the riot charges, was pleased with the result:


“In comparison with the brutality and inhumanity of the conditions under which Mr. Keys and his fellow prisoners were held in solitary, it is hard to see how Mr. Keys violated the law.  Nonetheless, we are pleased that he was not convicted of any felony counts, and, most important, that the outcome will not result in any additional prison time for him.”
“We are very pleased that at least partial justice has finally come for this courageous man, and his tireless mother who has organized support for him all these long years,” said Phoebe Jones of the Justice for the Dallas 6 Support Campaign and Global Women’s Strike.
“But who will be held responsible for the hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayers’ money this trial has wasted going after these innocent men, instead of investigating the abuse they brought to light?  And what about the money and resources spent by family members and supporters in fighting for justice in this case? What about the emotional and mental stress suffered by these prisoner whistleblowers and their families? The prison guards and prison officials must be held accountable for what they did and continue to do.”
Fifteen supporters and a documentary film team were present in court to hear the good news. Shandre Delaney added,


“I want to thank all the loyal supporters who came out to the hearings over so many years, got the word out, put us up in their homes, invited me speak to their congregations and synagogues and at rallies, signed the petitions and made calls to the prisons when they retaliated against the men. It was the families, the supporters and mainly the grit of the men themselves that led to this victory."
Background
Who are the Dallas 6?  On April 29, 2010 six courageous African American prisoner whistleblowers held in solitary confinement at SCI Dallas staged a peaceful protest against the widespread abuse, violence and torture by guards against Black, Latino and white prisoners which they had documented and took a stand against.

The abuse they documented included:
 beatings; mental abuse; foreign objects in food such glass, metal, feces, spit, semen and urine; mail and legal document tampering; deprivation of human contact; withholding medication; starvation and cutting off water; and coerced suicide. 

When they covered their cell doors and windows in protest, prison authorities responded by viciously beating them in so-called “cell extractions” and four months later charging them with “rioting” after the official complaints they had filed were publicized.



Breaking news from Wed, Day 7 and final day of the trial
VICTORY: No conviction, hung jury ending in mistrial!!!

After closing arguments Wednesday, the jury came back deadlocked, resulting in a mistrial. Andre, Carrington, and Duane have not been convicted on any charges. PLEASE STAY ALERT FOR ACTIONS TO TAKE NOW TO PUBLICIZE THIS VICTORY!

Full report from Wednesday's closing arguments and jury results coming soon.
Duane Peters, Carrington Keys, and Andre Jacobs being led out of courthouse after mistrial declared on Wednesday.
“A win is a win,” Keys said, adding that the men plan to continue fighting their charges “all the way.”
“A win is a win,” Peters repeated.

Court report from Tuesday April 12 [2016] - Day 6

The judge rejects outrageous proposal by the DA for jury instructions

·     The judge rejected the prosecutor's outrageous proposed instruction to the jury that prisoners don't have the same constitutional rights as other people, along with other biased instructions.
·     Re. the prosecution’s claim that Carrington threw feces at guards during the incident, the judge ruled that both Carrington's jury instruction regarding the DOC's failure to produce evidence, and the DA's jury instruction that the Commonwealth is not required to present "chemical evidence", can be given. 

Defendants take the stand in their own and others' defense

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Court Report Mon April 11 – Day 5 of the Dallas 6 Trial

MAKE A DONATION! Online at http://tinyurl.com/rally4dallas6 or send check/money order payable to Abolitionist Law Center, P.O. Box 8654 Pittsburgh PA  15221  Memo line: Dallas 6

DROP THE CHARGES!  For those who can’t make it to the trial but want to show support, please take part in a CALL-IN/FAX-IN to the DA demanding she drop charges. Details and talking points at - http://tinyurl.com/dallas6letter

UPDATE: Closing arguments Wed morning (April 13), jury verdict could come anytime after. Let’s pack the court! Contact us about rides from Philadelphia (see below).

Prison official witnesses contradict themselves; more video proof.
·  Lt Mozier testified today that he did not order pepper spray and "no one was sprayed," yet the video of the debriefing after Andre Jacob's extraction, played just after his testimony shows him saying, "OC [pepper spray] was applied to the front and back of the cell."
·  That and Lt Mozier saying only "OK" twice, without issuing further orders leading up to the extraction lends credence to Andre's defense that the cell extraction was planned ahead and staged.
·  The video of the debriefing after Carrington Keys' extraction shows that nowhere does Lt Mozier say that feces was flung, as previously stated by the 6 guards. Nowhere can you see feces on the uniforms or shields of the same guards, and all the officers report "no injuries sustained" and "no concerns."
·  Lt Martin testified, "I don't remember Captain Wilson asking to speak to the defendants" (during the investigation into the "riot" charge) while Captain Wilson had said in his testimony that the men told Lt Martin that they wouldn't "effing" speak to him.
·  Captain Bromsburg contradicted himself and other testimony that cell extraction always happens when prisoners refuse to comply with orders to remove the covers from the windows when he said that "every situation is different, every lieutenant is different." 
·  Bromsburg also said he didn't remember that when he was at SCI Mahanoy, 17 inmates covered their cell doors but none of them were extracted, that he had ordered only misconduct charges. 
·  Those two statements are significant because the prosecution is saying that the men knew that cell extraction would be the result of their actions and that they were coercing officials to extract them and therefore it is a "Riot".
·  Robin Lucas, Asst to the Superintendent, who herself was named in a lawsuit from Andre Jacobs, read out loud a letter from HRC outlining the torture Andre experienced and his request to be separated from named prison officials. 
·  Video from a fixed camera during the cell extraction showed Dep. Superintendent Mooney making a hand gesture which appeared to mimic firing a handgun, which he said was just to signal that their fire suppression equipment needed attention.
·  The prosecution produced prison logs stating that in April the prisoners had been contacted by their "counselors" and there were “no complaints”, that therefore the prisoners hadn't utilized a complaint channel open to them, while the defendants said they made official, written complaints directly to the pertinent authorities every chance they got, that counselors don't have authority over those matters and that one counselor serves 90-100 prisoners.  Carrington raised that his mother and Pastor had been calling on his behalf.
·  Attorney Wiseman got Deputy Mooney to agree that by asking to speak to an attorney, Duane Peters was making an attempt at dialogue and the psychologist on their hostage negotiating team could have responded to that and sought to break the impasse without cell extraction/use of force. 

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Court Report Thurs April 7 – Day 4 of the Dallas 6 Trial

MAKE A DONATION! Online at http://tinyurl.com/rally4dallas6 or send check/money order payable to Abolitionist Law Center, P.O. Box 8654 Pittsburgh PA  15221  Memo line: Dallas 6
DROP THE CHARGES!  For those who can’t make it to the trial but want to show support, please take part in a CALL-IN/FAX-IN to the DA demanding she drop charges. Details and talking points at - http://tinyurl.com/dallas6letter

Please note: the trial will resume on Monday April 11 and may wrap up on Monday or Tuesday. Let’s pack the court! Contact us about rides from Philadelphia (see below).

Highlights: Final prosecution witnesses called; defense witnesses begin.

HRC Attorney Bret Grote
Defense witness Attorney Bret Grote read out a press release detailing criminal complaints filed by Human Rights Coalition (HRC) against SCI Dallas guards for abuses, including for retaliation against Andre Jacobs who had won an $115,000 settlement against SCI Dallas.  
Prisoner Armando Lago testified that all of them on the cell block had covered their windows in protest that day, and that they had been asking for help but no one would help them.  
Isaac Sanchez
Former prisoner Isaac Sanchez testified.  His April 28, 2010 protest of guards' withholding food for Anthony Kelly led to his 15-hour torture in a restraint chair that sparked the April 29 incident.
The August 24, 2009 coerced suicide of Matthew Bullock, a white man with mental health issues, featured prominently in all their testimony.  An attorney with a law firm that brought a successful lawsuit against the prison on behalf of his estate also testified.  

Friday, 8 April 2016

Testimony to the court: Press release from Human Rights Coalition/Fed Up!

The following press release from 2009, before the 2010 incident for which the Dallas 6 are charged with "riot", was read by Bret Grote as testimony to the Dallas 6 trial on Thursday, April 7, 2016.


RELEASE: Retaliation escalates as human rights group files criminal complaints against SCI Dallas guards

In two separate criminal complaints submitted to the District Attorney of Luzerne County, Jacqueline Caroll Musto, investigators for the human rights coalition have asked that charges be brought against SCI Dallas staff for their role in the suicide of Matthew Bullock and in acts of retaliation against Andre Jacobs.

“We have submitted over half-a-dozen eyewitness reports to the DA’s office regarding guards tormenting Bullock, encouraging him to kill himself, and subsequently boasting of their success,” said Dominique Reed, an investigator with the Human Rights Coalition/Fed Up! chapter, an advocacy organization that has recently exposed conditions of control unit torture and criminal conduct on the part of staff at SCI Dallas.

A separate complaint describes prison guards retaliating against 27 year old Andre Jacobs, a jailhouse lawyer whose civil actions against prison staff and officials have led to four jury trials in the last few years and made him the target of animosity and retaliation by the PA DOC all the way up to Secretary Beard.  Just last month, Andre was awarded $115,000 by Federal Judge Joy Flowers Conti, a ruling which lessened but upheld the decision reached by a jury in the Western District of PA Federal Court in Pittsburgh last November. 

In a letter received later in the week after a visit human rights activist, Jacobs reported that five minutes after returning from the visit, guards destroyed his legal documents and he was placed on a series of restrictions.  “Andre had his water turned off for days, was denied yard and showers, issued death threats, and had his hand slammed in the tray slot by guards,” reports investigator Bret Grote, who has documented human rights violations committed against Mr. Jacobs throughout the PA DOC during the past two years.  “Perhaps most cruel of all is the fact that Andre was placed on ‘food loaf’, which is a policy whereby the PA DOC grants itself the right to use the withholding of food as a form of coercion.  Prisoners on this restriction are given a processed, scarcely edible loaf of indeterminate origin.” Furthermore, Andre was told by Sgt. Buck and Lt. Bleich that he was being targeted for his affiliation with the HRC.  Andre and several other inmates have reported receiving death threats in recent days and weeks due to their efforts to resist and expose control unit torture. 
 
Although HRC/Fed Up! continues to request that the administration launch a public investigation and formally announces such in a press release, criminal complaints are being prepared to send to the Department of Justice as soon as next week.

“We will continue to press for accountability at every level,” said Hannah Grace, an HRC member.  “Crucially, we will continue to expose the reality of illegal and abusive conditions inside Pennsylvania prisons to the public so that people understand the social and economic damage this system creates and demand change.”

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Court Report Wed April 6 – Day 3 of the Dallas 6 Trial


MAKE A DONATION! Online at http://tinyurl.com/rally4dallas6 or send check/money order payable to Abolitionist Law Center, P.O. Box 8654 Pittsburgh PA  15221  Memo line: Dallas 6

DROP THE CHARGES!  For those who can’t make it to the trial but want to show support, please take part in a CALL-IN/FAX-IN to the DA demanding she drop charges. Details and talking points at - http://tinyurl.com/dallas6letter


Prison officials and police grilled on brutal cell extractions and riot charges


graphic by Molly Crabapple
Painful videos of the cell extractions were shown. (Some of the video Carrington’s cell extraction can be seen here). Andre Jacobs is heard saying "they are going to kill me" before they carry him out as he is unable to walk.  Duane Peters was placed in the restraint chair. Carrington Keys was thrown naked on a cold concrete floor to be body-searched, and his wrists were injured. 
Andre questioned Lt Mozier whether he recalls that he had complied and removed the covering on his cell, and why the use of pepper spray.
Carrington questioned the absence of evidence of and testing for feces.  Wiseman, attorney for Peters asked why the men fingered in the HRC report are the ones chosen to remove the men from the cells.
Police investigator Corporal Wilson was grilled on why he took three months to file riot charges, and why he never in that time spoke to the men who were charged, why he took the DOC's word that the men did not want to talk with him.  He said, "There are two sides of the story and the truth is somewhere in between."  In a powerful moment, Andre asked if the April 28 incident (what we know is the 15 hours restraint of prisoner Isaac Sanchez) that prompted the April 29 incident was part of his investigation and he said they were not related. 

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Court Report from Tuesday April 5 – Day 2 of the Dallas 6 Trial

MAKE A DONATION! Online at http://tinyurl.com/rally4dallas6 or send check/money order payable to Abolitionist Law Center, P.O. Box 8654 Pittsburgh PA  15221  Memo line: Dallas 6
DROP THE CHARGES!  For those who can’t make it to the trial but want to show support, please take part in a CALL-IN/FAX-IN to the DA demanding she drop charges. Details and talking points at - http://tinyurl.com/dallas6letter

Highlights Day 2

·       Big news!  The court heard why the Dallas 6 did the peaceful protest. There was concern that they would not have been allowed to lay this out in court, so the fact that they did was in and of itself a victory. Andre Jacobs and Carrington Keys gave powerful opening statements laying out why they did the peaceful protest.  They were well-prepared, thorough and were effective in their cross-examinations.
·       Prosecution called two prison officials as witnesses in an attempt to back their claim that the men wanted to coerce the guards to forcebly remove them from their cells.  They further charged Carrington Keys with assault: they claimed he threw feces.   
·       A video was shown in which Duane Peters is clearly heard over and over saying, “We want to talk to the Luzerne County Public Defenders,” prior to guards removing the men from their cells (cell extraction).

·       Defendants blew holes in the prosecution’s assault charges by showing discrepancies with official reports; they said they did not know cell extraction would happen and that prison officials could have avoided it. 

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Dallas 6 Trial begins! Court report Monday April 4, 2016

Summary:
·       Trial began after six years
·       Unredacted video will be shown in court although the men may not have seen it despite court orders
·       The judge has not ruled on "justification" - whether the men will be allowed to say why they took the action they did.
·       Jury selected and, with alternates, includes nine women and five men, including three women of color

·       Duane Peters retained attorney Michael Wiseman (Carrington Keys' stand-by attorney) to represent him


After nearly six years – the incident took place on April 29, 2010 – the long-delayed trial of the three remaining "Dallas 6" began on Monday, April 4.  The day began with a press conference on the steps of the courthouse where mother of Dallas 6 member Carrington Keys spoke about the trial starting on the anniversary of the assassination of MLK.  Supporters raised that the court had already dismissed these ridiculous riot charges once, but were only brought again by then attorney Lisa Gelb who was running for judge.  Now Judge Gelb is presiding over the case.

About 15 supporters attended the start of the trial, a multi-racial group drawn mainly from the families, a women's group (Global Women's Strike), the religious community (members of Mishkan Shalom and Germantown Friends Meeting in Philadelphia), and Payday men's network. Most of the day was spent on jury selection, behind closed doors – no one was allowed in the courtroom presumably because of lack of space. But the day began with the men – Carrington Keys, Duane Peters, and Andre Jacobs – raising questions about why none of them got the same version of the cell extraction videos, and Judge Gelb laying out what would be allowed to raise to the jury and responding to the defendants' witness lists.

The men raised with the judge again that they have never received the original, unredacted videos of their cell extractions -- the beatings by guards for which they are accused of "rioting". They were only able to see the video once, and each of them saw different versions. This is a violation of their right to evidence and amounts to tampering with and hiding evidence. How can they adequately prepare their defense without having the original videos? The judge said that she had ordered the DA to send them the original videos and they told her they had. The DA and the judge said, outrageously, that "they have no control over the DOC (Department of Corrections)" – a bad precedent, which the men challenged. However, the judge said that all the original videos would be shown during the trial. Andre Jacobs also asked for a paper trail of who, when, and how the videos were redacted. The DA revealed the name of the attorney who ordered the redaction (Hogan) and the detective who did it – Charles Ballow (sp?).  They may be called as witnesses.

On the witnesses, those who were present at Dallas prison during the incident were accepted. Several character witnesses that Duane Peters requested were struck down because they were not at Dallas at the time, even though they could speak to the reasons Duane was sent to solitary at Dallas in the first place. The judge would not serve any subpoenas on behalf of the men – particularly those related to Carrington's criminal complaint, such as Superintendent Mooney – but said they can subpoena them now.

Tuesday began with opening statements. Carrington and Andre are representing themselves, while Attorney Michael Wiseman is now representing Duane. The trial is expected to last a week. Stay tuned for a report from Tuesday's hearing, which went very well!  TV coverage can be found here.

ANYONE WHO CAN ATTEND THE TRIAL ANY DAY THIS WEEK, PLEASE CONTACT US! 
WE URGENTLY NEED AS MANY SUPPORTERS AS POSSIBLE TO BE PRESENT IN THE COURTROOM.

Now is the time to help these brave prisoner whistleblowers win a major victory for prisoners across Pennsylvania and across the US!

Please do the check-in if you want to come or contact by email or phone. Rooms are available in the area.  

If you cannot attend, PLEASE, do the call-in/fax-in.  http://tinyurl.com/dallas6letter