by Tasha Williams
Before Warden Craig Koenig ordered a 3 a.m. raid on peaceful Black prisoners at Soledad State Prison, there were no active cases of COVID-19 in the entire facility. Koenig has bragged many times about the fact that his prison was coronavirus-free, which is probably part of the reason that he allowed a transfer of new prisoners into the facility on Aug. 6.
The prisoners I’ve spoken to agree that the warden is trying to cover up the fact that he exposed hundreds of Black prisoners, many of whom had no violent reports against them for 15 to 25+ years, to a deadly pandemic that has taken the lives of 807,000 people globally in a matter of eight months.
Positive coronavirus cases have shot up since the July 20 raid at Soledad, and while the ethnicities of the 33 prisoners infected within that prison have not been released, you can rest assured that Koenig’s shot at the most non-violent group in the facility hit its mark dead-on.
A group inside Soledad who want to be known only as PHERM said this about the outbreak in a private message:
“Prison officials had transferred in a prisoner who had just come from a hot spot (COVID-19 outbreak). They placed him in the wing with me WITHOUT quarantining him.”
“I believe they’re attempting to undermine our claims that we (CTF population) were infected on the 20th by introducing these new guys from hyper-endemic areas. In other words, they’re now able to contend it’s not clear when the CTF population was infected.
“I even shared this with Pavone yesterday:
“Prison officials had transferred in a prisoner who had just come from a hot spot (COVID-19 outbreak). They placed him in the wing with me WITHOUT quarantining him. The potential carrier’s name is Kim, CDCR No. BC7147. The floor officer (J. Mendoza) became upset that Kim was not quarantined and had him moved to the quarantine wing (Z-Wing) yesterday. Kim was in X-Wing for about three days.
“Officer Mendoza informed us that Lieutenant J.L. Gonzalez and Captain Metcalfe (supervisors) KNEW Kim was not quarantined but did nothing about it. Mendoza is concerned about informing us of this (Whistleblower’s Act perhaps?).
“TODAY, Officer Misseo informed us Kim did test positive for COVID-19.
“Either this is further evidence of prison officials attempting to purposely infect the population with COVID-19, or an attempt to undermine our claims that the population was purposely infected on July 20th. Yes, Black prisoners (the ones attacked July 20th) did test positive for COVID-19. Wings B, C, D and Z are quarantined right now.
So, exactly how far will Warden Koenig go to cover up his brazen attack on prisoners well-documented as conflict-free, as well as the fact that the subsequent coronavirus outbreak happened the night of July 20, when outside guards were brought in to carry out a brutal assault and eventually attempted murder-by-COVID of 200 Black prisoners who were doing nothing but trying to serve their over-inflated sentences?
Tasha Williams, an activist dedicated to bringing her husband home, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.