What is understood by a sister who was called by Ikemba two hours after this attack is that he was told to take off his religious hanger and his ring, while he asked the officers to take it easy with his belongings. Apparently they did not like him asking this.
They took him handcuffed out of his cell, which is next to the Unit 3 shower, one of the officers busted his nose and his head was thrown against the wall for no reason. When he was brought back into his cell, he saw that photos from his daughter and from friends had been torn up and his legal work was spread around, marked with footprints of the officers, and coffee was spilled on the legal papers. The officers’ names are R. Remington and D. Homan. One of the officers is a defendant in a civil lawsuit that Ikemba filed last year.
Ikemba immediately filed an emergency grievance, which was denied by Correctional Officer Wagner. The reply was something like “you were just angry,” as if Ikemba had punched himself in the nose until it bled and had bruised his head himself. He was sent to the medical staff, but they said that there was nothing wrong with him.
What would you do if you were punched in the nose while handcuffed?
There was no camera when this happened, and they did not make photos. Convenient for the prison is what the observer would say.
Many people want to know why such attacks take place and what the warden is going to tell his personnel who conduct such violence to stop these attacks on handcuffed prisoners who did nothing to provoke an attack by two police in riot gear?
Many people want to know why these cases of violence are happening again and again in Ely State Prison? This is the third attack on a handcuffed prisoner there within about six months that has been told to the outside world. Who knows how many times it happens and no one outside the walls knows about it?
The riot on Jan. 31 started because a prisoner was taken away to the infirmary after he had been viciously beaten. How can the Nevada Department of Corrections ever say on their website that their mission is to “(p)rotect the public by confining convicted felons according to the law, while keeping staff and inmates safe?” What safety is there for the inmates in punching and slamming a prisoner against the wall while he is cuffed up?
And it is not only at Ely State Prison. There is a lot of officer-on-prisoner violence in the locked down units at Nevada’s High Desert State Prison too – locked down means the prisoners are locked in their cells 23 to 24 hours a day and allowed out only in handcuffs and shackles – and recently three suicide attempts were noted by prisoners on the locked down tiers within a period of three weeks. Those who tried to commit suicide – no one on the outside knows whether they succeeded or not – were not all prisoners who had been in solitary confinement for a long time, but only “recently” – for a few months.
How we can help
What can we do? Let the warden and the head of Nevada prisons know that a lot of people are worried about the use of violence in Ely State Prison and in other Nevada prisons and that this needs to stop now. Let the warden know that he should hold officers responsible when they use force and violence on prisoners and that he is ultimately responsible for the safety of prisoners and staff. Be polite and persistent in your message.
Forward your emails as well to the Board of Prison Commissioners, who consist of the governor of Nevada, the secretary of state and the attorney general. Keep a copy or forward it to the SF Bay View at email@example.com.
If you cannot do this, then just send a colorful card to Ikemba and let him know you know about his situation and you support him. Address it to Marritte Funches, 37050, Ely State Prison, P.O. Box 1989, Ely NV 89301.
Thank you for your help. It is much appreciated by our brothers and sisters behind enemy lines!
Please email and call:
- Warden E.K. McDaniel, firstname.lastname@example.org, (775) 289-8800
- Nevada Department of Corrections Director Howard Skolnik, email@example.com, (702) 486-9990
- Members of the Board of Prison Commissioners, firstname.lastname@example.org
There is a chance that your letter will be taken up at the next board meeting and published on the record, so state whether you want this or not.
Friends of Ikemba invite you to join them in the Free Marritte Funches Campaign. To learn more, visit Freemarritte.org.