Assassination of Hugo Pinell: One guard asked another, ‘Did they get him?’

 by Tyrone White

I’m a 38-year-old native of South Sacramento currently incarcerated in Lancaster, Calif. I would like to expose injustice and further educate you and your readers on the events surrounding the murder of Hugo “Yogi” Pinell.

This KCRA photo, taken at New Folsom after the assassination of Hugo Pinell, ran with this caption in the London Daily Mail: “Officials say that 11 inmates were taken to an outside hospital to be treated for stab wounds.”
This KCRA photo, taken at New Folsom after the assassination of Hugo Pinell, ran with this caption in the London Daily Mail: “Officials say that 11 inmates were taken to an outside hospital to be treated for stab wounds.”

I was housed in CSP (California State Prison) Sacramento from March 2004 until October 2015. On or about July 28, 2015, in CSP Sac B Facility, Black and white inmates were placed on lockdown because of racial tension between the two ethnic groups. While locked down, staff received confidential information via inmate notes or kites sent to staff that Hugo Pinell’s life was in danger and threats were being made on his life by racially motivated inmates.

So staff had prior knowledge that this situation could lead to a very serious incident – or riot – involving Black and white inmates. However, staff made no attempts at stopping what they knew was destined to happen if it was not taken seriously. Hugo Pinell should’ve been removed from general population for his own safety as well as the safety and security of the overall institution.

Staff had prior knowledge that this situation could lead to a very serious incident – or riot – involving Black and white inmates.

On Aug. 12, 2015, Black inmates were forced to defend themselves when we were attacked by racially motivated white inmates. When Black inmates attempted to save the life of Hugo Pinell, we were shot at by correctional officers who seemed to be providing cover for the white inmates who were clearly stabbing Hugo Pinell right in front of them. Correctional officers responding to the incident seemed to be concentrating most of their attention on Black inmates.

Black inmates were being shot at close range in the facial areas and upper torso by correctional officers armed with CDCR state issued 40mm guns. Once the riot was over, correctional officers escorted most inmates back to their cells. I was escorted by Correctional Officer Klink and another unidentified officer. During the escort, Officer Klink asked, “Did they get him?” The other officer responded, “Yeah, I think so.”

At this time, Correctional Officer Klink informed me that he and other correctional officers had made monetary bets on the outcome of the incident – whether Hugo Pinell would be killed or not.

On or about Aug. 16, 2015, I filed a CDCR 602 complaint on the matter – mainly for the comments made by Correctional Officer Klink – requesting an investigation into the matter. On or about Sept. 12, 2015, I submitted a letter to the Internal Affairs requesting an investigation into the matter.

All Black inmates received Rules Violations Reports (CDCR 115s) for “participating in a riot” and we were all found guilty. On or about Sept. 17, 2015, I was asked by Correctional Officer Klink to “drop” the 602 complaint I filed on Aug. 16, which I refused to do.

I was escorted by Correctional Officer Klink and another unidentified officer. During the escort, Officer Klink asked, “Did they get him?” The other officer responded, “Yeah, I think so.”

On or about Oct. 5 through Oct. 8, 2015, all Black and white inmates were transferred out to different prisons across California. This in my opinion was to cover up the setup and murder of Hugo Pinell by CSP Sacramento staff.

I am now located at CSP Los Angeles County in Lancaster, Calif. – over 300 miles from home (Sacramento), away from my family and friends. I have been housed here at CSP LAC since Oct. 8, 2015, and I’m still being punished along with two other inmates involved in the incident.

CSP Sacramento has kept all of my personal property – family photos, letters, legal work, TV etc. – and refuses to send it to my current location. My father passed away in March 2015 and I have photos of my father that are irreplaceable.

I have filed paperwork and have done all that I can to receive my property to no avail. CSP Sac refuses to send any of my property and I don’t know what to do from here.

All Black and white inmates were transferred out to different prisons across California. This in my opinion was to cover up the setup and murder of Hugo Pinell by CSP Sacramento staff.

I am requesting help – legal assistance as well as financial assistance. This is wrong on so many levels and I am pleading for HELP!

My thoughts and prayers go out to Hugo “Yogi” Pinell’s family and loved ones and if there is anything I can do to help them in any way, I’d ask that they please contact me asap. I would also like to thank all of the brothas who helped and attempted to assist Hugo “Yogi” Pinell.

I am requesting help – legal assistance as well as financial assistance. This is wrong on so many levels and I am pleading for HELP!

I would also like to thank Bay View for the platform and mountaintops you give to those of us who struggle to be heard underneath all of this concrete, anger and steel. I also thank all the Bay View fans for your support.

Send our brother some love and light: Tyrone White, V-20031, CSP LAC B4-221, P.O. Box 4490, Lancaster CA 93539.