Indigenous Man In Arizona Imprisoned For Social Media satire.

Enough 14

Page, Arizona – Loren Reed, a 26-year-old Diné (Navajo) man, is set for trial on May 4, 2021 for a trumped-up federal charge of “Threats to Damage and Destroy a Building by Means of Fire” after he engaged in a heated debate over Black Lives Matter protest tactics[1] in a private Facebook chat group created to organize a local police brutality protest. Reed has been held in federal pretrial detention without bail for ten months after a prior high school acquaintance reported him to the police for a different satirical social media post about planning a protest or ‘riot’ at the courthouse that never actually happened. An undercover FBI agent then infiltrated the private chat group, and monitored numerous messages exchanged by Reed and his friends. After this intrusive monitoring of speech, and lacking any real evidence, Reed was quickly and violently arrested in his neighborhood on June, 2, 2020. Nothing incriminating was found during or after the arrest, despite officers thoroughly searching Reed’s home and even his housemates.

“This federal charge is unconstitutional because there was never a legally-justified ‘true threat’ contained in the posts that would remove the broad protections of the First Amendment that apply even to vitriolic or offensive speech,[2]” said CLDC Executive Director Lauren Regan, one of the attorneys assisting Loren Reed on the case. “The supposed “threat” was never communicated to any target or victim, there was no intent to act or any evidence of an intent to act, and there is no lawful basis to federally prosecute someone for speech only – much less an Indigenous organizer confronting racism in a very conservative region of Arizona.”

“Prosecuting someone in these circumstances takes us down the slippery slope of what is protected speech versus what is a ‘true threat’ justifying criminal prosecution. We must hold strong to the outer limits of the First Amendment or we all lose the right to freely speak our minds. Today the criminalized speech may pertain to Black Lives Matter protests, but tomorrow it could be religion, science, or other political beliefs.” Regan said.

Over the course of the next ten months, Reed was held without formal charge for a month in the Coconino County Jail, where he contracted COVID-19 and where his close friend had died the year before after being denied medical care.[3] He was later transferred to a private for-profit  federal detention center in Florence, Arizona, a polluted copper mining town turned prison industrial complex hub. Reed was not indicted with a crime until late September. His trial has now been delayed three times and is currently set for May 4, 2021.

The U.S. Attorney’s office blames the pandemic for the following nine months of additional detention in which Reed was denied a speedy trial –  or even bail –  and in which it filed three separate motions to ‘extend’ his case. However, that has not stopped the government from attempting to bury this miscarriage of justice by informally suggesting an oppressive plea agreement that would result in a felony conviction, and likely probationary sentence.

“For an Indigenous person who faces the reality of institutional racism in his daily life, being threatened with a conviction for a crime he did not commit is a precarious, life-devastating burden,” stated Klee Benally, a longtime Diné (Navajo) sacred lands advocate and organizer from Flagstaff, Arizona. “It is courageous of Loren to refuse to accept this atrocious deal. While it could free him from custody immediately, it would endanger organizers and activists in the future by further criminalizing speech. Loren is taking a powerful stand, and we need to stand right there with him.”

Reed, a rapper who is known as a sensitive yet enthusiastic jokester, adamantly denies that there was any threat implied in his posts. Anyone reading them[4] with an open mind would agree. And yet, the State wants to saddle a young Indigenous man with a felony conviction that will haunt him for the rest of his life.

“This is yet another attempt to control the speech and tone of a person of color amidst a year of heartbreaking – and increasingly fatal – racially-motivated police violence. Appallingly, in this situation the State has chosen to exploit a snitch’s biased complaint to police[5] in order to further perpetuate this cycle of violence,” said Regan.

“We are calling on the federal prosecutor to immediately dismiss the charge in the interests of justice. Mr. Reed has already served over 10 months in pretrial detention for speech that did not actually threaten anyone,” she added.

“As Indigenous justice advocates, we stand with Loren Reed. The criminalization of Loren — and his right to free speech — is an ongoing violation of Indigenous rights and overall justice,” said Morning Star Gali of the Pit River Tribe, a lifelong Indigenous rights advocate with Restoring Justice for Indigenous Peoples who is currently based out of Sacramento, California.

“We also need to talk about the racism at play here,” said CLDC Attorney Sarah Alvarez. “Already, the feds are declining to prosecute, electing to charge petty misdemeanors, and/or negotiating lenient plea deals[6] for the white supremacists that assaulted the U.S. Capitol on January 6. They have also entirely turned a blind eye toward the hundreds of far-right individuals who threatened politicians and police via social media. Meanwhile, an Indigenous man has been sitting in jail without due process for 10 months – all over a tongue-in-cheek social media post where no violence or property damage ever occurred nor was ever intended to occur. It’s difficult to prove this in court, but Mr. Reed’s case is a textbook example of race-based disparate treatment, and it needs to end with an immediate dismissal of the charge against him.”

Reed is scheduled for a jury trial starting May 4 but there’s still time for the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Department of Justice to do the right thing and immediately drop the charge to let him return to his life.

Notes

[1] Defendant Mot. to Dismiss Due to Likely Presentation of Inaccurate, Incomplete or Misleading Information to Grand Jury at 4, US v. Reed, No. CR-20-09098-PCT-SPL (ESW) (Dist. Ct. 9d Cir. Ct. Phoenix Div., Arizona. April 2, 2021).

[2] Defendant Mot. to Dismiss for Inadequate Indictment at 6, US v. Reed, No. CR-20-09098-PCT-SPL (ESW) (Dist. Ct. 9d Cir. Ct. Phoenix Div., Arizona. April 2, 2021)

[3] “Jail footage shows Kyle Martinson yell for help before death,” Arizona Daily Sun, June 17, 2019. https://azdailysun.com/news/jail-footage-shows-kyle-martinson-yell-for-help-before-death/article_ea48524d-8991-50cd-91a9-8f67ae8ec3c8.html

[4] “Indigenous man faces 10 years for Facebook comments,” Al Jazeera, January 19, 2021. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/1/19/holdindigenous-man-faces-10-years-for-facebook-comments-during-b

[5] Defendant Mot. to Dismiss for Selective Enforcement & Selective Prosecution; Mot. for Discovery at 5, US v. Reed, No. CR-20-09098-PCT-SPL (ESW) (Dist. Ct. 9d Cir. Ct. Phoenix Div., Arizona. April 2, 2021)

[6] “Many Capitol rioters unlikely to serve jail time,” Politico. March 30, 2021. https://www.politico.com/news/2021/03/30/jan-6-capitol-riot-jail-time-478440

The Factories, The Fields, and the Firearms to Defend Them

Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee

“The working class is able, once it so desires, to take control of industry and thus establish a much more efficient and satisfactory society .”

(from the pamphlet: “One Big Union,“ by The Industrial Workers of the World)

You, me and our entire class of society’s underprivileged who produces everything with very little or nothing at all to show for it have – once effectively organized – the potential within us to free ourselves from the stresses that come with the struggle for survival of material needs.

While the study below is based on research conducted in 2020, the final analysis will be found to resonate up to the hour the bell of the social revolution is sounded. It’s of the deepest importance for the masses – the have-nots who’ve been no strangers to struggling since we were born – to firmly grasp the magnificence of our Worth, and our potential and power. Our potential for freeing ourselves from being taken advantage of by the government system is overwhelmingly greater than that of the government system taking advantage of us all!

This has been a very fortunate truth for the less-fortunate of the world ever since societies have allowed governments to exist, and our social contract with the State has proven to be nothing less than a taxing, hostile machine worth defying and reducing to irreparable ashes.

The more the righteous seeds of becoming free from social & economic oppression be planted richly in the minds of the poor and oppressed who are governed, the greater the potential becomes to overthrowing the government with overwhelming resistance; especially when the rational alternative of governing ourselves (exercising autonomy) is given the necessary attention it deserves deep in the roots of our ethical nature.

“The working class and the employing class have nothing in common. There can be no peace so long as hunger and want are found among millions of the working people, and the few, who make up the employing class have all the good things in life.”

– From the Preamble to The IWW Constitution.

Read More

Kevan Thakrar moved again.

Kevan Thakrar A4907AE

HMP Full Sutton

Moor Lane

York

YO41 1PS

https://justiceforkevan.org

Solidarity with John Bowden – Long time prison resister and anti-authoritarian. Friday 24th June 2016

Show your support for John Bowden, a vocal writer and critic of the system we all live under, who is in Greenock Sheriff Court in Scotland, on Friday 24th June, after being accused of assault on a prison guard.

Throughout the 1980’s and 90’s, John Bowden was at the forefront of the British prison struggle, leading and being involved in serious acts of resistance against the prison system, and was deeply politicised by the experience. Viewed by most prison staff as a committed and dangerous “trouble-maker”, John was often brutally punished, suffering years of brutality and prolonged solitary confinement. He has been victimised, in one way or another, ever since.

In June of last year, after hearing the evidence of an independent psychologist, the Parole Board decided that after 30 years in prison, John Bowden represented no real risk or danger to the community, and like the two men originally imprisoned with him in 1982, who were released almost 20 years ago, he should now be returned to that community. The Parole Board therefore asked the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) to transfer John to an open prison in preparation for release twelve months later. At the parole hearing itself, a representative of the SPS agreed to comply with the Board’s request. In reality, however, the SPS had absolutely no intention of preparing John Bowden for release, or even allowing him out of maximum security conditions. The orchestration of the prison authorities against him has been considerable, and has included “arbitrary and illogical decisions” and “abuses of power” by those in the prison system and linked to it. John has also been the victim of lies told by a criminal justice system social worker, supposed to be “supervising” him. The same employee of Edinburgh City Council also failed to produce the necessary ‘social worker report’ containing a plan for his post-release supervision.

John has also been moved around prisons constantly in order to destabilise him and make his situation more difficult. This has had the affect of making communication between John and the outside world harder, and prevented him forming friendships inside the prisons, as other prisoners are able to do.

John has written “instead of keeping my head firmly down and conforming unquestioningly, no matter how wrong and unfair my treatment, I had sought to highlight it and place it in the wider political context of prison/state abuse of power”.

After an attack on a fellow prisoner, John stepped in to intervene. A guard then took John to one of the very few places within the prison that aren’t covered by surveillance cameras & started pushing him repeatedly in the chest, then when John eventually pushed his hand away the guard over dramatically threw himself to the floor. Despite sustaining no injuries the guard then took a period of time off work with “stress” from the incident. It was clearly a pre-planned set up to have John charged with assault & therefore moved back out of open prison conditions and away from any chance of preparations for his release. John is therefore pleading not guilty to the charge.

We are a number of prisoner solidarity groups that include Brighton ABC, Manchester ABC, London ABC, Bristol ABC, Empty Cages Collective and Black Pigeons Collective, Switzerland. We support the solidarity action in Greenock near Glasgow, and ask that you take action on the day of the trial or show solidarity in any way that you feel that you can.

What you can do:

Show your support for prisoners’ rights and demand an end to the frame-up of John Bowden and those who refuse to accept the brutality of the screws and their system in the following ways…

a) Come to Glasgow and join the court protest from 9.30am on Friday June 24th at Greenock Sheriff Court (PA15 1TR) where John is on trial. Sleeping spaces available the nights before and after. We will travel together to Greenock – bring banners or posters and a bike if you can, bikes should be available to borrow if you can’t. Lifts may also be available for anyone who can’t cycle.

b) Write to the governor of Whitemoor prison, challenging the politically motivated decision to categorise John as an escape risk the last time John was in an English prison:

Governor Paul Cawkwell
HMP Whitemoor
Longhill Road
March
Cambridgeshire
PE15 0PR

c) write to John to express your solidarity.
ADDRESS: John Bowden – 6729, HMP Edinburgh, 33 Stenhouse Road, Edinburgh, EH11 3LN [address correct as of June 2016]

d) Organise a demo or banner drop outside your local prison or somewhere in your town or city. And take a photo that we can collate and pass on to John Bowden.

Please share this call-out as widely as possible, and if you want to add the name of your group in the call-out please reply to manchester_abc@riseup.net