Black August adds another hero and martyr to the roll. By some accounts, it was his first day on the yard after 46 years in solitary confinement when Hugo “Yogi” Pinell was assassinated Aug. 12. Prison guards celebrated on social media: “May he rot in hell” and “Good riddens” (sic), they typed. Yogi was the only member of the San Quentin 6 still in prison, and his role in the events of Aug. 21, 1971, the day George Jackson was assassinated, has earned the guards’ incessant enmity ever since.
It is hot enough in Corcoran, California, to melt people. That being said, it still wasn’t hot enough to keep upwards of 400 people from braving 103-degree weather to mobilize and rally at Corcoran State Prison in support of over 30,000 prisoners on hunger strike in California. The immediate goal is to stop the cruelty and torture that being held in isolation represents. The long-range objective is liberation.
For 16 and a half years, I fought with every breath in my body to prove my innocence. On Oct. 5, 2011, the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals vacated my life sentence on the grounds of “insufficient evidence,” which is equal to a not guilty verdict, barring a retrial. Under the appeal issue on which my conviction was overturned, I was eligible for immediate release.
Imagine you were framed again by prison gang officers using a tattoo you got as a child and a symbol in a birthday card to “validate” you as a “prison gang associate” and label you “worst of the worst” and placed in segregation in a Security Housing Unit, or SHU, for years on end. That is what happened to my childhood best friend and husband, Robbie Riva.
Troy Davis has spent 18 years on Georgia's death row despite overwhelming proof that he is an innocent man. Hundreds of thousands of people in the U.S. and around the world are outraged by the obvious injustices of this case, and they'll be out demonstrating on May 19, Malcolm X's birthday.
On Oct. 14, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the death-row case of Troy Anthony Davis, putting him on the fast track to be murdered by the state of Georgia for the murder of a Savannah police officer in 1989. But on Friday, Oct. 24, in his third 11th-hour reprieve, the federal appeals court in Atlanta granted a stay so Troy's lawyers can file claims of his innocence. Block Report Radio speaks with Troy's sister Martina Davis about his case.