Support blog for the 6 prisoners who, when they were locked up in SCI Dallas, PA, protested in a nonviolent way against Human Rights Abuses in 2010, by covering their windows. They stand accused of something they did not do, yet Human Rights of prisoners at SCI Dallas (and in other Solitary Confinement units in PA) are still being violated on a daily basis.
We say: Drop the charges against the "Dallas 6"...
Stop Human Rights Abuses, Stop Torture and Stop Racism!
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
·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).
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.
prosecution made their opening arguments that this was a riot because the men
wanted to coerce cell removal/extraction and there was assault because Keys
allegedly threw feces, Andre Jacobs, one of the Dallas 6, told the jury they
were appreciative because this was the first time in six years that they had a
chance to tell their side of the case. He then laid out how the evidence
showed that the police never investigated the so-called crime scene, that the
charges are politically motivated and that the Dallas 6 were targets of
retaliation because they had a lawsuit against the prison and the guards.
Retaliation was in the form of mail tampering, deprivation of food and clothes,
attacks and threats that they would be killed. He understood that prison
is not a country club, but the guards have a duty to abide by the law. He
took the peaceful action to protect himself and the other prisoners. He
hopes the jury finds them not guilty.
Keys of the Dallas 6 began by thanking the jury, and said they did a peaceful
protest in defense of others imprisoned in solitary confinement. They had filed
hundreds of complaints about abuse and torture without relief, only
retaliation. After guards left a Latino man in a restraint chair for 15
hours, they had to do something to save the life of friends and others, so they
engaged in a peaceful protest, as it was the only option available to
them. During the cell extraction, it was factually and mathematically
impossible for a substance to be thrown, and reports showed the guards
sustained no injuries and did not change their clothes. Covering cell
windows are actions taken every day and there is never this level of
response. They were singled out. Covering cell windows is not a
riot. He said, “Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, you are our only
voice, and your duties are important.”
Wiseman, attorney for Duane Peters, defined the terms: RHU is a block of cells
where men are kept in solitary confinement without contact with each other or
others except for an hour of what is euphemistically called “recreation.”
A restraint chair is where you are strapped by your arms and legs with strict
guidelines on use which are not always honored. He said, “these gentlemen
can give context in a way I cannot on the brutality of what goes on in RHU and
what happens in cell extraction where the force is overwhelming. It’s a
brutal process, with stun guns, tasers and electric shields that bring a
prisoner down immediately.” He said the jury will hear shouts of “stop
resisting” but they will not see any resistance. The prosecution is
trying to turn a peaceful protest into a riot charge. He’s not saying that what
they did was the right thing to do as the prison rules say you cannot cover
your window, but in the context it may have been the right thing to do.
And covering your cell window is a common occurrence. This is a serious
criminal charge and not all is what it appears to be.
was the first witness to be called by the prosecution. He claimed that
feces hit him “in the head area”. A video was shown of the cell extraction,
where he was the camera man, the 5th man in the line to go into the
cell. Two videos were shown leading up to the cell extraction, one where
he goes down the line of the cells asking each of the seven men to remove the
item covering the window and announcing that each man was not compliant. The
other is where the court psychologist who is supposed to be their hostage
negotiating team to try to talk to the men, goes to each cell. He says,
“remove the sheet so I can talk to you.” By this time another prisoner has
covered his window. None respond except Duane Peters who says over and
over, “We want to talk to the Luzerne County Public Defenders” and “you are
denying us our right to talk to a lawyer.”
examination, Carrington Keys brought into evidence, despite objections of the
prosecution, a medical report that said Mr Buck was hit in the back of the head
by a cup of urine and feces that was thrown at him. Mr Buck said that he
didn’t write that report but he would not deny it on the stand, only that “he
was hit in the head area”. But he could not remember where in the head he
was hit. It was also raised whether the report of the assault was written
before the incident even took place which he denied, and that the story was
fabricated as retaliation which he also denied. Further that reports and
previous testimony were that “the inmates were protesting”, never that the
inmates were rioting. Also that he failed in his duty to counsel
asked Mr Buck how many times he has met with the DA to discuss his
testimony. He couldn’t remember and he denied discussing his
testimony. He claims he couldn’t remember when he knew that grievances
had been filed against him and that he was out on medical leave. Andre
raised the suicide of Matthew Bullock (a mentally ill, elderly white man),
which the men had documented in the Human Rights Coalition report. When
the prosecution raised objections that it was not relevant, Andre Jacobs replied
that our defense is that once the HRC report came out, we were retaliated
against, that Mr Buck prevented the process of finding a resolution. Andre’s
questioning brought out that cell extraction is discretionary, that there were
other options. This is important since the prosecutors claim is that the
men knew they would face cell extraction, and they didn’t.
Wiseman’s cross-examination revealed that the guards had received a note from a
confidential informant that a protest was going to happen. He also exposed a
prison rule that when executing extraction, it was to be “with the least amount
of force necessary.”
witness of the day for the prosecution was Lt Mozier. He claims he went
around to talk to the men before the cell extractions began. But there is
no video evidence of this, and the men claimed it never happened. He also
claimed that if the men had removed the items blocking the window and come to
the door and put their hands through the slot to be handcuffed as did one
prisoner, there would not have been the cell extraction. Andre Jacobs
said they feared for their lives and that their lives were threatened. Lt
Mozier also said he could not remember if the items had already been removed
from the cell windows before extraction began. He doesn’t recall any
conflict with the prisoners or the complaints made against him. Carrington Keys
again raised that Lt Mozier did nothing
to try to resolve the issue, that there was no record anywhere of his having
gone cell to cell to talk to the men, there were other avenues than cell
extraction, and that he took no steps in crisis intervention.
player didn’t work, so questioning of Lt Mozier is resuming today (Wednesday),
after playing the next video.
Daily coverage of the trial by NBC 28 Scranton (Note:
exact link may have changed, you may have to search video on website)