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‘May your spirit be with us’: Prisoners recall Comrade Hugo ‘Yogi’ Pinell

November 29, 2015

Lessons I learned as Yogi’s neighbor

by Faruq Jabari

Greetings, family. I was disappointed, hurt and angry upon receiving my SF Bay View 2015 September edition to find the announcement of the death – assassination – of Yogi, Hugo “Yogi Bear” Pinell.

This photo of Hugo “Yogi” Pinell was taken in the New Folsom visiting room in early 2014, when he was first released from the Pelican Bay SHU. Derek Anderson says of this man who was a hero and role model to fellow prisoners, “He made it possible for us to walk with our heads held high in this wilderness.”

This photo of Hugo “Yogi” Pinell was taken in the New Folsom visiting room in early 2014, when he was first released from the Pelican Bay SHU. Derek Anderson says of this man who was a hero and role model to fellow prisoners, “He made it possible for us to walk with our heads held high in this wilderness.”

In 1992, at Pelican Bay, I lived nine months in the cell between Yogi and a Cuban named Shaka, a survivor of the 1980 boatlift. Both were comrades of mine who made a deep impression on me of how an askari (soldier) walks and talks.

When they burned that brother in the boiling water (on April 13, 1992, a Black prisoner, Vaughn Dortch, was forcibly “bathed” in the Pelican Bay medical facility in nearly boiling water, and though his skin fell down around his ankles, he survived – ed.), we had them run the goon squad team in protest. We withheld our food trays.

They took us and a bunch of other comrades to VCU or Violence Control Unit, a rubber room – handcuffed for over 10 hours. You spend 10 days there with a modified diet before they allow you back to the regular SHU.

There were many other lessons I learned in the short time I was blessed to be in his presence. I quizzed him about everything and everybody: George and what really happened in 1971 on his death, W.L. Nolan, Khatari, and how they killed him on (San) Quentin’s yard, balls and chain vs. New Man, New Woman etc. etc. I had much love and respect for that C (Commander).

Pelican Bay was a very dangerous prison after opening up in 1989. All groups were jockeying for position to control the yards and any traffic and trading. To touch a Black back then required a two for one exchange, and the Sureños and whites knew it.

So I was surprised that “they” could even get close to Yogi. He was royalty, a living legend in our eyes. Whether he liked it or not, we would have put – assigned – two ndugus (brothers) to hold usalama (security) on him at all times. He would have had a tried and true celly.

He would have had somebody wait for him when the doors open. Walk to chow, canteen and sick call. Somebody would have put a sick call in when he put one in to go as security – even to go to the law library.

I’m not making any judgments on the cadre at Folsom, but I will say that Yogi’s death should serve notice that being lax in your discipline opens yourself up to taking losses. Hugo Pinell was a big loss. The time I was there –  four and a half years – we didn’t take nor tolerate many losses.

There were many other lessons I learned in the short time I was blessed to be in his presence. I quizzed him about everything and everybody. I had much love and respect for that C (Commander).

Although we have a “peace treaty” in effect, the enemy mental is every present. Provocateurs lurk in the wings seeking to make history at our expense.

My condolences go out to the Pinell family. Stay strong. May brotha Yogi rest in power. We love you and will never forget your legacy to this struggle. Long live Hugo Lyon Antonio Pinell!

Send our brother some love and light: Faruq Jabari, 01478742, Eastham Unit, 2665 Prison Road 1, Lovelady TX 75851.

Hugo was my neighbor

by Casper Galvan

I met Hugo Pinell in the mid ‘90s in Pelican Bay SHU D8. Hugo was my neighbor, which was truly a blessing. His energy made the environment not so grim.

If he sensed that anyone was down in the pod and he associated with you, he would lift your spirits. If you needed direction, he would equip you on how to travel or address that avenue or obstacle.

Almost every situation that anybody was going through, Yogi had already experienced in almost 50 years in solitary. He had love for his fellow prisoner.

If he sensed that anyone was down in the pod and he associated with you, he would lift your spirits. If you needed direction, he would equip you on how to travel or address that avenue or obstacle.

Yogi was a rare brother. He loved his mother and his daughter extremely. My prayers go out to them, that they be strengthened by his love that rests on them. I’ll miss you, Yogi, my brother.

Yogi Bear

Hugo Pinell

Nuestra Ndugu

You suffered, by being trapped in a cell

A manmade hell

But by your smile, you’d never tell

I miss you, brother

Condolences to your daughter and to your mother

Your fight, your wisdom, your desire for change

Will carry on

And not pass in vain

I pass each day

Where your life tragically ended

Then I gaze to the heavens

Where your spirit surely ascended

Look upon us all

With that gentle care

And may your spirit be with us

In times to be aware

Shine in paradise

And rest, my brother

Thank you for the sacrifices

That you freely did for others

You’ll truly be missed

Yogi Bear, my brother.

Con todo mi respeto

Y amor siempre

Casper De Sacra

Send our brother some love and light: Casper Galvan (Chad Anthony Galvan), AT-1696, CSP Sacramento B8-222 (B-yard, where Yogi was assassinated), P.O. Box 290066, Represa CA 95671.

I was gang validated for having the Old Man’s address

by Edward Furnace

That was truly some sad news about the Old Man (i.e., Hugo Pinell – the writer could be punished for writing his name – ed.) being killed. I feel bad for his daughter and all of the people who campaigned for years to get him out of SHU.

I don’t know if you still remember the case I filed. I was one of the first guys validated (as a gang member or associate, punishable by an indeterminate SHU term – ed.) using an article out of your paper because it had the Old Man’s address in it.

I have continued to pursue justice in the courts. On Dec. 9, 2015, I have oral arguments scheduled in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. I am represented by counsel named Rajeev Muttreja out of a New York firm.

I feel pretty good about my chances of obtaining a reversal because several of the primary claims I brought in the state courts were intentionally not addressed. I personally believe these state court judges and CDCR have been for a long time engaged in a scheme to enrich themselves through these standardless gang validations by defrauding taxpayers.

How else could they have been getting away with it for so long, labeling men as prison gang members and locking them in the SHU for years for engaging in legitimate First Amendment conduct? That just logically seems absurd, and a person would think an educated sitting judge could see through that.

Depending on how the court of appeals rules in December, I may indeed finally get to have my day in court.

Send our brother some love and light: Edward Furnace, H-33245, PBSP SHU C8-106, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City CA 95532.

Thanks, Brother Yogi!

by Derek Anderson

R.I.P., Brother Yogi!

He made it possible for us to walk with our heads held high in this wilderness.

Thanks, Brother Yogi!

Send our brother some love and light: Derek Anderson, H-81578, SVSP A2-130, P.O. Box 1050, Soledad CA 93960.

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