The RIBPP & PSO’s Statement on Comrade Kevin ‘Rashid’ Johnson

Rashid has just been transferred to the notorious Ohio prison known as Lucasville. The Lucasville Rebellion of 1993, the longest prison “riot” in history, lasting 11 days, has made the name Lucasville a fearsome threat to prisoners everywhere. For daring to rise up in what they called “convict unity,” many of those involved are still in prison after 28 years, and five were arbitrarily blamed for the loss of life and sent to death row with no evidence that they had committed capital crimes.

UPDATE from Rashid’s partner, Comrade Shupavu Wa Kirima:

Just got word again that they’ve moved Rashid to the area where the Aryans are. They have threatened him and said explicitly what they intend on doing. Sgt. Joshua McAllister told Rashid exactly: “I’m an old school dirty cop. I’ve been doing this since I was a teenager. We know how to set it up and make it look justified. You must not know about us. We are worse than the Klan … We have a unit called J-1 where we execute inmates. We starve ‘em. We hang ‘em.”

PLEASE KEEP CALLING! WE NEED TO INCREASE THE PRESSURE. I’LL BE CALLING LOCAL MEDIA CONTACTS AS WELL. IF ANYONE HAS ANY MEDIA CONTACTS, PLEASE CONTACT ME IMMEDIATELY. 

– Comrade Shupavu Wa Kirima at general.secretary@ribpp.org

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All Power to the People!

Kevin “Rashid” Johnson is a political theorist, artist and advocate for prisoners’ rights who has spent almost his entire adult life incarcerated in various U.S. prisons. A founder of the Revolutionary Intercommunal Black Panther Party (and, before that, of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party-Prison Chapter) and of the Panther Solidarity Organization (PSO), Rashid’s writings and litigation have made him the target of continual and ongoing repression from prison authorities.

Rashid, as he is known to friends and supporters, was recently transferred to Ohio from the Indiana Department of Corrections (IDOC). This is just the latest in a series of transfers between multiple correctional facilities and state jurisdictions, all made possible by the Interstate Compact Transfer Agreement. As such, although originally a prisoner of the Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC), Rashid has been sent to Oregon, Texas, Florida and Indiana prior to his current captivity in Ohio.

This photo of a smiling Rashid was taken just before he was abruptly moved from Indiana to Ohio. It is our first glimpse of the real Rashid since we first “met” him in 2011, when he drew the logo that symbolized the mass California Hunger Strikes of 2011-2013. His logo persuaded 30,000 prisoners to join the strikes. The only portraits of Rashid we were allowed to see were those he drew himself. 

This most recent transfer was initiated in an attempt to obstruct litigation Rashid is currently pressing against IDOC for its use of solitary confinement and treatment of prisoners while in solitary confinement. Rashid was told by IDOC officials a week prior to his transfer that if he persisted and did not drop the cases, he would be transferred to someplace where he “would not like the conditions.” 

This retaliatory transfer has made it impossible for Rashid to access legal property and materials needed to meet court deadlines, answer motions and respond to the court. Prior to this transfer, Rashid warned IDOC that he would be seeking citations of contempt in regard to IDOC’s attempt at entering false evidence and concealing other evidentiary material in one of Rashid’s pending cases. (IDOC has been sanctioned previously for submitting false evidence and concealing evidence in Indiana’s Southern District U.S. Federal Court and settled for over $100,000; see Littler v. Martinez.)

An example of the depravity and cruelty of the U.S. prison system and of many of those who work within it, prisons frequently move incarcerated people out of public view, torturing, disappearing and killing them without any visibility or accountability for their actions.

Rashid is being denied access to the phone, legal property and to commissary, where he would be able to purchase stationery to continue his litigation against the IDOC. It is clear and apparent at this point that the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections (ODRC) is colluding with IDOC in their attempt to deny Rashid his right to pursue these cases.

Rashid is currently being held at the notorious Southern Ohio Correctional Facility (SOCF) in Lucasville, where, in April of 1993, nine prisoners were killed in an 11-day standoff with prison staff. The legacy of racist, fascist brutality continues to thrive at SOCF. Mr. Johnson has been moved to the area of the prison where various white supremacist gangs are most concentrated.

Read this seminal account of the Lucasville Rebellion, written by Staughton Lynd, lion of the Left, an attorney with his wife Alice for the defendants. He also wrote a powerful play about the rebellion.

It was there on Monday, Aug. 2, 2021, that according to Rashid, Sgt. Joshua McAllister threatened him with the following statements:

“I’m an old school dirty cop. I’ve been doing this since I was a teenager. We know how to set it up and make it look justified. You must not know about us. We are worse than the Klan … We have a unit where we execute inmates. We starve ‘em. We hang ‘em.”

That a prison official would be so bold in 2021, just one year after the Rebellion of Summer 2020, as to issue such threats to a Black prisoner, given the current climate around race relations and law enforcement, will not be tolerated. This needs to be understood. 

The capitalist imperialist oppressors continue to try to silence Rashid through intimidation, torture, beatings, threats and outright attempted murder.

This is an example of the depravity and cruelty of the U.S. prison system and of many of those who work within it. Prisons frequently move incarcerated people out of public view, torturing, disappearing and killing them without any visibility or accountability for their actions.

Rashid is a long-time political leader, writer, artist, activist and organizer. He is being targeted because of his political beliefs, his many published pieces documenting prison abuse and torture, and efforts at organizing for better conditions. Rashid, completely self-taught in the fields of law and political theory and practice, has become well known both nationally and internationally as someone who is always willing to put himself on the line on behalf of his fellow incarcerated comrades and marginalized and oppressed people everywhere. It is for this reason that the ODRC, IDOC, and VADOC, in conjunction with other state/federal agencies, continue to try to silence Rashid through intimidation, torture, beatings, threats and outright attempted murder.

WE WILL NOT STAND FOR IT! AND WE PETITION EVERYONE WHO SEES THIS STATEMENT TO JOIN WITH US IN SOLIDARITY AND DEFENSE OF THIS COURAGEOUS FREEDOM FIGHTER!

WE, THE UNDERSIGNED*, DEMAND THE FOLLOWING:

AN END TO THE 30-DAY RESTRICTION FROM COMMUNICATING VIA PHONE OR EMAIL.

AN END TO THE 30-DAY RESTRICTION FROM COMMISSARY THAT PREVENTS RASHID FROM ORDERING STATIONERY WITH WHICH TO WRITE.

THE IMMEDIATE RETURN OF ALL OF HIS PROPERTY, INCLUDING THE $400 THAT WAS ON HIS TRUST ACCOUNT AT WABASH VALLEY CORRECTIONAL FACILITY AND HIS LEGAL PROPERTY, WHICH WILL ENABLE HIM TO CONTINUE WITH HIS CASES AGAINST THE INDIANA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS. IF HIS PROPERTY HAS ALREADY BEEN SENT, WE WANT TO KNOW ON WHAT DATE IT WAS SHIPPED AND WHAT FACILITY RECEIVED IT.

WE DEMAND THAT SGT. JOSHUA MCALLISTER FACE IMMEDIATE CONSEQUENCES FOR THE DISGUSTINGLY RACIST THREATS, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO HIS REMOVAL FROM HIS POST AT SOCF!

LASTLY, WE DEMAND AN IMMEDIATE INVESTIGATION AND INQUIRY INTO THE SUPPOSED J-1 UNIT AND ALL PARTIES INVOLVED.

 DARE TO STRUGGLE, DARE TO WIN!

 ALL POWER TO THE PEOPLE!

Notes and citations

Littler v. Martinez

  1. https://casetext.com/case/littler-v-martinez-2
  2. https://rashidmod.com/?p=2887 “Torment in Indiana prisons: The abuse, the lawsuit, the death of Phillip Littler,” published Nov. 23, 2020

*Organizations endorsing this statement: Revolutionary Intercommunal Black Panther Party (RIBPP), Panther Solidarity Organization (PSO)-Newark, PSO-Ridgewood, PSO-Boston, PSO-Richmond, PSO-Kansas City, Third World Peoples’ Alliance (TWPA), Kersplebedeb Publishing, Newark Water Coalition, Ridgewood for Black Liberation, Tennessee Valley Mutual Aid, For the People (FTP)-STL, FTP-Chicago, FTP-Bloomington, FTP-Cleveland, FTP-Wichita, FTP-OK, Oklahoma People’s Party, Autonomous Brown Berets of Oklahoma, Young EcoSocialists-New Jersey, Party For Communism and Revolution, Serve The People (STP)-Akron, IDOC Watch, Roanoke Jail Solidarity, Princeton Mutual Aid, San Francisco Bay View

What we can do to help

Let’s keep the pressure up! The weekend is still a great time to leave voice messages and send emails, and we’ll continue through the coming week until the demands are met! The following script can be modified so long as we are not adding or taking away from the basic demands.

Phone & email zap script for Comrade Rashid – do this every day beginning Aug. 6, 2021

“Hi, I am calling to voice concern over the situation with Kevin ‘Rashid’ Johnson. It has come to my attention that Sgt. Joshua McAllister has made multiple racist threats , leveled multiple charges without due process on Mr. Johnson that have resulted in phone and commissary restrictions, and has told Mr. Johnson, very specifically, that he will NOT be getting ANY of his property back. 

“We understand that contrary to the form letter type responses that you all are sending out via email to our inquiries, Rashid did NOT sign for any property on July 29, 2021. In fact, the few hygiene items, paper and pencil that he was given at the CRC were taken from him upon his arrival at SOCF. 

“Mr. Johnson is currently a litigant in two cases that are being heard in Indiana’s Southern District United States Federal Court against the Indiana Department of Corrections (IDOC). Obstruction of his ability to respond to that court including concealment and/or destruction of his legal property, work product or any evidentiary material is a serious matter and could be considered a federal offense. It is now apparent to us that the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections (ODRC) is aiding the IDOC in the effort to suppress Mr. Johnson and keep him from responding. 

“This will not go away. We will NOT stop calling or emailing until Mr. Johnson has his property back in his possession and we have heard from him directly that this matter is resolved. Thank you for your time.”

Phone or email the following officials:

1) Annete Chambers-Smith, Director, Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections

2) Ronald Erdos, Warden, Southern Ohio Correctional Facility (Lucasville): Phone 740-259-5544

3) Ohio Correctional Institution Inspection Committee website contact form: https://www.ciic.state.oh.us/contact/contact-form

4) Joseph Walters, Deputy Director, Virginia Department of Corrections: 804-887-7982, jostph.walters@vadoc.virginia.gov (proxy for Harold W. Clarke, Director, Virginia Department of Corrections)

5) James Park, Interstate Compact Administrator: 804-887-7991, james.parks@vadoc.virginia.gov

6) Charlene Burkett, Director, Indiana DOC Ombudsman Bureau: 317-234-3190, ombud@idoa.in.gov

7) Richard Brown, Warden, Wabash Valley Correctional Facility, Indiana: 812-398-5050

Contact Virginia DOC authorities because VA prisoners transferred on interstate compacts are supposed to have all the rights of VA prisoners. Rashid was originally incarcerated in VA before transfers to Oregon, Texas, Florida, Indiana and now Ohio.

For further inquiries on how to assist in this cause, please contact Comrade Shupavu Wa Kirima at general.secretary@ribpp.org.