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Aug 4, 17

Phone Zap: Stop the Harassment of Whistleblowers Following Murder of Black Gay Prisoner in Michigan Prison

On July 20, Rodriguez Montes Burks, a 23-year-old gay Black man, was murdered by his cellmate after both reportedly requested to be separated. Two people in neighboring cells bravely spoke out to Detroit Metro Times about the staff negligence surrounding Rodriguez’s tragic death.

At least one of the whistleblowers, Todd Wentworth, is being verbally harassed by guards for what he said to the press about MDOC’s vicious negligence in allowing Rodriguez to be murdered.

Please call the warden of Alger Correctional Facility and the Director of the Michigan Department of Corrections to demand an end to retaliatory harassment against the whistleblowers. MDOC’s corruption and disregard for human life, especially lives of LGBTQIA people, thrives when hidden from public view. Let’s flex our muscles and show them they can no longer continue to cover up their staff’s consistent abuse and neglect of LGBTQIA people, nor intimidate whistleblowers.

Please call Friday, 8/4, through Monday, 8/7. Leave messages if necessary. Call every day if you can. You may be asked to give your name or organization, but you can say you don’t want to.

Sample script:

“I’m calling to protest the behavior of your officers at Alger who are verbally harassing Todd Wentworth, #400451, in retaliation for being a whistleblower. He spoke up about MDOC’s negligence in failing to prevent the murder of Rodriguez Burks. Any retaliation against whistleblowers is unacceptable and shows the level of corruption in your facility and in MDOC. I will continue calling until the harassment ends.”

Warden Catherine Bauman, Alger Correctional Facility: (906) 387-5000 (press 0 for the operator and ask for the warden’s office)

MDOC Director Heidi Washington, Lansing: (517) 241-7238 (ask to leave a message for the director)

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Michigan Abolition and Prisoner Solidarity (MAPS) is a group organizing in solidarity with imprisoned people against the violence of incarceration.

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