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My bogus validation and torture at Calipatria ASU

September 25, 2012

by Gualberto Lopez

A Mexican Aztec drawing is used as a “source item” by California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to label a “Southern Hispanic” as a prison gang associate and put him in segregation (SHU/ASU) for decades calling him “worst of the worst.” Gualberto Lopez is Mexican, and CDCR is persecuting him based on his ethnicity and culture.
In June 2002, when I was 21 years of age, I arrived at Pelican Bay State Prison. That is the institution where I was housed at after I left LA County Jail. I was at Pelican Bay for eight to nine years, most of the time in the SHU. At each Institution Committee hearing I had, the SHU ICC (Institutional Classification Committee) would always tell me, “We know you are associated with a prison gang.” They tried to make me accept it and force me to accept I was a part of a prison gang many times when I never was. I never bit into PBSP/CDCR’s game that they tried to play with me.

Once I finally got out of the SHU at PBSP in 2008, I was allowed to go to general population for about a year and a half given clear status; then I was given a transfer to Corcoran for five to six months. After I did those few months at Corcoran without any 115 write-ups, I was transferred to Calipatria State Prison. In 2010, I arrived at Calipatria, and I was on general population for about six months until I was picked up by Institutional Gang Investigator E. Duarte based on artwork that PBSP tried to use on me when I was there in 2006 to try and validate me.

The IGI’s put me in Administration Segregation (Ad-Seg/A5) at Calipatria for this bogus validation saying that I was involved in prison gang activity when I never involved myself in any such conduct. The reason for me transferring down to a prison further south was to be close to home and to have a better time with all the rest of my family. I wasn’t going to jeopardize that by receiving a 115 write-up now that I was able to be closer to them. But when I was transferred to Calipatria and while in general population, I realized it was harder to receive visits from my family because they had to go through the approval process all over again at Calipatria after being previously approved from Pelican Bay.

In Gualberto Lopez’ committee hearing report after he was taken into segregation at Calipatria State Prison, the committee members found that Gualberto Lopez cannot be on the general population yard and is a “Threat to the Safety and Security of the Institution.” But this ruling is not due to any confidential information from an informant, and Gualberto Lopez doesn’t have any enemies. It is due to IGI E. Duarte stating he believes Gualberto Lopez is in a prison gang. The committee members include a doctor and associate warden, and the chairperson who signed this committee report for Gualberto Lopez to be kept in segregation is current Warden G.J. Janda.
When I was served with the bogus validation paperwork, about six to eight IGIs were telling me that they were after me since I was previously from Pelican Bay State Prison. The Calipatria IGIs falsely told me that a confidential informant told them that I was in a prison gang. I was programing just fine and there was no evidence of a confidential informant and the evidence the IGIs tried to falsely slam me with was not strong enough to validate me and was false.

During this process of this bogus validation, I lost three family members; my family called the prison a few times so I could get the news of the passing of my loved ones. Calipatria never gave me that message while I was in Ad-Seg. The IGIs kept it from me and I had to find out later.

The IGIs at Calipatria, they took away all of my legal documents for my case I was working on and they trashed them. During my first two weeks in ASU, I was given a chrono 1030. It was put in my file by officers without me knowing. I had to ask for an “Olson Review” in the month of June 2011 to find out what they placed in my file.

Then in April 2011, IGI E. Duarte at the ASU unit planted two weapons in my cell on purpose while I was out to yard. I was given a 115 CDCR write up for those weapons placed in my cell by IGI Duarte. My mail is always being tampered with and trashed by officers. All the IGIs, they mess with us by harassment mentally and physically by putting us in cuff tie ups, giving us small portions of food and ripped up clothes, trashing our outgoing mail, planting specific artwork in our cells while we are at the showers or yard that is used later to validate us. The IGIs go into our cell and put toothpaste in our sink with our pictures in the toothpaste and shampoo in our food mixed together.

The address in a telephone book of a member of Gualberto Lopez’ family who has no gang ties was used against him by IGI E. Duarte as a “source item” to validate him as a prison gang associate. When the Institutional Gang Investigators search an inmate’s cell, they take the inmate out of the cell and it is easy to plant evidence or write numbers in a telephone book, which is exactly what happened with Gualberto Lopez.
During the second hunger strike last year in September-October 2011, I was rushed to the hospital and in the emergency room the medical RN staff tried to take blood out of me for the second time in a week. While they were trying to take blood out of me, the nurse didn’t see that she broke the needle in my arm within the view of a lot of fellow prisoners.

At this moment I’m being denied proper “medical attention” for the pain in my feet. I have them all cracked from the bottom. It has been going on for many years. Last month in May, many of us inmates here at Calipatria ASU were finally allowed to be seen at an outside hospital for the first time in years. I was prescribed medication, but CDCR is denying all my medication I was prescribed for my feet by this outside doctor. Also I think my TB is acting up, but Calipatria is not hearing my pleas.

This is how this inhumane, torturous treatment in segregation makes me feel, so depressed, angry, sad, enraged. I’ve lost focus and changed from how I used to be. I don’t see people for how they are now or how I used to see them. My thinking is very different than before. I can’t be around too many people now. I have lack of sleep, and I have trouble concentrating.

All of my communication with my family has been cut off now because either my mail doesn’t get to me or I’m too afraid to worry my family of what’s really going on with me. I’ve been going through this for the last two years here at Calipatria State Prison ASU and I am up for transfer to Pelican Bay State Prison again to be placed in the SHU for years due to this bogus validation.

The Office of Correctional Safety Special Service Unit’s special agents John Zinna and Jim Moreno approved the evidence submitted by IGI E. Duarte on Gualberto Lopez. The evidence used to label Gualberto Lopez as a prison gang associate – the “worst of the worst” – was an Aztec cultural drawing, two tattoos and a family member’s address in a telephone book. Gualberto Lopez was validated in May 2011. Since then, he has appealed this false validation with CDCR through the court and has been denied all appeals. That means Gualberto Lopez is labeled a “Threat to Safety and Security of the Institution” and is currently on a waitlist to be sent to the SHU at Pelican Bay for the next decade or more due to these four “source items.”

How long do I have to be tortured for? Will I be rehabilitated? Where are the programs available to rehabilitate me instead of torture me? I don’t know.

Only the governor and the state Assembly have the power to change it. But until then, all I know is that I am being mistreated in this crooked, broken system called California Department of Corrections and “Rehabilitation.”

How long do I have to be tortured for? Will I be rehabilitated? Where are the programs available to rehabilitate me instead of torture me?

Can somebody hear me out there?

Send our brother some love and light: Gualberto Lopez, T-81282, ASU-160, P.O. Box 5008, Calipatria, CA 92233.

The corrupt validation process under IGI Duarte

by German Cabrera

I would like to shed some light regarding Institutional Gang Investigator (IGI) E. Duarte. I’ve been in ASU (Administrative Segregation Unit) since Oct. 26, 2009. I am currently validated as an alleged associate of a prison gang and I did have a discussion with IGI E. Duarte prior to being placed in the hole (segregation).

That bad day took place on May 14, 2009. IGI E. Duarte and his sergeant forced me to sign what’s called a “safety chrono.” When I refused to do so, I was threatened to be placed in the hole. How it took place was as follows: After taking my work shower on my return from my vocation assignment (job) and yard was recalled completely in B5, I was walking out of the shower and I noticed a sergeant just looking at me. He didn’t say anything though.

I did not have five minutes in my cell when my cell door reopened and I was told by the tower that I had a 115 hearing in the program office. I told him to close my door, didn’t think he was serious. So he did, just to reopen it, and he said, “They want you to go to the program office for a 115.” I asked who is “they”? He replied, “The sergeant.” I replied that the sergeant was just here and did not say anything, plus the sergeants don’t hear 115s – it’s the lieutenants that do – plus I didn’t have any 115s.

I told him to close my door. He (Duarte) insisted but ended up closing it. Seconds later the floor officer came and said, “They want me to cuff you and take you to the office.” I asked, “Do you know who?” He replied, “You know who it is!” Then he went ahead to say “but I’m out of it.” So I told him, “Get out of it then and get away from my cell door.”

He did and minutes later I heard squad’s arrival; it was around five or 10 of them. When I got closer to my door and looked, it was an officer heading towards my cell door real fast. When he arrived, his name tag said “E Duarte.” Duarte started to get loud, stating, “You like attention, huh; you like attention, huh. OK, I’m going to give you attention.” I told him, “I don’t even know who you are for you to get crazy with me.”

That bad day took place on May 14, 2009. IGI E. Duarte and his sergeant forced me to sign what’s called a “safety chrono.” When I refused to do so, I was threatened to be placed in the hole.

He ended up cuffing us up. While I was cuffed up and out of the cell, he was acting dumb with my cellie, trying to intimidate him. Then I was told I needed to sign something and I asked what it was; it was a “safety chrono.” I stated to them, “I’m cool.” Duarte said, “If you don’t sign it, you’re going to the hole (segregation).”

Then it was given to IGI Tamayo, who read it. I then asked him, “This is what you’re using to remove me from general population?” I asked because they did so with another inmate in my building. IGI Tamayo said, “Oh, you’ll know when I come for you.” I got into a little discussion of how come they can’t just take my word that I have no safety concerns and I don’t know what’s really behind this chrono because it doesn’t say if and how it was proven to be true or reliable. So in reality I don’t know what and why I’m signing. Then IGI Sgt. E. Silva jumped in saying to chill out, that I do need to sign it or they will place me in the hole (ASU).

I ended up signing because I had a lot going: I was in vocational training – AA classes – in cell studies plus earning good time credits, and I remained in B yard for five and a half months until the incident involving inmates and COs (correctional officers) in B-2. After the incident with Velarde (Velarde vs. Duarte, Case No. 3:2011cv00287 in the United States District Court, Southern District of California) and CO Magdaleno, who hit the inmate while he was cuffed after the searches, me and other Mexicans/Latinos/Hispanics were placed in Ad-Seg – the hole!

I got targeted in this validated process, and I assert and refute the following: I was picked up by IGI pending an investigation into alleged association(s) with a prison gang and as an alleged active member of a street gang/disruptive group. I refute IGI’s source items used against me in this duo-validation individual and collectively and assert that this malicious targeting was done in retribution and revenge for the prior incident involving myself and IGI Duarte in which Duarte exhibited a hostile nature and unnecessarily forced me to sign a “safety chrono” as well as a subsequent incident involving Mexicans/Latinos/Hispanics.

I assert that Duarte’s unnecessary force was a personal attack on my character and positive programming in this institution. A fact supporting Duarte’s use of invalid information given by inmates seeking protective custody is illuminated by me remaining on B-yard general population several months with no incident, expounding on this doubly damning attack on my character.

After the incident with Velarde (Velarde vs. Duarte, Case No. 3:2011cv00287 in the United States District Court, Southern District of California) and CO Magdaleno, who hit the inmate while he was cuffed after the searches, me and other Mexicans/Latinos/Hispanics were placed in Ad-Seg – the hole!

I have been targeted and harassed on numerous occasions during this validation process and in violation of my due process rights, due solely to my appearance. IGI Duarte, while handing me my street gang/disruptive group validation packet, sneered at me stating to my surprise, “You got it all over your face.”

They’re using my past against me in addition to IGI Tamayo’s alleged interview where he states I admitted to being a gang member. That is a complete fabrication of the events of such day and the abuse of power and malicious harassment by IGIs. I have suffered these unconstitutional harassment specifically at the hands of IGI E. Duarte, IGI Tamayo, IGI Silva with a certain number of searches occurring after facility searches or returning from court in May 2008, with specific reference to incidents such as the constant search and seizure of property with no real provocation, no probable cause, and never yielding any contraband directly related to any association, either street gang or prison gang. Also, their malicious acts, such as withholding my outgoing mail and disallowing my incoming mail, are unconstitutional and put a strain on my family relationships.

The malicious acts of IGI E. Duarte, IGI Tamayo and IGI Silva, such as withholding my outgoing mail and disallowing my incoming mail, are unconstitutional and put a strain on my family relationships.

In 2009 I was given the street gang packet and was made to believe it was going to be submitted; so both packets gave me 11 points to rebut. I know how they go about their evil ways: 1) When Duarte and Tamayo came to pick them up, I slid them my arguments as soon as he got in front of my door and they stated, “You’re done?” looking all surprised. Plus when they left to do the copies they are obligated to give me, the copies were purposely made wrong! 2) All those points were obviously given to me all at once in hopes I get stressed out and not be capable of rebuttal nor do it correctly. 3) The IGIs were hiding my property because most of property consists of legal books and case law and coincidently I had a validation manual.

I made it clear to all involved – officers and officials – how I was not going to allow their criminal tactics to be pushed on me without a fight on my behalf. They all told me IGI has to have it. Then like magic my property appeared but days before I was officially validated by Sacramento.

I have several appeals/602s and staff complaints against IGI and ISU (Investigative Service Unit) as a whole as well as several of them as individuals. But I was expecting them to respond that their COs did nothing wrong. It doesn’t matter to me because I preserved my rights doing so.

Before I bring this to a close, just recently I was served again with the street gang/disruptive group just because I requested the face sheet of that packet out of my central file (C-file) so they retaliated and reserved me. On my interview for it, I came out and IGI Duarte was there. I made it clear: What was he doing there if I have a staff complaint on him?

And this past Monday when I went out for medical within the facility, I ran into IGI E. Duarte; he was the sergeant for that day. Yup, he’s a sergeant now. He was the last one of the squad that placed most all of us in ASU and he will be working in ASU a couple of days out of the week!

I know for a fact there’s a lot of merit in appeals/602s and complaints filed against Duarte. How is it that he got promoted and, on top of that, (got assigned to) work where inmates he conspired against are housed and where he physically hurt an inmate.

I know for a fact there’s a lot of merit in appeals/602s and complaints filed against Duarte. How is it that he got promoted and, on top of that, (got assigned to) work where inmates he conspired against are housed and where he physically hurt an inmate. People out there should request to be provided documents specific to what are the requirements for a CO to become a sergeant and what disqualifies a CO from getting promoted becoming a sergeant?

“Silence in the face of injustice is complicity with the oppressor.” – Ginetta Sagan

Send our brother some love and light: German Cabrera, T-50054, ASU-197, P.O. Box 5008, Calipatria, CA 92233. These letters were written to and transcribed by Kendra Castaneda, a prisoner human rights activist, whose husband, Robbie Riva, T-49359, is currently in segregation at Calipatria State Prison ASU for validation as a prison gang associate, being labeled “worst of the worst” by CDCR. Her husband, like many other men at Calipatria State Prison, was validated by CDCR as a prison gang associate due to IGI E. Duarte authorizing falsified evidence.

 

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