by Dustin McDaniel, Abolitionist Law Center

Dear Rashid supporters:

Rashid drew this self portrait in 2013.

Rashid wasn’t transferred out of state; instead, he was transferred to Sussex II, another Virginia prison. He has been put under extraordinarily bad conditions, and we need everyone who can to start calling into that prison to make demands on his behalf.

The focus should be on his medical emergency, described below. He needs to be taken to medical to have his blood pressure checked and in order for any adjustments to be made to his medications.

The Warden at Sussex II is Beth Cabell. The phone number is 804-834-2678. Please call and if you can’t get Cabell on the phone, ask to speak with her assistant or with Assistant Warden Darden.

We’ll also need someone to put together an action alert to be disseminated more broadly to apply pressure on VADOC throughout the next week or two.

Rashid was able to get a legal call to me this morning. This is what he reports:

On arriving at Sussex II, he was greeted with attack dogs lunging at him while he was fully chained up. He is being served meals on a rubber mat, without utensils and with no cups, so he is being made to eat with his hands. He was placed in a filthy cell that has blood in the toilet. There is no toilet paper or other hygiene products for him to clean himself with. He is currently refusing meals because he is being presented with the choice of eating like an animal in filthy conditions where he cannot clean himself.

We need everyone who can to start calling into that prison to make demands on his behalf. The focus should be on his medical emergency. The Warden at Sussex II is Beth Cabell. The phone number is 804-834-2678. Please call and if you can’t get Cabell on the phone, ask to speak with her assistant or with Assistant Warden Darden.

He is in his cell 24 hours per day. He is being refused any recreational time. He has a guard standing sentry in front of his cell door 24 hours a day. All staff have been instructed not to speak to him and, with the exception of brief conversations with the warden and a nurse, they are following through on that.

Rashid’s magnificent drawing and writing inspires us to honor and protect leaders of the movement. This was drawn over a decade ago. Now Rashid himself is among our most effective leaders, and we must protect him! It appears that the rage by prisoncrats against the National Prison Strike is being taken out on him. – Art: Kevin “Rashid” Johnson, 1007485, Sussex II SP, 24427 Musselwhite Drive, Waverly, VA 23891.

About two or three cells on either side of his cell are being kept empty so he can’t communicate with other prisoners. They placed a sandbag in front of his cell door so he can’t send kites. He has not been let out of his cell since arriving yesterday. When he eventually does leave his cell, he will be required to have a four-guard escort along with a supervisor.

He was not given his blood pressure medications last night. He began having a headache at that time and repeatedly asked a Sgt. Morse for medical assistance. When he woke up around 4:30 a.m. he had a severe nose bleed, and again repeatedly requested medical attention from the guard posted in front of his cell. He was ignored. When he requested forms to file an emergency grievance he was told that he was not allowed to have the forms, and that he was not allowed to have ink pens to write with.

A nurse Burgess came by his cell on rounds at about 5:30 a.m. and gave him his first dose of medication. She said that with his symptoms and diagnosis he should be sent to medical for evaluation, but the guards refused to allow it. She went back to talk to her supervisor and was told that security would have to arrange to move him. Security never made those arrangements, and so Rashid is stuck in his cell without anyone monitoring his blood pressure or adjusting his medications while he’s having a high blood pressure episode that could lead to a stroke.

He has been presented with no disciplinary reports since being placed back in the Virginia Department of Corrections. He suspects that, while at Sussex I, VADOC (Virginia Department of Corrections) security personnel arranged for him to be put in a holding area with a prisoner with a psychiatric disability who was setup to tell lies about Rashid regarding gangs and a plan to hurt a guard. This happened just before he was told about an impending hearing for an interstate transfer.

Rashid is stuck in his cell without anyone monitoring his blood pressure or adjusting his medications while he’s having a high blood pressure episode that could lead to a stroke.

He also says that he’d sent four articles for publication, which have never arrived and would have included writings about the use of dogs to abuse Virginia prisoners, an article about the abuse of prisoners named Nico William and Vernon Belcher (sic?), and an article about Party issues.

Dustin McDaniel is the executive director of ALC, a licensed attorney in Pennsylvania and a 2012 graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. He can be reached at exec@alcenter.org.

2 COMMENTS

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