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Another dead teenager: Only in solidarity will we ever get back what’s been taken from us

August 27, 2014

by Gonzalo Gonzalez

Michael Brown’s body lay in the street for over four hours. Like public lynchings, the delay was meant to strike terror in the hearts of the people.

Michael Brown’s body lay in the street for over four hours. Like public lynchings, the delay was meant to strike terror in the hearts of the people.

Another dead teenager. Another senseless murder by the hands of an overzealous police force adamant on the use of military-like tactics and lethal force to subdue a racially profiled Black man they claim was walking in the middle of the street blocking traffic. I’m talking about Michael Brown, the 18-year-old gunned down by the Ferguson Police Department in Missouri on Aug. 9, 2014, which has sparked public outrage among the citizens of Ferguson and created a social media frenzy.

Bringing back horrific memories from the civil rights era, police officers whose sole duty is to protect and serve, are seen using dogs, tear gas and now military grade weapons to suppress any peaceful protest and public outcry. This is all too familiar to those who grew up in housing projects, barrios and the ghetto. It really hits home to those who can relate to being targets of police brutality, where in essence police departments have become judge, jury and executioner, getting away with murder time and time again. Sickening.

Having grown up in the city of Corona, located in Southern California between Riverside and Orange County, this type of tragedy is all too familiar. Corona is a predominantly Hispanic city where the youth are continually racially profiled and labeled as domestic terrorists for the color of their skin.

“Domestic terrorist” is the new phrase for so-called gang members who are simply youth growing up in the neighborhood. This is character assassination at its worst, used to justify gunning down innocent people.

“Domestic terrorist” is the new phrase for so-called gang members who are simply youth growing up in the neighborhood. This is character assassination at its worst, used to justify gunning down innocent people.

With Michael Brown, the police released convenience store footage in order to change public perception and justify his cold blooded murder, which caused even more outrage, as it should. This is the same old tune that police departments, the system and CDCR use to justify horrendous tragedies and to throw away the key.

Now, I’ve been housed at Pelican Bay State Prison since 2006 and have been incarcerated since 2002. During that time, I became the target of extreme character assassination and was given a sentence of 38 years to life under California’s draconian Three Strikes Law for non-violence.

Police are putting their best brutality on display at the nightly protests, and most but not all those attacked are Black. Bilgin Şaşmaz, a photojournalist for Turkey's state run Anadolu Agency, was brutally beaten and arrested by police in Ferguson as he photographed the protests. Similar brutality is regularly used by guards on prisoners.

Police are putting their best brutality on display at the nightly protests, and most but not all those attacked are Black. Bilgin Şaşmaz, a photojournalist for Turkey’s state run Anadolu Agency, was brutally beaten and arrested by police in Ferguson as he photographed the protests. Similar brutality is regularly used by guards on prisoners.

I’ve spent years in Pelican Bay’s torturous SHU on trumped up charges, so I know what it’s like to not only be a minority as a Hispanic male, but to also suffer at the hands of the Corona Police Department and now at the hands of my captors, the California Department of Corrections and No Rehabilitation.

Pelican Bay’s B-Yard is nothing but a continual warehousing of inmates, where the majority are stuck in their cells for days on end with little to no jobs or programming opportunities other than three showers a week – due to the statewide drought – and yard time once or twice a week if we’re lucky. Everyone attending yard is forced to endure a dehumanizing strip search process with the majority of men having to get naked just to enter the exercise yard.

Racial profiling, character assassination, the blatant murder of innocent people, solitary confinement and mass incarceration all go hand in hand and cause the domino effect of police forces militarizing themselves. Prison guards play psychological mind games on inmates in hopes of getting a reaction in order to justify treating us all like terrorists and animals, using their own military tactics and gathering their so-called “intelligence” from broken inmates – no matter how innocuous – to further suppress and torture. That is also sickening.

After going through all three hunger strikes here at PBSP – and it’s now a year after the big one – I still see little change on the yard. Now don’t get me wrong, the Inmate Advisory Council (IAC) has gotten the SHU kitchen back, creating a few more meaningful jobs. And everyone is now receiving a little more yard due to the administration most recently raising the number of inmates allowed on the yard to a block and a half after a few IAC meetings. But there really could be more effort on the administration’s part, since B-Yard has been programming continually for over three years now without one racial incident.

The Pelican Bay B-Yard for prisoners in general population – Photo: Andrew Goff

The Pelican Bay B-Yard for prisoners in general population – Photo: Andrew Goff

Now, I’ve been a part of the IAC here on the yard since February 2014 and continue to push for more yard, educational assignments, jobs and PIA (Prison Industry Authority) programs in hopes of creating an environment beneficial to all prisoners on B-Yard alike. Only in solidarity will we ever attempt to get back everything that’s been taken from us throughout the years. We all need to think ahead so the real terrorists – who vow to protect and serve daily – do not continue to kill and suppress at will in their attempt to wipe out our mere existence as human beings.

Only in solidarity will we ever attempt to get back everything that’s been taken from us throughout the years. We all need to think ahead so the real terrorists – who vow to protect and serve daily – do not continue to kill and suppress at will in their attempt to wipe out our mere existence as human beings.

So in closing, my heart goes out to all those who suffer and endure tragic senseless losses at the hands of police brutality, including my three friends who were murdered by the Corona Police Department throughout the years: David Ventura, Anthony Barton and Jason Martin. May they all rest in peace.

Send our brother some love and light: Gonzalo Gonzalez, F-14031, PBSP B6-132, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City, CA 95532.

 

 

2 thoughts on “Another dead teenager: Only in solidarity will we ever get back what’s been taken from us

  1. Hugh Janus

    Another dead thug? Anyone? How about that dead white guy shot by the black cop in Utah? No big deal, right?

    Reply
  2. Dona que te

    Because it doesn’t sell papers….Here is a person that robs a liquor store and appears to be aggressive to a cop, is shot and he is the victim? Look at Chicago.

    Reply

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