Tag Archive: prisoner deaths

Rest In Power Hugo “Yogi Bear” Pinell

Cropped Pinell

From NYC Anarchist Black Cross

On Wednesday, August 12th, our comrade in the struggle for revolution, Hugo “Yogi Bear” Pinell was murdered. The context for his murder remains unclear, save for the fact that it happened in the midst of a prison riot. We have no faith that the state will do anything to determine how or why Yogi Bear was murdered and presume cops and corrections officers are relishing his death. We do not doubt the possibility that he was specifically targeted and those in authority did nothing to protect him.

In the early 1970s, while imprisoned in San Quentin State Prison, Hugo Pinell made contact with revolutionary prisoners such as George Jackson, one of the Soledad Brothers, and W.L. Nolen. On August 21, 1971, there was a prisoner uprising in Pinell’s housing unit at San Quentin, led by George Jackson. On that date, Jackson used a pistol to take over his tier in the Adjustment Center. At the end of the roughly 30 minute rebellion, guards had killed George Jackson, and two other prisoners and three guards were dead. Of the remaining prisoners in the unit, six of them, including Pinell, were put on trial for murder and conspiracy. Together, they were known as The San Quentin Six. Three of them were acquitted of all charges, and three were found guilty of various charges. Pinell was convicted of assault on a guard.

Activists in prison to this day continue to mark the San Quentin prison rebellion as Black August, often with fasting. (more…)

$2.5 Million Settlement Paid To Family Of Michael Kerr, Inmate Who Died Of Thirst In Solitary



— State officials will pay out a $2.5 million settlement to the family of a mentally ill prisoner who died of dehydration last year five days after he was left in handcuffs in solitary confinement.

Correctional officers found Michael Anthony Kerr dead on March 12, 2014, after transporting him from Alexander Correctional Institution in Taylorsville to Central Prison in Raleigh.

An Army veteran who suffered from schizoaffective disorder that went untreated for at least six months, Kerr was serving a 31-year sentence at Alexander Correctional for firing a weapon at private property and repeated felony convictions. He had been held in solitary confinement for more than a month before his death. (more…)

Phil Africa Passes Away

phil-africa-2014From Denver Anarchist Black Cross

On Saturday, January 10th 2015 Phil Africa, revolutionary, John Africa’s First Minister of Defense, and beloved brother, husband and father, passed away under suspicious circumstances at the State Correctional Institution at Dallas, PA.

On Sunday, January 4th Phil Africa wasn’t feeling well and went to the prison infirmary. Though he wasn’t feeling well, other inmates saw Phil Africa walking, stretching and doing jumping jacks. Hearing that Phil was in the infirmary MOVE members drove up to visit him and were denied a visit by the prison. While they were visiting with Delbert Africa, Phil was secretly transported to Wilkes Barre General Hospital where he was held in total isolation, incommunicado for five days.

Prison officials at SCI-Dallas wouldn’t communicate about Phil’s condition.  They told MOVE that Phil was at Wilkes Barre General hospital but the hospital denied he was there and this back and forth lie went on for days almost the entire time Phil was being held. The hospital and the prison behaved very suspiciously denying Phil the ability to call family members or his wife of 44 years, Janine Africa, stating that she was not a blood relative. The hospital and prison received hundreds of phone calls in support of Phil from around the world. When they finally submitted to pressure and allowed Phil to call Janine on Thursday, January 8th he was heavily drugged, incoherent and couldn’t even hold the phone to talk to her. (more…)

NC agencies lock down info on inmate’s death from dehydration

kerrFrom News and Observer

Michael Anthony Kerr spent the last five days of his life handcuffed in a prison cell, unresponsive, off his mental health medicine, and lying in his feces and urine. An hour or two before the former Army sergeant died, officials at Alexander Correctional Institution put him into a wheelchair and drove him 2-1/2 hours east to a prison hospital in Raleigh.

When Kerr, 53, arrived at Central Prison, his body was cold.

Somewhere between Taylorsville and Raleigh, as the prison vehicle passed emergency rooms at eight hospitals, Kerr died of dehydration.

“They treated him like a dog,” said Brenda Liles, his sister.

The state Department of Public Safety has released almost no information to the public on Kerr’s March 12 death. Secretary of Public Safety Frank Perry declined to discuss the facts of the case but said he called in the State Bureau of Investigation to look into the death. (more…)

Gas explosion at Florida jail kills two prisoners and injures 150

escambia jail explosionEscambia County jail in Pensecola partially collapsed in blast but officials play down link between explosion and torrential rain

From The Guardian

An apparent gas explosion rocked a jail in the Florida Panhandle late Wednesday, killing two inmates, injuring more than 100 other people, and causing the building to partially collapse, according to a county spokeswoman.

At the blast site Thursday morning, glass was strewn about on the ground in front of the jail. The front of the building appeared bowed out, with cracks throughout.

The explosion happened about 11 pm CDT at a booking facility at the Escambia County jail, and as many as 150 inmate and corrections officers were injured, said Kathleen Castro, the county’s public information manager. About 600 inmates were in the Pensacola building at the time, and the uninjured were taken to jails in neighboring counties, she said.

Jury finds detention officer guilty in Wake inmate’s death

murdererFrom WRAL

Raleigh, N.C. — A Wake County jury on Thursday found a detention officer guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the June death of an inmate who died from injuries he suffered during an altercation with the officer.

Security video at the Wake County Detention Center from June 4 showed Markeith Council, 27, slamming Shon Demetrius McClain to the ground twice during an altercation.

McClain died 13 days later from blunt force trauma to the head.

“A lot of the family members have not seen the video and still do not want to,” said Jesse Jeffers, an attorney for McClain’s family. “For those that did, it was some closure for them, and others hate that they had to see it as many times as they did.” (more…)

Wake prosecutor plays graphic video of fatal beating during jail guard’s trial

From News and Observer

RALEIGH — December 10th, 2013 – Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby played and then re-played sections of a 13-second video in Superior Court that showed detention officer Markeith Council push, punch, elbow and twice slam an inmate head first on a concrete floor in a jail day room.

The 6-foot, nearly 300-pound jailer then handcuffed the limp, 5-foot 7-inch, 119-pound inmate and radioed for help.

The inmate, Shon Demetrius McClain, 40, died after the June 4 altercation, which took place a week after he had been booked into the Wake County jail on misdemeanor charges. On Aug. 6, Council was charged with voluntary manslaughter. (more…)

Remembrances For Herman Wallace In North Carolina


A banner posted to the fence at the disputed CVS building that was squatted/occupied last year as a campaign of resisting corporate development; at the corner of Weaver St. and Greensboro St in Carrboro, NC on October 12th. This banner was posted to coincide with Herman Wallace’s memorial service in New Orleans.

hermanwallacemural4Earlier this week graffiti artists decorated the Carrboro bike path with a memorial to Herman Wallace. The memorial reminds us that Albert Woodfox is still locked up and that the struggle is not over.

Write to  Albert Woodfox at:
Albert Woodfox
David Wade Correctional Center, N1A3
670 Bell Hill Rd.
Homer, LA 71040

Herman’s obituary from Angola 3 News:

On October 4th, 2013, Herman Wallace, an icon of the modern prison reform movement and an innocent man, died a free man after spending an unimaginable 41 years in solitary confinement. (more…)

Remembering Herman Wallace, prisons, solitary confinement and freedom

herman-photo_a-harkness1by scott crowe / scottcrowe.org

In the 70’s a bullet was sent to kill Herman Wallace while in prison for his political activities as a Black Panther.  This was a special bullet. It wasn’t cased in metal with gun powder.  It was of a different kind. It was a bullet named solitary confinement. Like all bullets it came fast and unexpectedly. It came to silence. To stop. Its effects are the same as the other type of bullet. Silence and death. In these no one can talk.  No one can hear the rage, the resistance the love for better humanity. This bullet would stop that.

This bullet came from a gun shaped like the prison system. The prison gun with its shining cold steel, its levers and site aimed on punishment and retribution. Its intent–to silence. This gun in Louisiana was aimed directly at Herman Wallace, Albert Woodfox, Robert King, Zulu and any like them for resisting the their systems, their exploitations, their degradation and their other guns. This kind of gun is everywhere in prisons all over. Its coldness, its steel, its trigger is waiting to be pulled. To silence those who refuse.

The trigger of this gun was pulled by those who assume to hold Power. In this case the petty politicians, redundant bureaucracies and corrupt administrations all within the so called justice systems. If there was to be blood it had their fingerprints all over the gun. Remember prisons don’t kill people. People kill people. Those who held this gun have names. (more…)

Herman Wallace Dies After 41 Years In Solitary

Herman Wallace, April 2013.

Herman Wallace, April 2013.

‘Angola 3′ member Herman Wallace dies three days after being freed from 41 years of solitary

From the Huffington Post

NEW ORLEANS — NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A 71-year-old man who spent more than four decades in solitary confinement in Louisiana died Friday, less than a week after a judge freed him and granted him a new trial.

Herman Wallace’s attorneys said he died at a supporter’s home in New Orleans. Wallace had been diagnosed with terminal liver cancer and stopped receiving treatment. Wallace was held for years at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola. In 2009, Wallace was moved from Angola to “closed-cell restriction” at Hunt Correctional in St. Gabriel, where he recently was taken to the prison’s hospital unit.

Jackie Sumell, a longtime supporter of Wallace, said he was surrounded by friends and family when he died. Wallace at one point told them, “I love you all,” according to Sumell. (more…)