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Lucasville Rebellion, longest prison ‘riot’ in history, began 25 years ago, on April 11, 1993

April 11, 2018

by Greg Curry

Lucasville prisoners protested Ohio state officials blocking them from the media during the rebellion, and it’s been a major issue ever since.

My name is Greg Curry. I was serving time at Ohio’s maximum security prison, SOCF (Southern Ohio Correctional Facility) on April 11, 1993, when a major disturbance on L-side began. Many will recall the crisis at Waco, Texas, was the dominant news story during that time, squeezing out much of the news coverage of Lucasville.

I was 29 years of age. My interest was going home, sports and exercising – no gangs nor group affiliations, and I had nothing to prove to my peers, therefore, I had no serious disciplinary issues.

My job was recreation aide. Between 1 and 2 p.m. on April 11, 1993, I was sent to the recreation yard and locked out of L-side by my supervisor, who later testified to this at my trial. I remained in the yard on that cold evening.

Late that evening, all inmates were rounded up off the yard by heavily armed police. We were stripped naked, photographed, cuffed, then placed in K-side cells meant for one man with 10 other naked men. I wondered if the police would just kill us.

Days later, I was transferred to Lebanon prison. After a couple of inquiries by the state police, I was let out into semi-population to rebuild my program, as it were.

I then got another visit from the state police investigators telling me that Keith Lamar or I would get the death penalty for killing many people. I was shocked by the claim because I never was inside L-side to commit any crime nor to blame anyone.

I was arrested or put on lockdown. Many months later, to my total surprise, I was indicted for two aggravated murders.

My appointed counsel, attorney Dixon, walked in talking about a deal. I wasn’t interested in a deal. I was innocent. I requested motions and a strong defense.

Attorney Dixon was removed for a neighborhood boy who felt he could charm the jury if I refused the deal. I demanded that he prepare for trial because I was innocent. I wasn’t scheduled for trial first, but I refused any delays.

Greg Curry

I became the first accused rioter to be tried on murder charges – a case the state had to win. One inmate after another was put on the stand to “act out” the prepared, prepaid lies that took two to four interviews with the prosecutor to manufacture.

Some admitted to felony behaviors during the riot, including the star witness, Lou Jones, who was in prison for murder and claimed to be an active member of the murder squad, yet wasn’t charged. In fact, he received early release on his original murder conviction as a direct result of his testimony for the prosecution.

My name is Greg Curry. I was serving time at Ohio’s maximum security prison, SOCF, on April 11, 1993, when a major disturbance on L-side began.

In Ohio, deals are law as long as they are disclosed so jurors can weigh them (Beckett v Haviland US App 6th Cir). At my trial, both the prosecutor and the judge and all the lying inmates claimed no deals were made.

The same prosecutor after my conviction admitted on direct appeal that yes, they gave Lou Jones a deal. Case law says the only remedy is a new trial. I never had a chance in that area under those conditions leading up to trial nor at trial.

Midway through my trial an inmate gave me a plea agreement made by Fred Frakes pleading guilty to one of the murders I was accused of and on trial for! However, it was too late for me to call him as a witness.

Also, there were over 300 inmates who gave statements accusing others. My attorney was never made aware of those statements.

These five men, from left, Bomani Shakur (Keith LaMar), Jason Robb, Siddique Hasan and Greg Curry, are the Lucasville scapegoats condemned to death although none was shown to have killed anyone.

After my conviction, the state public defender in Columbus had me send all my legal work in for possible post-conviction assistance. They then held onto it until my filing time was eight days from expiration. They then returned it saying, “Good luck.”

I encourage you to lend your heart and mind to the true account of how lies and corruption led to the conviction of innocent men during the 1993 Lucasville-SOCF uprising. These men were singled out and used as scapegoats. They would not lie or take part in the Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections broader scheme.

I encourage you to lend your heart and mind to the true account of how lies and corruption led to the conviction of innocent men during the 1993 Lucasville-SOCF uprising. These men were singled out and used as scapegoats.

Thus far, the state has been successful in covering up this injustice. There were deals and promises made to inmates for them to say anything that would help the state convict these men and many others – while actual confessed murderers received leniency.

Note from Mosi O. Paki

As a fellow prisoner forced into 18 years of isolation alongside of Greg and others because I refused to go see state police investigators, I was maxed out on my 15 to 25 year original sentence of aggravated robbery from 1988.

Ohio is a Republican state without resources. Therefore, as a freed man of strength, I bring you this truth from my brotha of strength, Greg Curry, who can be reached at: Greg Curry, 213-159, 878 Coitsville-Hubbard Rd, Youngstown, OH 44505. Visit Greg’s website, at https://gregcurry.wordpress.com/, and his fundraiser, at https://fundrazr.com/GregCurryLegalFund?ref=ab_a7C8d3_ab_63uUpPqspML63uUpPqspML.

Or you can write to me, Mosi O. Paki, P.O. Box 202494, Shaker Heights, OH 44129. Though I was released on my max date, November 2013, I don’t know how to set up websites to help my brotha. Any assistance with that along with publication of this truth I’ve sent you is needed, inside and outside. Injustice must be addressed and changed!

Act in solidarity with the survivors of the Lucasville Uprising!

During the rebellion, prisoners wrote their messages to the outside world on bedsheets and hung them out the window.

Central Ohio IWOC, the Free Ohio Movement and Lucasville Amnesty call for actions and raising awareness around the 25th anniversary of the Lucasville Uprising on April 11-21. Drawing attention to this pivotal event in the history of prisons in Ohio and the U.S., protesters will hold a 3 p.m. noise demo on the 21st outside the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility (SOCF) in Lucasville where prisoners held a cell block for 11 days in April of 1993.

Prisoner survivors of this rebellion have spent these 25 years acting as beacons of resistance despite suffering in solitary confinement and on death row. Their persistent and stiff resistance has wrenched concessions from the state of Ohio, improved conditions for all prisoners at the supermax and inspired and participated in the burgeoning nationwide prisoner resistance movement.

From another cell-block occupation in 1997, to lawsuits against the supermax, to successful hunger strikes in 2011-2013 (see links below), to death sentence resistance, to Imam Siddique Abdullah Hasan’s participation and advocacy for the nation-wide strike and prisoner protest on Sept. 9, 2016, these prisoners have been at the heart of the burgeoning prisoner resistance movement.

Now is the time to act in solidarity with them, to expose the truth of the Lucasville Uprising and to demand justice for the prisoner survivors. Please join in protest and acts of solidarity with the uprising:

  • host a screening of “The Shadow of Lucasville” or “Condemned,” radical free documentaries about the uprising and its survivors;
  • organize a letter writing night and discussion relating the uprising to recent prisoner rebellions. We can coordinate for Imam Hasan or Greg Curry to call in to your gathering from the supermax prison and participate in the discussion;
  • take action with a rally, banner drop or other visible disruption to draw attention to the uprising and these rebels;
  • use this flyer designed by the Free Ohio Movement to promote your event.

Now is the time to act in solidarity with them, to expose the truth of the Lucasville Uprising and to demand justice for the prisoner survivors. Please join in protest and acts of solidarity with the uprising.

Media exposure has been a recurring goal for these prisoners. The uprising spontaneously grew out of a much smaller protest aimed at drawing attention to conditions and abuses at SOCF.

On Jan. 17, 2011, supporters rally outside Ohio State Prison, where the Lucasville scapegoats are held, to celebrate the successful conclusion of a hunger strike.

Key demands the prisoners won in negotiations during the occupation included access to reporters and live coverage. Since the uprising, survivors have been fighting to tell their stories using hunger strikes, lawsuits and persistent defiance of the ODRC’s policies of silence and isolation. These prisoners and their supporters believe that telling the truth about Lucasville on the largest possible platform is key to fighting their unjust sentences. They are fighting for their lives and their freedom.

In 2013 five of the prisoners and five journalists filed a lawsuit against the ODRC. The judge has made preliminary rulings in favor of the prisoners and journalists. More interview requests at this time will impact the outcome of that litigation and might convince the ODRC to relent and finally allow on-camera interviews with the prisoners. Pursuing this concession, supporters put together an extensive press package encouraging journalists to write on the 25th anniversary of the uprising.

Taking action wherever you are between April 11 and 21 will make the story current and newsworthy. It could help save the lives of these inspiring revolutionaries.

For screenings of “The Shadow of Lucasville,” you can use this flier, filling in the blank box with information on your local event.

A few examples of hunger strikes against the Ohio State Penitentiary (the supermax prison Ohio built in response to the Lucasville uprising):

2011: Inspired by the 2010 Georgia prison strike, and inspiring the massive Pelican Bay hunger strikes, three death sentenced Lucasville survivors, Imam Hasan, Keith LaMar and Jason Robb, refused food for 13 days, winning greatly expanded contact with the outside world and legal resources.

2012: Demanding release from the supermax but accepting concessions of congregate recreation and full contact visits, Jason Robb went on hunger strike for nine days.

2013: Coordinated with the 20th Anniversary Re-Examining Lucasville conference, Keith, Hasan, Greg and Jason went on hunger strike demanding on camera interviews with media. They didn’t win their demand but got enough attention to start the ongoing media access lawsuit.

2015: Keith and Jason went on hunger strike for nine and six days respectively, reversing policy changes intended to take away most of supermax prisoners’ books and music.

2016: Imam Hasan and other Muslim supermax prisoners engaged in a series of hunger strikes relating to the Sept. 9 national protest and moves the administration made to silence Hasan’s advocacy for the nationwide action.

This story first appeared on Lucasville Amnesty, at http://www.lucasvilleamnesty.org/2018/04/act-in-solidarity-with-survivors-of.html.

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