Woman prisoner reveals torture of children by police and juvenile authorities

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by Christy Phillips

I am writing to you to report the abuse inflicted on juveniles in the juvenile detention centers in San Bernardino, California, and other such detention centers, if investigated thoroughly. The abuse is inflicted by law enforcement officers or police officers in San Bernardino.

This well worn photo shows Christy as a teenager.
This well worn photo shows Christy as a teenager.

I was one of these juvenile detainees who experienced abuse at the hands of the police officers and juvenile hall correctional officers while detained at the Rialto police department and later the S.B. juvenile hall.

I had just recently turned 15 years old when I reported the location of a crime scene to the Rialto police from a friend’s house where I was attending a sleepover. The police arrived and took me to the Rialto police department, where they detained me in a tiny, cold, windowless room from about 9:45 p.m. until close to 10:00 a.m. the next day, when they took me to another part of the department to be interrogated by two detectives.

I had not eaten in almost two days. The officers refused to allow me to use a phone to contact my parents for help, and Officer Rodney Stoey told me he had strict orders from his superiors not to let me contact anyone outside of the police department until after my interrogation. Detective Todd Loveless and his then Sgt. Thompson – they all got promotions upon my conviction – interrogated me for hours until they forced me to give a confession whether it be true or not.

During the nearly two days I was at the police department I was never taken to a restroom and was without water and food. After the interrogation, I was taken to another tiny windowless room where I fainted on the floor with my hands cuffed behind my back.

I was taken to the San Bernardino Juvenile Hall from there, where I was jumped, beaten and pepper sprayed by the housing officers for nearly two hours. The housing staff spat in my food and served it to me while verbally abusing me.

Christy at Christmas – let’s bring her home before Christmas 2015.
Christy at Christmas – let’s bring her home before Christmas 2015.

They have stripped me naked and pepper sprayed me, and they would drag me outside in front of other minors in that housing unit to make me seem dangerous and deserving of abusive treatment. On one occasion, while hospitalized in the emergency room and shackled to the hospital bed, the housing officer assigned to supervise me during my hospital stay strangled me and told me he will punch me and tell the doctors I hit myself. I reported Mr. Roger when we arrived back at the juvenile hall, but I did not press charges.

I witnessed a 14-year-old girl who was seven months pregnant being slammed against a wall by four housing officers while her hands were cuffed behind her back. The housing officers were attempting to pepper spray her. She was crying and screaming for help.

I jumped up and ran to the housing officers and they beat me up and pepper sprayed me. Those same housing officers later participated at my trial as witnesses for the D.A. They testified that I was violent in the housing unit and that I had charged at them. They did not explain what they were doing when I charged at them or why I did that.

This is just a small portion of what happens to those children at that juvenile hall and no doubt in other juvenile detention centers throughout the United States. It was torture for me and other minor children who were there.

I am 28 years old now and still affected by those events today. I am serving life in prison as a result of the coerced false confession that the media played on TV over and over. My case was sensationalized and it was why I was a major target for abuse. My trial judge told reporters during my trial that I am “the ultimate nightmare of suburban neighborhoods.”

Many African American people took offense to that comment because I was a 15-year-old African American and the crime I was accused of took place in a mostly white, upper middle class suburban part of the neighborhood, and not too many Black people lived there.

I am serving life in prison as a result of the coerced false confession that the media played on TV over and over. My case was sensationalized and it was why I was a major target for abuse. My trial judge told reporters during my trial that I am “the ultimate nightmare of suburban neighborhoods.”

My advocates and other organizations such as Justice Now are working to challenge and put an end to mass incarceration and violence against women and children and people of color. The war on people of color has become an epidemic throughout the United States.

As a people unified and organized and mobilized with the common goal of equal and fair treatment of people of color, we can fight the tide of systematic oppression and eventually the destruction of our people. This is a human rights issue.

Join the movement. Contact Justice Now, Attn: Courtney Hooks, 1322 Webster St., Suite 210, Oakland, CA 94612 or call 510-832-HELP (4357).

Send our sister some love and light: Christy Phillips, W-94100, CCWF 512-3-3U, P.O. Box 1508, Chowchilla, CA 93610.

Sign Christy’s petition on Change.org: http://www.change.org/p/justice-for-christy-clinton-phillips-cdc-w-94100

11 COMMENTS

  1. Dear Sister Christy, here is some needed love while you’re in the dark confines of Cowchilla.
    I found your fairytale story Interesting, but you forgot to include the following LA Times article in your “fairytale.” Enjoy prison you monster and stop blaming the white people in society for the murder you committed. Serve your sentence and stop complaining and maybe consider reflecting on your actions and stop the narcissistic behavior. It is not about you and your abuse Christy, it is about the innocent victim you murdered. Your story only demonstrates the judge was correct in his sentence. Two life sentences still hasn’t changed you. Not only are you a monster, you’re a racist!

    Girl, 16, Gets Life for Slaying
    Crime: In sentencing Rialto teen, judge cites report that described her as a monster.
    March 21, 2002|TINA DIRMANN | TIMES STAFF WRITE

    Echoing a Probation Department report that called 16-year-old Christy Phillips a monster who needed to be kept from society, a judge sentenced the Rialto teenager Wednesday to two consecutive life sentences for bludgeoning to death an elderly neighbor with an ax and pipe wrench two years ago.

    “It gives me no great pleasure to do what I’m about to do,” Fontana Superior Court Judge James Skropos said just before handing down the life sentence terms. “But for the protection and safety of this community, I have to.”

    Wednesday’s sentence marks the second time this week that San Bernardino prosecutors won a life sentence against a teenage defendant. On Tuesday, a Rancho Cucamonga judge sentenced 17-year-old Paul Yum to 40 years in prison for the 1999 shooting deaths of his mother and sister. At the time of the killing, Yum was 14.

    John Kochis, chief deputy district attorney in San Bernardino, said the shocking crimes of teenagers, and the harsh penalties they bring, are not as rare as people in the community think.

  2. When i read your letter,i can only think of the 100’s and thousands of people falsely imprisoned,only to be let out after 20 or 30 years! Maybe she’s guilty! Are you SURE she’s guilty? THINK about what i wrote!…THINK!
    noticed that your reply was racially charged! You called her a racist.I find it funny that a lot of white ppl would love for us to be racist.hat’s projection,sir! To BE a racist,you must be in a position to oppress! The person that’s being oppressed can call racism!

  3. This is insane. I can`t believe this going on and your story make me see what can bee happening all over america. When i think that this could be happening right now in our country I seriously think we need to make it harder for people to become police so that this kind of stuff will be put off. How can people be so cruel i get that she did something very bad but that doesn’t mean she needs to be tortured.

  4. This is very unfortunate and very true I am a 30 year woman now and was incarcerated at the same time Christy was, there was much abuse that goes on with in those walls causing more damage to the youth whom already have been through tremendous struggles I have my own stories of the abuse I went through on my account as well as witnessing of others something needs to be done ! stay strong Christy

  5. Christy i know your telling the truth cause Rita was horrible I know she did it and not u its cause u told her mom and she was younger but she was way more advanced she use to bully u and make you do what she said why why its not fair ill write you soon

  6. Certainly an injustice, Miss Phillips, it is good you remember, the same story that echos the way it
    happened. Keep writing you are a very good writer and will get better as time moves on. I hope the police find a way to help, some are very dedicated and it is a job. Unfortunately sometimes both police and the people they are working with forget that. You are your best defense knowing what conspired, don't forget. I noticed looking for pen pals, and researching the crime you'er convicted, the story behind it, there are very important people watching and are aware of the situation. They know more than I and must be waiting for their
    influence to kick in or have something else in mind, war is the same. Take care.

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