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Video released of Georgia guards beating prisoners with hammer

August 29, 2013

by Mary Ratcliff

At the beginning of this video, you hear a prison guard shouting, “”Get down! Just get down! Get down! Get down!” presumably to the other prisoners. That exclamation is followed by, “Oh (inaudible) guy over there with his hands hitting him … and a damn hammer!”

The deplorable beatings you’re witnessing occurred on New Year’s Eve, just before midnight, on Dec. 31, 2010. It’s taken two years and nearly eight months for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to release this video. A very persistent family member of one of the victims finally persuaded them to give it to her, and Rev. Kenneth Glasgow, a strong advocate for justice for prisoners, posted it to YouTube for the world to see.

The family member who retrieved the video describes it as “Georgia inmates being beaten with a hammer-like object while handcuffed,” and she adds: “The Georgia Department of Corrections denies this happened but were caught on tape. The officer responsible was never arrested or reprimanded. The district attorney had the video and never sought charges.

“The family is demanding justice for this barbaric, inhumane act. We ask everyone to help by contacting District Attorney Tom Durden at (912) 876-4151.”

Kelvin Stevenson, Georgia prisoner beaten with hammer by guards 123110
This photo of Kelvin Stevenson immediately after being beaten by guards with a hammer-like instrument on Dec. 31, 2010, is seen for the first time in the video of the beating finally released this month.
“Within the entire GBI (Georgia Bureau of Investigation) file,” says Rev. Glasgow, “no GBI investigative agent or prison official identifies the guard on the video who is clearly beating non-resisting Miguel Jackson and Kelvin Stevenson with the hammer-like object.

“If you look closely, you will see a very large man lying on top of Kelvin Stevenson as the other guard batters his head with the hammer. Eye witnesses state that Stevenson was also handcuffed at the time.

“For all those who watch this and ask what’s the whole story, first of all ask yourself why no GBI agent or prison official reported this – at least not in the ‘official report’ – when this is their video.

“The family and advocates want justice and humane treatment, the situation investigated, and the officer in that video arrested.

“The family is demanding justice for this barbaric, inhumane act. We ask everyone to help by contacting District Attorney Tom Durden at (912) 876-4151.”

“This is how your loved ones are being treated in Georgia state prisons,” Rev. Glasgow concludes.

Why was such fury unleashed on these prisoners?

The 13th Amendment prohibits slavery in the U.S. with one critical exception: “except as a punishment for crime.” And Georgia’s prison system takes that literally. Prisoners in Georgia must provide their labor for free; they work both inside the prison and are hired out to private employers.

On Dec. 9, 2010, in a move described as the “biggest prisoner strike in U.S. history,” thousands of Georgia prisoners across the state refused to leave their cells. “Chief among the prisoners’ demands,” the New York Times reported, “is that they be compensated for jailhouse labor.”

By locking themselves in their cells, Georgia prisoners refused for one day to be slaves. In response, Georgia authorities went to war defending slavery with the fury of the Confederacy.

“In an action which is unprecedented on several levels, Black, Brown and White inmates of Georgia’s notorious state prison system are standing together for a historic one day peaceful strike today, during which they are remaining in their cells, refusing work and other assignments and activities,” wrote Black Agenda Report managing editor Bruce A. Dixon, who lives in Georgia and helped form a committee of prisoner advocates.

“This is a groundbreaking event not only because inmates are standing up for themselves and their own human rights, but because prisoners are setting an example by reaching across racial boundaries which, in prisons, have historically been used to pit oppressed communities against each other,” he wrote on the day of the strike.

On Dec. 9, 2010, in a move described as the “biggest prisoner strike in U.S. history,” thousands of Georgia prisoners across the state refused to leave their cells. “Chief among the prisoners’ demands,” the New York Times reported, “is that they be compensated for jailhouse labor.”

Even then, retaliation had begun: “We have unconfirmed reports that authorities at Macon State Prison have aggressively responded to the strike by sending tactical squads in to rough up and menace inmates,” Dixon reported.

By locking themselves in their cells, Georgia prisoners refused for one day to be slaves. In response, Georgia authorities went to war defending slavery with the fury of the Confederacy.

Dixon has stayed on the story ever since, writing in “Starving for change: Hunger strike underway since June 10 in Georgia’s Jackson State Prison,” published July 2, 2012, in the Bay View, about the continuing retaliation that still has not let up:

Miguel Jackson, Georgia prisoner beaten with hammers by guards 123110 courtesy Final Call
Miguel Jackson is shown shortly after his beating with a hammer-like object. This photo has become an icon of the historic Georgia prison strike of Dec. 9, 2010.
“State corrections officials responded with temporary cutoffs of heat, water and electricity in some buildings, along with an orgy of savage assaults and beatings across multiple institutions statewide. In one instance, corrections officials apparently conspired to conceal the whereabouts and condition of one prisoner who lingered near death in a coma for most of a week while they shuffled him hundreds of miles between prisons and hospitals.

“State corrections say they rounded up 37 whom they believed were the strike leaders and put them under close confinement at Jackson, the same prison where Troy Davis was executed last year. Most of these prisoners have remained there in close confinement, with severely restricted access to visits, communication and their attorneys, and without medical attention for the past 18 months.”

In his July 2012 article, Dixon was reporting on a hunger strike by some of those men: “Since June 10, according to accounts from prisoners and their families and Rev. Kenneth Glasgow of The Ordinary Peoples Society and the Prodigal Child Project, an undetermined number of prisoners at Georgia’s massive Diagnostic and Classification Prison near the city of Jackson have been on a hunger strike.”

“Some of these men are the Jackson State Prison hunger strikers. After two weeks, according to the families of Miguel Jackson and Preston Whiting, they are weak from hunger and subject to fainting spells. But they seem to believe they have little to lose. They are, a letter from one of them asserts, ‘starving for change.’”

By this time, the photo of Miguel Jackson’s swollen face after his literal hammering had become an icon of the Georgia prison strike. Dixon wrote: “One of the strikers is Miguel Jackson, who was taken in handcuffs from his cell at Smith State Prison 18 months ago, removed to a secluded area out of range of the video cameras that monitor almost every inch of most Georgia prisons, and beaten with a hammer-like object. Jackson is one of several brutalized prisoners whose injuries have been untreated since.

“Despite a blizzard of demands by his attorney, prison officials have refused Jackson and other prisoners medical attention for months. And although they have not eaten in two weeks, Jackson’s wife said, at the nine-day mark when medical necessity usually demands prisoners be removed to the infirmary, prison officials simply told Jackson, ‘You’re going to die,’ and left it at that.”

The photo of Miguel Jackson’s swollen face after his literal hammering had become an icon of the Georgia prison strike.

Now we know that Miguel Jackson’s beating was not out of range of the video cameras. The video shows both Jackson and Kelvin Stevenson being beaten and later sitting in wheelchairs, bloody and bandaged.

Now the California prisoner hunger strike is being billed as the largest and longest in history. Originally involving 30,000 prisoners across the state, dozens still surviving on water only since July 8, 2013, are approaching two months of starvation. For their families and advocates, this video showing the fury of prison guards against prisoners who refuse to be their slaves is particularly chilling.

As we fight for the human rights of our brothers and sisters behind enemy lines in California, let us also remember the prisoners in Georgia who are still being brutally punished for their brave one-day work strike – clearly a precedent for all the prison strikes that have followed, including the current California strike. We who know that prisoners are human and deserving of human rights must unite with families and advocates in Georgia in their demand for an end to the retaliation and with all people of good will to end prison torture everywhere.

SF Bay View editor Mary Ratcliff can be reached at editor@sfbayview.com or (415) 671-0789.

Watch Rev. Kenneth Glasgow and Michelle Alexander, author of “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness,” in this new video, “Our Turn to Dream,” created to spawn a mass movement against mass incarceration. Share it widely.

 

77 thoughts on “Video released of Georgia guards beating prisoners with hammer

  1. Texas

    An eye for an eye! Thats how our leagal system should work! That prisoner should be allowed to beat the guard half to death with the same hammer!

    Reply
    1. Forsberg

      Wait, if an eye for an eye is the approach, these people wouldnt be in prison in the first place. Since they wronged someone to get there. So do the victims of these criminals get to beat them too?

      Reply
    2. RMcllelan

      You're an idiot! If you truly believe an eye for an eye than the prisoner may have been getting his due. Btw, if you read the article for what it truly is you'll notice it is bias. It's hate propaganda. How do we know the subjects actions or if the bruising is from the officers? Prisoners fight daily against each other.

      Reply
    1. Rizzy

      Animals? animals live on a farm…..those are ppl….and PPL IN THE PRISON SYSTEM…SOME NOT ALL…HAVE BEEN FALSELY ACCUSED of crimes they CLEARLY did not commit or are in jail for minor crimes but yet have long sentences…so the guys on wall street can rob us blind and receive a slap on the wrist while others who commit non-violent crimes get unreasonably long sentences….you sound like a wannabe slavemaster

      Reply
    2. Perry Tillman

      It seems the only animals in this picture were the guards. And since you are in agreement with this you must be of that same mentality. Oh, I see now. You must have been in prison before and mistreated by a couple of inmates and thats how you got the name 'Bend over'. I can now see where your lack of compassion is coming from.

      Reply
    3. Stand Up

      hey ben dover. iam like you i feel that your the Animal..And you should feel what it's like to be beatin boy.I hate all you Red Neck Faggots.And i wish you would come my way Boy.

      Reply
    4. Jeanette Mays

      I bet this assholes would not try that shit on the streets with some black men! They are a bunch of cowards to handcuff them and then beat them! They were scared otherwise to do the opposite fool! You people are so damn ignorant that I laugh at your ignorance!

      Reply
  2. George Washington

    Justice is served. These animals are getting what they deserve. They aren't victims they are criminals who deserve worse. This shouldnt even be news.

    Reply
    1. RIZZY

      ONCE AGAIN!! Animals? animals live on a farm…..those are ppl….and PPL IN THE PRISON SYSTEM…SOME NOT ALL…HAVE BEEN FALSELY ACCUSED of crimes they CLEARLY did not commit or are in jail for minor crimes but yet have long sentences…so the guys on wall street can rob us blind and receive a slap on the wrist while others who commit non-violent crimes get unreasonably long sentences….you sound like a wannabe slavemaster. you don't get the point..PRISON IS A BUSINESS SO PLEASE KNOW MANY PPL ARE THERE TO FUND THE BUSINESS NOT BECAUSE OF A CRIME…and if they are they are getting LONG sentences fro non-violent crimes……i can't believe how clueless ppl are WAKE UP SHEEPLE.

      Reply
    2. kathryh

      Then you don't know anything about America or the Justice system which is built upon laws and those laws ensure that People have rights. !! He's an Unarmed man for starters.

      Reply
    3. Miss Star

      some people probably only had nickel bag of weed or stole a pack of cigarettes. Whatever slave owners who used to beat blacks who never did anything. They should get what they deserve or their childrens children should get it. But there are others who do worse crimes like molest and rape children who never get what they deserve. we dont know these prisoners stories. The catholic church are filled with pervert child molesting animals who are DUE a punishment lilke this. So TAKE THE PLANK OUT OF YOUR OWN EYE BEFORE JUDGING OTHERS.

      Reply
    4. JeremyD

      I'd knock you out if I could find you, or if you had the conjones to put your real name out here, George Washington. Bet.

      Reply
    5. Nick

      You would be right if all of these were violent criminals, but, with incarceration rates as high as they are, it is safe to assume that they are not all violent criminals, rapists and murderers. Many of them probable just got caught smoking pot. Our justice system is not just.

      Reply
  3. koffeewitch

    Justice is served? I suppose none of you have ever been falsely accused of a crime? You are unaware that in many states (Ohio, for example) there are debtor's prisons. Lets say I accuse you of being a child molester and the police believe me and file charges against you. you spend time and money going to court to prove yourself innocent. IF you are found not guilty, you must IMMEDIATELY pay the court costs or be found guilty and go to jail. You may also be charged for every day you are in jail as if it were a Motel 6. Should be people go to prison and be subject to this for the crime of being poor? How about non-violent offenders? Pot smokers? Do we really want a society where the "good guys" who are supposed to take on a job responsibly with a sense of honor behave like sociopathic thugs?

    Reply
    1. hudsonmom31

      Excellent response! People are oblivious to the fact that many prisoners are not murderers or child molesters. Even still….I don't want my money to pay for evil acts of an officer who can't control his temper….oh, by the way….what's the difference???? He's just taking out his frustration in the prison where it gets hidden! I'd much rather see my money going towards helping them rehabilitate, even if they never get to be around people, at least they can learn and better themselves. I just believe that vengenance is of the Lords and yes….I've been raped…..so I CAN say that!!

      Reply
    2. popped and pissed

      I was charged in Ohio with resisting arrest when I was innocent to start with. Had to plea so not to do time. It's a crooked, crooked state of affairs in that state. Plea deals should be illegal as hell! They are evil.

      Reply
  4. upset white man

    This is what happens when you put stupid red neck white guys in a uniform , they start to think they have this power. That needs to change and officers must learn difference between abuse and protecting. GA you are not a state I will never visit due to your wrongful employment of dumbasses like this who abuse people who are serving for their crime already.

    Reply
    1. Amy Barnes

      There are § 1983 lawsuits that need to be filed then, and the Discovery process would probably shake loose all KINDS of amazing proof of further violations. And? Bills of Indictment need to be filed but GOOD LUCK with that because the LAST thing our public school system wants to teach… is Law. I wish all students got a mandatory minimum of four years of schooling on citizens' rights and responsibilities and the Law, and how to use our systems to ensure a fair go for all.

      All you need to do is spend a miniscule FOUR hours sifting through sample case files at State or Superior Court – here in Cobb County GA, one young man had to fight 19 months' false imprisonment for false charges of stalking after he simply filed rebuttal paperwork in a Court action. It was truly a nightmare for ONE person – now – - imagine how many other cases that must exist!

      The more lawsuits that get filed, the more outraged voices, the more sunshine put to this darkness, the more success will be had in defense of the oppressed.

      Reply
  5. Morbane

    Notice that what that guy was in prison for was never mentioned. Was it rape, porn, murder, gender dominance – prostitution, did he rape another inmate, did some one die on his heroin? Really, it is easy to say “poor prisoners” or “it is unfair”. Well think about the lives they ruined getting in there – the laws they were never caught breaking – laws in place to protect the vulnerable. No beating them with a hammer is wrong and letting them starve to prove their worth is immoral – but think again: why are they in there – REALLY?

    Reply
  6. Chex

    Some prisoners are locked up for things a benign as growing some plants for personal use that the state has decided to make illegal. Who did they victimize?

    Reply
  7. Amy Barnes

    This is a sick violation of human rights. I wonder if the families of these people could sue for §1983 and other civil rights and due process rights violations? A lawsuit’s full discovery process can enable some evidence to be shaken loose. Stand firm, stay fighting, and God bless the families of these victims.

    Reply
  8. Amy Barnes

    There are thousands of falsely-convicted people in the GA prison system. Not all of these people are guilty. Human rights are universal and this sick abuse needs to stop.

    Reply
    1. Forsberg

      Thousands of people? Really? Sure it might have sounded good, but thousands? You would have been safer to say dozens. A few will always slip through the cracks, but there is no way there are thousands.

      Reply
      1. wiseoldsnail

        there are thousands … for every one we learn about who is exonerated, there are hundreds more who cannot afford to fight the wrongful conviction

        Reply
  9. Gypsysmum

    We have Independent Prison Visitor Associations here I the UK. They have great power and report to The Home Office of the Government. I truly believe that this needs Federal Action.

    Reply
  10. ajamu chaminuka

    The answer is for those incarcerated people to organize Inside and organize outside when they are released otherwise nothing will change. This is nothing new, it has always been that the prison system is used mostly to control the slave or Black population. It's in the nature of the system therefore the system has to be destroyed.

    Reply
  11. coco

    I think that something should be done to prevent such violence against prisoners. They are human beings and the officers should be punished by law. They have no right to abuse their position like that. To unleash such hatred. Wow… It's beyond slavery it's much worse.

    Reply
  12. The Lord

    Slowly but Surely we are headed back to SLAVERY, how can this happen in 2013, and it had to be wrong because they didn't report it, maybe a reason for the beating, but no reason for not reporting, not reporting means that it was illegal done, But I leave things like this to GOD, because the people that did it and the people that allow it to happen, will be suffering from the top of their family to the bottom, and if you believe in GOD you understand what I am saying.

    Reply
  13. Tim kaiser

    Don't come to prison. These animals are the ones who rape and murder your children you bunch of tree hugging liberals don't get it

    Reply
    1. Get it Together

      You're stereotyping, therefore, your opinion does not matter. Think OUTSIDE the box rather than stereotyping and generalizing twice in one sentence. Not everyone convicted in jail are murderers and rapists by the way.

      Reply
  14. Darrell

    All have sinned and fall short, in most cases those in prison got caught and you a I did not. If all of us got what we deserve , we would all be in jail, unless of course you are another one or the perfect people,……

    Reply
  15. miaj

    as Jaded as I am, I am still blown away when people assume prisoners are less than human and don’t deserve any respect / basic human rights. I’m willing to bet they throw rocks but live in glass houses, what makes you so morally pure that you get to judge these PEOPLE so harshly. Even JC said to treat prisoners with love and compassion. yet everyone all the sudden wants to be an executioner.

    Reply
  16. Maria

    Some of you have probably NEVER been the victim of a serious crime. My father was robbed and murdered in NYC in 1981, when I was 16 yo. My family was already poor and his sudden death hurt us emotionally, spiritually, and economically. I was angry enough to want to kill them on the spot. We were lucky to have detectives who cared. I was lucky enough to grow out of that anger and be the daughter my father raised – one who believed in justice and basic human rights for all. People are not animals, not even the ones who slaughter. They deserve to be in jail and I think if you take one life, you stay in jail for the rest of yours. But brutality should not be condoned. Beating a prisoner with a hammer (or other object, esp on their heads where it could kill) makes them as much or more a criminal than the one being beaten. There are other ways to handle prisoners and each other. I'm not as liberal as many of you may think I am. I'm just a human being who believes we are all much greater than our behaviors suggest. And even if you don't believe or can't imagine it, any one of us can at any time, in the right or wrong circumstance (guilty or not) can find ourselves in the same spot – life is funny that way.

    Reply
    1. medusa777ful

      Maria, I really liked reading your comment. I agree with you and now I'm going to sign off because no one else can explain it clearly as you just did. Thank you. : D

      Reply
  17. Kathryn

    How are Mr. Jackson and Mr. Stevenson doing today? I spent a year living in GA in the 60's. Just keep this out front . People should be ashamed to hold back on this.

    Reply
  18. carflene

    it does not matter for what reason they are in the system, it is a system that is to be there to protect everyone, no one is given permission to beat on anyone no matter where you are. so many stupid people out there who just shout without thinking. come on people you are not allowed to beat animals so how stupid to say they deserve it.. they are there to do their time for what ever they did and yes there are some in there for things they did not do. and i hope our justice system can fix that but never the less. it is a system that is there inplace to protect and serve the people, not beat the shit out of them. fire all those guards and hire people who deserve a job,

    Reply
    1. @kismebabeatonce

      BS .. The system is in place to rip us off and to install fear in us .. The cops are thugs and criminals and the judges are corrupt X attorneys .. Go to court on some kind of offense without a lawyer and the judge will have you for lunch .

      Reply
    1. I Care

      If it was your love one, you would care, especially if his crime was a non- violent one. Everyone in prison isn't suppose to be. The guard is a violent thug and should be locked up.

      Reply
  19. Greg Riley

    “If you want to see the dregs of society, go down to the jail and watch the changing of the guard.”- Mark Twain

    Reply
  20. CopKiller

    "If you want to see the dregs of society, go down to the jail and watch the changing of the guard."- Mark Twain

    Reply
  21. FREIDA JOHNSON

    When I seen the title to this story I knew it was in Valdosta GA . THIS IS WHY ME AND MY FAMILY HAD TO MOVE AWAY FROM WHERE i WAS BORN .I LOVE AND MISS MY FAMILY BUT YOUR POLICE DEPARTMENT AND SHERIFF DEPARTMENT WOULD STOP AND SEARCH ME AND MY FAMILY TO MUCH WE HAVE BEEN STOPPED A TOTAL OF 35 TIMES AND EVERYTIME WE GOT PUSHED BEAT AND CUFFED AND WHEN WE WHERE ON OUR WAY TO DISNEY YOUR LOVELY DPARTMENT TOOK 2,000 DOLLARS OUT MY PURSE AND KEPT IT THAT WAS FOR MY SONS DISNEY TRIP .WE DONT DO DRUGS WE DONT DRINK AND I HAVE INSURANCE AND A DRIVERS LICENCE .I SURE DO WISH I COULD LIVE AROUND MY FAMILY BUT IM NOT GOING TO STAY WHERE ME AND MY FAMILY ARE IN DANGER OF CRIMANALS AND THEIFS THAT HAVE SPECIAL PROTECTION

    Reply
  22. wiseoldsnail

    prisons for profit . beatings for benefits . these cowards will probably get a promotion and a raise for beating a handcuffed man … two … i sure hope we find out when these coward 'guards' are dead, so we can let out that sigh of relief

    Reply
    1. Educated

      WOW! What a truly excellent point! Where would this conversation be without contributions like:
      "Half of all inmates make up more than 50% of inmates." Since you're writing on this board I guess we can conclude you're not an inmate, and based on you're comment you're definitely not an officer…what exactly is your title?

      Reply
  23. Che

    God bless the fucking USA. Never i would live in that country !
    Its a rotten kapitalist systim.
    Murder,war,weapons,rape,drugs and stupid politicians that the fucking USA !

    Reply
  24. Uncle Jay

    Terribly sad… the fact we are still breaking each other down instead of building each other up just showcases the fact that we shall never attain the 'utopian' ideals of One World… One People… we are a barbaric species that preys on one another be it on the internet over a forum, in our towns and cities, or inside our 'justice' system. Humanity is a lost cause until every world citizen is privy to a proper education, healthcare, food… and true equality. Sad sad days we live in… injustice for all.

    Reply
  25. msttou

    He wad falsely accused on rape. He comes a good family. He didnt deserve this. He is still human. Who are to judge any one. God can only do that. Justice will be serve. To all you racist idiots kick rocks
    n go to hell.

    Reply
  26. dmf

    damn my husband is in jackson right now going threw diagnostics for a probation violation. curfew violation on top of that and this is what me and kids have to worry about all because he wasnt home from work damn God be with him

    Reply

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