Eric’s lawyers at Civil Liberties Defense Center have released a major update on his case. Please check it out.
As we prepare for key upcoming court dates for our client Eric King, we wanted to provide some insight on what’s happening and why this case is so important. Due to some restrictions around media and upcoming trials, we can’t say nearly as much about it as we’d like. However, you can educate yourself on its substance by visiting the resource page which includes links to all publicly-available court documents.
Please take a look and share it with your networks. You can also follow Eric’s support crew on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, and consider making a small contribution to support his legal defense fund by donating to CLDC and designate your contribution for “Eric King.”
Background: Eric was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2014 for his actions in solidarity with the Black liberation uprisings in Ferguson, Missouri, and is scheduled to be released in 2023. However, he now faces a new federal criminal charge for allegedly “assaulting” a Bureau of Prisons (BOP) officer in self-defense in 2018, and faces up to 20 more years in prison if convicted.
On Thursday, October 14, CLDC’s legal team will represent Eric at an evidentiary hearing in Colorado Federal Court where the Judge will rule on our Motion to Suppress Evidence regarding Eric’s coerced statements in the aftermath — determining whether the statements were involuntary as a result of torture and abuse he suffered at the hands of BOP Florence guards, among other issues. While we have a steep hill to climb, this evidentiary hearing is a monumental step forward in bringing the truth into the light of day. In addition to his upcoming criminal trial, CLDC is also representing Eric in a civil suit against the BOP relating to this incident and a continuing pattern of abuse within the federal carceral system. In Solidarity, The CLDC Team
We are happy to announce that PRE-SALES for the 2022 Certain Days calendar (our 21st edition) have begun! Order now and calendars will ship soon. In the U.S., order from Burning Books In Canada, order 1-9 copies from Kersplebedeb/Left Wing Books
Order 10 or more copies (and raise funds for your own organizations and projects!) via certaindays.org
Certain Days 2022: Creating a New World in the Shell of the Old The Certain Days: Freedom for Political Prisoners Calendar is a joint fundraising and educational project between outside organizers in Montreal, Hamilton, New York and Baltimore, with two political prisoners being held in maximum-security prisons: David Gilbert in New York and Xinachtli (s/n Alvaro Luna Hernandez) in Texas. Founding members Herman Bell and Robert Seth Hayes (RIP) were happily welcomed home from prison in 2018. Learn more about them at certaindays.org.
Your group can buy 10 or more for the rate of $10 each and sell them for $15, keeping the difference for your organization. Many campaigns, infoshops and projects do this as a way of raising funds and spreading awareness about political prisoners. Use the discount code “BULK” to get 10 or more calendars for $10 each. In Canada, you can order at our bulk rates at certaindays.org.
This year’s theme is “Creating a New World in the Shell of the Old” and features art and writings by Alanna Kibbe, Comrade Z, David Gilbert, Daniel McGowan, Support Eric King, Hanif Bey, Jesus Barraza, Leila Abdelrazaq, Martha Hennessy, Montclair Mutual Aid, Oso Blanco, Pete Railand, Roger Peet, Shukri Abu-Baker, Tauno Biltsted, Wendy Elisheva Somerson, Windigo Army, Virginia Lee, Xinachtli and Xue.
Your favorite intercontinental, inside/outside collective has produced our SECOND calendar during the COVID-19 pandemic and despite major obstacles, we think you will love it.
Proceeds from the Certain Days 2021 calendar were divided amongst Addameer Prisoner Support & Human Rights Association (Palestine), Release Aging People in Prison – RAPP, Barton Prisoner Solidarity Project, Tucson Anti-Repression Crew, Austin ABC, Prison Health News, Solidarité sans frontière/Solidarity across border/Solidaridad sin frontera, Buffalo Books Through Bars and Mongoose Distro! Proceeds from the 2022 calendar will go to some of the same grassroots groups and more.
Don’t forget – if you buy 10 or more, be sure to use the discount code “BULK” to get 10 or more calendars for $10 each.
NYC ABC, along with several other individuals and prisoner support crews, now send hard copies to all political prisoners and prisoners of war we support.
If you consistently mail the latest updates to a specific prisoner, please let us know so we can insure there’s no overlap. The goal is to have copies sent to all of the prisoners we list.
We’ve also been told that some prisoners are not receiving the copies sent in, yet we aren’t getting rejection notices. If you are in steady contact with a prisoner, please ask them whether or not they are receiving the updates and let us know.
Pushing Down The Walls. Saturday, Nov 20th 2021 Jurupa Valley Lions Club, 5981 Limonite Avenue, Riverside Ca 92509 Doors open at 10AM. A burpee marathon fundraiser for Political Prisoners. All entry donations will benefit the ABCF Warchest.
How does PDTW work? Show up. Give whatever donation you like and then do as many burpees as you can. Or…
Your friends and family pledge to give $1 per burpee. However much you fundraise is how many burpees you throw down on Nov 20th.
Don’t feel like doing burpees? Pledge to do however many reps of whatever you prefer. There will definitely be food, vendors and music for everyone to enjoy.
WHAT: Political Prisoner Letter-Writing WHEN: 7pm sharp, Tuesday, October 5th, 2021 WHERE: The Base – 1302 Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn, New York 11221 (directions below) NOTE: The Base is on the ground floor, is wheelchair accessible, and has a gender neutral toilet. COST: Free
Aaaaaand…WE. ARE. BACK. After over 18 months of virtual events in support of political prisoners and prisoners of war, NYC ABC and Page One Collective are heading back to The Base, back to in-person events, and back to serving up some hot information on the folks we support. Speaking of hot, the world is on fire–figuratively and literally, largely the result of actions taken by greedy humans in pursuit of capital expansion and exploiting everything possible in the process. So it’s fitting that in our return to political prisoner letter-writing events, we focus on Jessica Reznicek, currently serving an eight year federal prison sentence for eco-defense.
Jessica Reznicek is a 40 year old land and water defender who has worked with and lived in the Des Moines Catholic Worker Community for the last 10 years. Jessica grew up in a small town in rural Iowa.
In 2016, Jessica took a stand against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline in Iowa. Jessica attended public comment hearings, gathered signatures for valid requests for Environmental Impact Statements, and participated in civil disobedience, hunger strikes, marches & rallies, boycotts & encampments.
When the process failed, she concluded the system was broken, and it was up to individuals to take action and protect the water. She and a fellow Catholic Worker then spent the next couple months disabling construction machinery along the pipeline route.
In early 2021, Jessica pleaded guilty to one count of Conspiracy to Damage an Energy Facility and on June 30 was designated a domestic terrorist by the court and sentenced to 8 years in prison, followed by 3 years supervised probation, and a restitution of $3,198,512.70 paid to Energy Transfer LLC.
The deal, as always, is that you come bringing only yourself (and your friends and comrades), and we provide you with information about the prisoners as well as all of the letter-writing materials and prisoner-letter-writing info you could ever want to use in one evening. In return, you write a thoughtful letter to a political prisoner or prisoner of war of your choosing or, better yet, keep up a long-term correspondence. We’ll also provide some brief updates and pass around birthday cards for the PP/POWs whose birthdays fall in the next two weeks thanks to the PP/POW Birthday Calendar.
Directions: Getting to The Base is simple: From the M Train: Central Avenue Stop: Walk east on Myrtle Avenue (away from Hart Street, toward Cedar Street). We’re about two blocks down on the south side of the street.
Knickerbocker Avenue Stop: Walk west on Myrtle Avenue (away from Harman Street, toward Himrod Street). We’re about three blocks down on the south side of the street.
From the L Train: DeKalb Avenue Stop: Walk south on Stockholm Street (away from Wyckoff Avenue, toward Irving Avenue). We’re about four blocks down, at the intersection of Stockholm Street and Myrtle Avenue.
From the J Train: Myrtle Avenue Stop: Transfer to the M train and follow the above directions.
Friends at Radix Media in Brooklyn, NY have created an amazing poster with a piece of Eric King’s poetry! It is a fundraiser and proceeds will go to Eric’s support fund. You can order at the link below. with some details about the poster.
On August 09, 2014, a 28-year-old white Ferguson Police officer named Darren Wilson shot and murdered Michael Brown, a young 18-year-old unarmed Black man. Spurred by this event and the continued, relentless cases of police officers across America shooting at unarmed Black people, a wave of protests erupted all over the country, most notably in the city of Ferguson. Protestors held their hands in the air and cried “Don’t Shoot,” to protest the heavy militarization of American police and their use of excessive force in interactions with Black people.
A month later, angered by the inaction and police brutality during the protests, vegan poet and anarchist Eric King flung two incendiary devices into a Kansas City Congressperson’s office, both of which failed to ignite. King was arrested and sentenced to ten years, a statutory minimum and maximum sentence. Despite encountering police harassment, targeting, and extreme isolation from loved ones while incarcerated, King continues to write and champion for racial and social justice.
To support Eric King, we are releasing a limited edition of 35 posters carrying one of his revolutionary poems. All profits generated from the sale of the poster will be sent to Eric’s’s support fund. You can support the campaign fighting for his release by visiting Supportericking.org.
The print is approximately 12.5″ x 20″ and was letterpress printed in multiple passes on our vintage Vandercook proofing press.
SAVE THE DATE: Evidentiary hearing in Eric King’s criminal case October 14, 2021 9:30am Courtroom A801 Alfred A. Arraj United States Courthouse 901 19th St, Denver, CO 80294. Wear court clothes and bring identification. PLEASE SHARE.
In 2014, anti-fascist activist Eric King was sentenced to 10 years in prison for throwing Molotov cocktails at a politician’s empty office in solidarity with the Black liberation uprisings in Ferguson, Missouri. Now, after years behind bars, King and his lawyers say that he was assaulted and tortured by prison guards—and that the Bureau of Prisons destroyed video evidence.
According to new motions to dismiss filed by the Civil Liberties Defense Center (CLDC), a legal nonprofit, BOP prison staff attacked King after leading him into a small, off-camera storage closet, then deleted video evidence, and may have misrepresented facts about the incident to the FBI. King’s attorneys also claim officers tied him to a four-point restraint device for approximately five hours, and then proceeded to interrogate him despite his asserting his constitutional right to counsel. King admitted to defending himself against Wilcox during the interrogation.
The case raises larger questions about the extent to which surveillance footage behind bars is manipulated, destroyed, or circumvented at the expense of incarcerated defendants. “All of these surveillance devices are controlled by those who it would also potentially expose,” Bianca Tylek of Worth Rises, an advocacy organization working to dismantle the prison industry, told Motherboard.
King was originally set to be released in 2023, but now faces additional charges accusing him of assaulting a federal officer, which could tack on 20 years to his initial 10-year sentence. Up until the incident, which documents say occurred on August 17, 2018, King was a yoga instructor at the prison and had managed to keep a relatively clean record.
He was a week away from being sent to a low-security facility. He hadn’t had a single shot. He had exemplary conduct. He had a good job,” Lauren Regan, King’s lead attorney, told Motherboard. “He was seeing his family every week. In terms of doing your time, he was in a really good place at the time that this occurred.” But now, Regan said, she has never had a client where she “feared so deeply just for their very survival.”
King has been held in solitary confinement for about three years, without access to snail mail or phone calls outside of communications with his immediate family and attorneys. And, according to a lawsuit filed by the CLDC on his behalf, the BOP has colluded with white supremacists by staging assaults and bunking him with members of white supremacist gangs.
The switch flipped after King sent an email to his wife wherein he made light of an unrelated assault on a prison guard. Afterwards, Lieutenant Donald Wilcox and Officer Jefferey Kammrad took him into a crowded, 8.5 by 11 foot room full of cleaning supplies—to “interview” him about the email, they claimed. After Wilcox asked Kammrad to leave the closet, according to the lawsuit, Wilcox cursed at King, threatened him, called him a terrorist, and punched him in the face twice. King claims he hit Wilcox back in self-defense, while Wilcox told the FBI King struck him first without any provocation.
Two days after the alleged assault, King’s attorney at the time submitted a request to preserve evidence of all video footage taken before and after the incident. However, an FBI memorandum recently uncovered by King’s attorneys revealed that the BOP destroyed footage of King shortly after the assault because “King was being complaint [sic] at the time.”
The discovery process also revealed one lieutenant and one nurse appear to have misrepresented facts to the FBI by claiming they did not interact with King while he was in four-point restraints. Their own paperwork contradicts their statements, according to evidence presented in the new filings.
While reviewing footage of King in four-point restraints, King’s attorneys noticed that the video was edited. “When we started forcing the U.S. Attorney’s Office to turn over [the] video, we were able to ascertain that there were cuts where the video clearly stopped and then started up,” Regan said. “For instance, at one point, he has a certain type of clothing on and the next frame, they’ve cut that clothing off of him, and now he’s in nothing but boxers. And there was no acknowledgement that the cameras were started and stopped.” At least two hours of footage of King in four-point restraints is missing.
One guard suffocated King while he was in the four-point restraint by putting his hands over King’s mouth, according to King’s civil suit. Then multiple guards allegedly taunted, insulted him, and threatened to have him raped by other incarcerated people, calling it “street justice” and “what he deserved.” None of this was documented on camera.
The Bureau of Prisons acknowledged Motherboard’s request for comment, but stated the agency does not comment on pending litigation. The Offices of the United States Attorneys and the government’s attorney, Aaron Teitelbaum, did not respond to Motherboard’s request by the time of publication. In court filings, the U.S. government admitted that it destroyed footage but said it did so within the bounds of its existing video retention policy and asked a judge to not move forward with an evidentiary hearing. “The unpreserved video of defendant behaving in a compliant manner between the entrance to the SHU and his holding cell was not relevant to this case, let alone exculpatory,” a U.S. attorney wrote.
On Tuesday, Judge William J. Martinez ordered an evidentiary hearing in response to factual disputes surrounding King’s interrogation and possible Fifth Amendment violations, delaying a trial which was originally scheduled for October 12. If King’s motions to dismiss are denied, a trial is likely to be scheduled for late October or November, where a jury will be asked to weigh the evidence. But people who are already convicted of crimes face a steep disadvantage in court, Regan said. “It’s so hard to convince jurors that people with felony convictions deserve to be believed,” she told Motherboard, “especially when you’ve got a shiny badge and this Lieutenant saying that he’s worked for the Bureau of Prisons for 20 years, you know, and this is just a terrorist…I mean, it’s just such an uphill battle.”
Since King’s character is at the heart of the case, any evidence showing King to be compliant or non-combative before, during, or shortly after the incident inside of the storage closet could be considered “exculpatory evidence”—legalese for evidence that may prove a defendant’s innocence.
“If Mr. King is fighting, resisting or otherwise out of control on the video, a jury might infer he was aggressive and may have instigated violence against Wilcox in the closet,” Regan argued in a motion to dismiss. “[B]ut on the other hand if King is compliant and not resisting in the immediate aftermath, a jury may infer that he merely defended himself in response to an assault by staff. The video is key to establishing this question before the jury.” The video could have also been used to impeach a government witness, Regan argued, since some guards claimed King was acting aggressively and resisting.
Teitelbaum argued that King’s attorneys overstated the seriousness of the alleged government misconduct and contended that the conditions of confinement should be excluded during trial. The off-camera alleged assault, Teitelbaum argued, is the only relevant part of the case. “Even assuming that such video is indeed missing, defendant fails to explain how additional video of him lying on a cot in restraints without causing a disturbance (beyond the hours of video already provided) is relevant at all, let alone exculpatory,” U.S. Attorneys wrote in response to defendant’s motion to dismiss. “This case is not about the defendant’s behavior hours after the charged assault occurred.”
U.S. prisons are some of the most heavily surveilled places on Earth. But guards can often find a discreet place where no one is watching. And the public and defense attorneys often can’t access existing footage that may be incriminating for a department.
For this reason, misconduct captured on surveillance cameras isn’t necessarily going to benefit an incarcerated survivor of abuse, Tylek explained. “The issue is very similar to body cameras for police officers. Body cameras aren’t saving people,” she said. “In prisons, it’s just even worse, because there’s so little oversight. It’s almost as if people who are incarcerated don’t deserve to have their civil rights protected. COs and correctional administrators can get away with even more.”
In 2020, the Massachusetts Department of Corrections immediately released footage showing several incarcerated people punching prison guards at Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center. In the weeks that followed, more than 40 people reported being assaulted by guards while locked in their cells. Some were allegedly punched, kicked, slammed into walls, starved, tased, shot with mace guns, or bitten by dogs. Meanwhile, according to an investigation by the Boston Globe’s Spotlight Team, the DOC’s lawyers have sought gag orders to prevent defense attorneys from sharing evidence of abuse with the public.
“That level of citizen accountability, especially when it comes to police misconduct, does not exist in the prison system. There are no cell phones that incarcerated people have, there are no cameras that they get to control,” said Regan. “The BOP employees know where the cameras are and are not. So when they are committing acts of misconduct they know better than many how to get away with it.”
Give some of these cards for #indigenouspeoplesday designed by #indigenousartist & #politicalprisoner #osoblanco , benefiting the @childrensartproject in the #zapatistas of #chiapas #chiapasmexico #nativeamericanart #indianart #prisonerart