Rashid: Prison officials plant a street weapon in a vacant cell, then move me into it

Rashids-cousin-Troy-Claiborne-blinded-by-repeated-x-rays-at-Wallens-Ridge-SP-VA-in-early-2023-by-Brittany-Purtee, Rashid: Prison officials plant a street weapon in a vacant cell, then move me into it, Abolition Now! Featured News & Views
Officials at Virginia’s Wallen Ridge State Prison forced Rashid’s younger cousin Troy Claiborne to submit to x-rays of his eyes, repeated more than 30 times over a few days, that burst his blood vessels and blinded him. They taunted him, referring to Rashid’s campaign at that time for radiation treatments to cure his cancer, thus torturing both cousins. Please attach this photo when you participate in the phone and email zap to support Rashid.

by Kevin ‘Rashid’ Johnson 

On the evening of Oct. 18, 2023, I was ordered to pack my belongings to be moved to another cell here at Sussex 1 State Prison. The cell, number 13, in the D-block of 3 Building had been vacant for some six months. During that time, there had been a lot of traffic into the cell by prison officials and civilian workers who had been performing repair work on the cell door for months. The door was also frequently opened, enabling anyone in the cell block to freely enter and exit the cell.

I completed moving my belongings into that cell at about 6 p.m. on that day. 

Once I was done, the control booth guard locked me in the cell and would not allow me to come back out for a usual shower.

After several attempts to have him let me out, I finally lay down to rest, not even having had time to unpack my property. 

I was abruptly awakened at about 3 a.m. on Oct. 19 by a group of guards known as the Strike Force (SF). This is a select group of guards drawn from prisons all over the state who perform riot containment and targeted searches.

I was ordered to submit to a strip search and handcuffs and was made to sit on a stool as the guards, under supervision of the prison’s investigators, went into the cell and proceeded to ransack my belongings. My property was dumped out of the bags I had it packed up in and shuffled into disarray and walked on by the guards.

At the conclusion of the “search,” the guards had the cell door closed and crawled on all fours to look beneath it. They emerged from the cell claiming to have found a folding street knife attached to the underside of the door.

I was placed back into the cell and they all left. About three hours later a different group of Strike Force guards came to the cell and ordered me to submit to handcuffs to be moved to solitary confinement.

At that time and afterward I questioned the obvious foul play behind the claimed discovery of a street knife inside a cell I was just moved into that had been empty for months, and after staff had violated their own rules by not conducting a documented inspection of the cell before moving anyone into it. These inspections are required by staff to ensure the cell is free of contraband and all fixtures are in good working order before a new occupant is placed into it.

After I was moved to solitary, numerous officials admitted this incident was a premeditated set up. That I was moved into a cell that had been vacant for months, only to have it raided hours later by a special task force of guards assembled from numerous other prisons in the early morning. None of these guards wore name tags so their identities could be known. 

I was also told by ranking S1SP officials that the entire ploy was to set me up to create a pretext to have me emergency transferred to notoriously abusive and racist Virginia prisons which I have an extensive record of exposing for racist abuses, in remote Wise County, namely Red Onion or Wallens Ridge State Prisons.

In fact a younger cousin of mine, Troy Claiborne, was transferred to Wallens Ridge from S1SP earlier this year and tortured by officials there to the point he went blind. At Wallens Ridge officials forced him to submit to x-rays some 30 or more times over a few days until his blood vessels burst in his eyes and he went blind. His abusers went further to taunt him with remarks that were obviously directed at me and related to my undergoing a battery of radiation treatments for cancer.

A visitor, Ms. Brittany Purtee, took pictures of his eyes and when she confronted the prison with complaints and evidence of his abuse, she was thereafter banned from future visits with him. (One of the images she took of his damaged eyes during their video visit is attached to this article.)

I am being held once again in solitary confinement without my property – my stationery and legal property in particular – while facing numerous court deadlines in lawsuits that I have pending against prison officials. 

Dare to Struggle Dare to Win!

All Power to the People!

Send our brother some love and light: Kevin Johnson, 1007485, Sussex 1, 24414 Musselwhite Dr., Waverly, VA 23891.

How you can help

We are calling for a sustained phone and email zap on behalf of Comrade Rashid. The list of demands is given below along with the numbers and email addresses of officials to be contacted.

List of demands

1. Release Kevin Rashid Johnson from solitary

2. Return all of his personal property

3. End the targeted harassment and set-ups of him

4. Stop interfering with his litigations and outside communications

5. End the abuses in Virginia prisons, especially Red Onion and Wallens Ridge State Prisons.


Complaints should be made and sent to:

  • Warden Kevin McCoy, Sussex 1 State Prison, Phone 804-834-9967, Email Kevin.McCoy@vadoc.virginia.gov
  • Virginia DOC Director Chadwick S. Dotson, Phone 804-674-3081, Email ChadwickDotson@vadoc.virginia.gov

Corrections, Division of Institutions Beth Cabell, Phone 804-834-9967, Email beth.cabell@vadoc.virginia.gov