Hugo Pinell was assassinated under color of law

“Yogi was able to keep going all the years that he was incarcerated. No matter what he went through, he kept his spirits up. And he kept trying to develop into the New Man, trying to continue to develop and evolve.” – Willie Sundiata Tate, interviewed by The People’s Minister of Information JR Valrey on Aug. 16, 2015. Pictured are the San Quentin 6 at the time of trial: top row, from left, Fleeta Drumgo, Hugo Pinell and Luis Talamantez; bottom row, from left, Johnny Spain, David Johnson and Willie Tate (names courtesy Willie Sundiata Tate)

Hugo Lyon Antonio Pinell, “Yogi Bear”: This is the most recent picture of Yogi taken in the visiting room shortly after he was released to general population at Folsom State Prison. If there is one word that could describe Yogi Bear, it would be LOVE. – Photo and caption courtesy Kiilu Nyasha
Hugo Lyon Antonio Pinell, “Yogi Bear”: This is the most recent picture of Yogi taken in the visiting room shortly after he was released to general population at Folsom State Prison. If there is one word that could describe Yogi Bear, it would be LOVE. – Photo and caption courtesy Kiilu Nyasha

Following is a statement from three of the San Quentin 6 former prisoners who loved Hugo L.A. Pinell, Yogi Bear. Here’s a quote from Mao TseTung (the Red Book) that is perfect for our beloved Warrior: “I hold that it is bad as far as we’re concerned if a person, a political party, an army or a school is not attacked by the enemy, for in that case it would definitely mean that we have sunk to the level of the enemy. It is good if we are attacked by the enemy, since it proves that we have drawn a clear line of demarcation between the enemy and ourselves. It is still better if the enemy attacks us wildly and paints us as utterly evil and without a single virtue; it demonstrates that we have not only drawn a clear line of demarcation between the enemy and ourselves but achieved a great deal in our work.” Kiilu Nyasha, revered Black Panther veteran, nationally known supporter of political prisoners and an especially close friend and comrade to Yogi – she will be making a full statement when the burden of grief lifts a little

by David General Giap Johnson, Luis Bato Talamantez and Willie Sundiata Tate of the San Quentin 6

At Geronimo Day in Oakland on Aug. 21, 2011, are three of the then four surviving members of the San Quentin 6: Willie Sundiata Tate, Luis Bato Talamantez and David General Giap Johnson. The fourth was Hugo Pinell, still in prison, locked in solitary confinement for over four decades. – Photo: Sue Acevedo
At Geronimo Day in Oakland on Aug. 21, 2011, are three of the then four surviving members of the San Quentin 6: Willie Sundiata Tate, Luis Bato Talamantez and David General Giap Johnson. The fourth was Hugo Pinell, still in prison, locked in solitary confinement for over four decades. – Photo: Sue Acevedo

Hugo Pinell was assassinated at New Folsom State Prison on Aug. 12, 2015. This is another example of the racism people of color inside those prisons are confronted with on a daily basis.

Like Comrade George, Hugo has been in the crosshairs of the system for years. His assassination exemplifies how racists working in conjunction with prison authorities commit murderous acts like this. We saw it on the yard at Soledad in 1970 and we see it again on the yard at Folsom in 2015.

His life was a living hell. We witnessed the brutality inflicted on him by prison guards as they made every effort to break him.

His life was a living hell. We witnessed the brutality inflicted on him by prison guards as they made every effort to break him.

On June 9, 2013, many of the most revered freedom fighters in the Bay Area came out for a Rally for Yogi, Hugo Pinell. A few gathered for a group picture. From left are Doug Norberg, Willie Sundiata Tate, Charlie Hinton, Keith Wattley, Manuel La Fontaine, Louis Bato Talamantez, Emory Douglas, Arthur League, Claude Marks and Terry Collins. – Photo: Scott Braley
On June 9, 2013, many of the most revered freedom fighters in the Bay Area came out for a Rally for Yogi, Hugo Pinell. A few gathered for a group picture. From left are Doug Norberg, Willie Sundiata Tate, Charlie Hinton, Keith Wattley, Manuel La Fontaine, Louis Bato Talamantez, Arthur League, Emory Douglas, Claude Marks and Terry Collins. – Photo: Scott Braley

He endured more than 50 years of sensory deprivation. For decades he was denied being able to touch his family or another human being – this as well as surviving attempts on his life. This is cruel and unusual punishment!

Hugo is not the monster that is being portrayed in social media and news media. The CDC (California Department of Corrections) is the real monster.

During the San Quentin 6 trial we really got to know Hugo. He was, as we all were, under a lot of stress. His stress was heavier than mine because he had the additional load of being beaten on regular occasions. We saw the strength of his spirit, and through it all he managed to smile.

At the Rally for Yogi, Willie Sundiata Tate speaks about his comrade, Hugo Pinell, pictured on the flier pinned to his shirt. – Photo: Scott Braley
At the Rally for Yogi, Willie Sundiata Tate speaks about his comrade, Hugo Pinell, pictured on the flier pinned to his shirt. – Photo: Scott Braley

We mourn the loss of our comrade brother, Yogi. We have been hit with a crushing blow that will take some time to recover from.

We must expose those who under the cover of law orchestrated and allowed this murderous act to take place. The prisoners who did it acted as agents of the state.

We must expose those who under the cover of law orchestrated and allowed this murderous act to take place. The prisoners who did it acted as agents of the state.

It comes at a time when prisoners are collectively trying to end decades of internal strife. Those who took his life have done a disservice to our movement; their actions served the cause of the same oppressor we fought against!

No longer do you have to endure the hatred of people who didn’t even know you and never dared to love you, Yogi. You have represented George and Che well, and we salute you!

The San Quentin 6 can be reached at gengiap@yahoo.com.