Thursday, 6 October 2011

Summary of Dallas 6 case

1. On April 29th, 2010, 6 prisoners now known as the “Dallas 6” participated in a non-violent protest against the abusive and inhumane conditions within SCI Dallas prison solitary confinement unit. The Dallas 6 covered their cell windows to request outside intervention and resolution by the Public Defenders’ office or other impartial parties.

2. The conditions being protested included prisoners dying from medical neglect, being beaten. Routinely retaliated against, suffering obstructions of communications by prison staff withholding incoming and outgoing mail – especially mail from the Human Rights Coalition.

3. Instead of offering a solution or even agreeing to try resolving the matter(s), DOC officials at Dallas directed that the “Dallas 6” …”be beaten, electroshocked, pepper sprayed, and left nearly naked in chains for hours or days in unwarranted cell extraction initiated by the same officers who triggered the entire ordeal, complained about in a 93-page report titled: “Institutional Terrorism.”

4. Video evidence, photographs and medical reports show undisputed evidence that the “Dallas 6” were assaulted, however in order to provide cover and justification for the unwarranted brutality, SCI Dallas officials falsified reports about being assaulted during cell extractions. However, none of the prison officials reported any “physical injuries” caused by anyone of the “Dallas 6.”

5. In May 2010, the Human Rights Coalition filed a Criminal Complaint on behalf of the “Dallas 6” in regard to officers brutally assaulting the “Dallas 6”. This Complaint was filed with the State Police and the Luzern County District Attorney’s Office.

6. The Luzerne County District Attorney’s Office and the State Police (C.J. Wilson, and Assistant D.A. David Pedri) created a false report as basis for denying the Criminal Complaint. The stated reasons for denying the criminal complaint was: a lack of “witness corroboration.”

7. However, none of the “Dallas 6”or officers named in the Complaint were ever interviewed by the State Police and D.A. Pedri.

8. In June 2010, one of the “Dallas 6” members, Carrington Keys, sued SCI Dallas and the D.A. of Luzerne County for turning a blind eye to assaults by guards at SCI Dallas prison.

9. On the date of August 2nd 2010, Bret Grote of the Human Rights Coalition attended a Senate Judiciary Hearing on Solitary Confinement Conditions at SCI Dallas and other prisons. At this hearing, D.O.C. officials were criticized about abusive conditions at SCI Dallas based upon reports containing statements from “Dallas 6” members.

10. In early August 2010, the Human Rights Coalition released a report entitled: “Resistance and Retaliation” critiquing SCI Dallas prison officials for their roles in cell extractions, and also critiquing Luzerne County’s State Police and District Attorney’s Office for turning a blind eye to assaults committed by SCI Dallas officials.

11. In retaliation for the various complaints, and release of the Human Rights Coalition Report (Resistance and Retaliation, see exhibit), Luzerne County D.A. David Pedri, State Police Wilson and D.O.C. conspired together to prosecute the “Dallas 6” with false “riot” charges in the District Justice Court [8-18-2010].

12. The Department of Corrections (DOC) nor any of the staff involved perceived this incident as a “riot”, despite riot charges being available to DOC per their handbook and 801 policy; the D.A. waited nearly 4 months to seek charges against the “Dallas 6”only after the “Dallas 6” filed complaints against them.

13. Immediately after the Human Rights Coalition’s released internet report, which gained media attention, DOC and Luzerne County initiated criminal proceedings against the “Dallas 6” to silence the “Dallas 6” and to punish the “Dallas 6,” and also to re-categorize the April 29th 2010 incident as a “riot.”

14. The prosecutors and DOC re-characterized the incident (4/29/2010) as riot in an attempt to conceal the obvious fact that the prosecution is in direct response to the publications released by the Human Rights Coalition.

15. Video evidence also contradicts the DOC and the Luzerne County Prosecutor’s attempt to re-characterize the “Dallas 6”’s motive as unlawful “riot”, where Dallas 6-member Duane Peters clearly stated on record, that the “Dallas 6” wanted to resolve the matter, and prison officials refused to negotiate and instead initiated violence against the “Dallas 6.”

16. Missing from State police reports is the long history of complaints filed against Dallas R.H.U. guards, which DOC officials refused to address for weeks and months leading up to the incident.

17. Aside from the State police ignoring all of the evidence including video footage of guards assaulting the “Dallas 6”, even the cursory comparison of the alleged facts of this case with a riot charge will show that no such “riot” ever occurred.

18. Under 18 Pa Cs paragraph 2 (“riot”) it states: “A person is guilty if he participates with 2 or more others in a course of disorderly conduct with the intent to coerce official action.”

19. Since the State’s position is that the “Dallas 6” coerced “official action” by covering cell doors, they must produce at least some evidence of the “Dallas 6” engaging in “disorderly conduct” before coercing the “official action.”

20. In other words, the disorderly conduct must have prompted the “official action” – it is a prerequisite as clearly set out in 18 Pa Cs paragraph 5503 “Disorderly conduct.” There are 4 elements of disorderly conduct: A person is guilty of disorderly conduct if he:

(1) Engages in fighting or threatening, or in a violent or tumultuous behavior
(2) Makes unreasonable noise
(3) Uses obscene language, or makes an obscene gesture; or
(4) Creates a hazardous or physically offensive condition by any act which serves no legitimate purpose, of the actor.

21. Covering a cell door with a cloth does not fit within any of these categories. By the DOC’s own written policy/handbook. Covering a window prompts a misconduct, not a cell extraction.

22. The protest was peaceful so far as the “Dallas 6” were concerned - no loud, threatening noice, violent or tumultuous behavior – the DOC voluntarily engaged violently against the “Dallas 6.” The DOC made it violent on their own accord, and in violation of their own use of force policy, code of ethics and abuse policy.

23. Secondly, the only evidence ever presented into record as to the “intent” (the motive for the protest) is found on camera (video) but also in court testimony by Andre Jacobs, Carrington Keys and Duane Peters (Unrebutted evidence) protesting abuse with hopes of finding an impartial party to end it.

24. Thirdly, there was no “assemblage”. Each “Dallas 6”-member was locked behind a cell and no “congregation” is permitted for solitary confinement inmates, or even possible. In the R.H.U., exercise and showers are separated, which is all designed to prevent “assemblage.” Each individual acted and was treated as individuals by prison officials on 4-29-10 not as a group.

25. Finally, the essential element of “riot” is assembly together with two or more persons in a riotous, tumultuous, and disorderly manner, proceeding with a common intent and purpose to the commission of unlawful acts which tend to alarm and terrify law-abiding citizens engaged in the peaceful exercise of their constitutional rights and privileges, Com v. Apriceno 189 Atlantic Reporter, page 518 (1938).

26. Basically the “Dallas 6” are charged with “riot” for putting a cloth on a prison cell window, and prisoners are never charged with riot for covering their cell windows, or for engaging in cell extractions, organized or not.

Questions for State Prosecutor

1. Why are the “Dallas 6” the only prisoners who have ever been charged with a riot for covering their cell doors? Coincidence or retaliation?

2. Why did Prosecutors wait 4 months to file riot charges, only after the “Dallas 6” filed civil and criminal complaints against State officials? Coincidence or retaliation?

3. Why is there no documentation in prison records about a riot occurring in SCI Dallas on April 29th 2010? Coincidence or Fabrication?

4. Why did Luzerne County District Attorney and State Trooper Wilson falsify a report in regard to pursuing and investigating assault claims against guards? (State Trooper Wilson and Assistant DA David Pedri stated there was no witness corroboration, however none of the witnesses were ever interviewed).

5. The Human Rights Coalition releases a report in early August 2010 criticizing District Attorney Pedri and Christopher Wilson for turning a blind eye to guards’ assaults on the “Dallas 6”.
On August 18th 2010 District Attorney Pedri and State police Wilson filed a Criminal Complaint with district Justice against the “Dallas 6” for “riot.” Coincidence or retaliation?