The 'Friends of Marcia Powell' are autonomous groups and individuals engaging in prisoner outreach, informal advocacy, and organized protest and direct actions in a sustained campaign to: promote prisoner rights and welfare in America; engage the Arizona public in a creative and thoughtful critique of our system of "justice;” deconstruct the prison industrial complex; and dismantle this racist, classist patriarchy...

Retiring "Free Marcia Powell"

As of December 2, 2010 (with occasional exceptions) I'm retiring this blog to direct more of my time and energy into prisoner rights and my other blogs; I just can't do anyone justice when spread so thin. I'll keep the site open so folks can search the archives and use the links, but won't be updating it with new posts. If you're looking for the latest, try Arizona Prison Watch. Most of the pieces posted here were cross-posted to one or both of those sites already.

Thanks for visiting. Peace out - Peg.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Arpaio's cowardly deputies brutalize prisoners.

Look close - the guy in the MCSO uniform brutalizing the prisoner is really a criminal. The only real shocker here is that other cops actually reported these two thugs (what big brave men to beat up mentally impaired people in chains), and they've both been charged with assault.
One is even in jail (the other, for now, gets "paid administrative leave"). I think stepping on a handcuffed person's neck constitutes assault with intent to murder, frankly. It's certainly a reckless disregard for human life.

I suspect the criminal charges are to make the good Sheriff look like these goons are an exception to an otherwise professionally run outfit that never violates people's rights - and to distance him from liability in the civil suit sure to follow. Of course, if he had charged and arrested Gerster - or even fired him - when he broke the first prisoner's jaw (in June), this poor kid could have been spared the trauma of his abuse.

Unfortunately, according to the Arizona Constitution, the victim here doesn't even have the rights of other victims because he's "in custody for an offense" (check it out yourselves). Likewise, if he was killed in this assault, his family wouldn't have the legal standing of other murder victims' family members, either. It's no wonder cops here feel so free to violate their prisoners. That means we become less than human once we get arrested - even if the cop with his hands on us is the real criminal.

Think about that.

Shame on all the legislators, the state's prosecutors, and the victims' rights groups that endorsed that provision. I think that law encourages this kind of behavior, and the state of Arizona should be sued by every victim of this kind of violence for not extending equal protection to all of us regardless of whether or not the state has us in custody when we're beaten or killed by its agents.

Imagine how many others the MCSO has brutalized in Sheriff Joe's jail that no one ever hears about - especially when it comes to the mentally disabled. By the time they get back into court (after nine months of being berated, beaten and "restored to competency") they plead guilty to whatever they've been charged with just to escape the kind of mental health "care" - even if it means years in prison for something they didn't do or weren't competent enough to be culpable. I see it happen far too often
. That's coercive plea bargaining and the ultimate subversion of justice.

More another time - I'm too disgusted and enraged. From the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office to the Phoenix PD to the AZ Department of Corrections, there are way too many violent criminals with badges and guns and keys. I hope our new county prosecutor and state Attorney General have the ethical foundation and guts to nail them all.

I guess we'll see.

I don't buy the Sheriff's distancing act, here. Not only is this not a "rare occurrence";
this kind of sickness spreads from the top down.

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