Filed under: Action, Anarchist Movement, Central, Incarceration, Political Prisoners, Repression, The State
As anarchist political prisoner Eric King goes to trial, the Bureau of Prisons attempts to retaliate and bully him.
Denver — On day three of the trial of political prisoner Eric King, it came to light that the cell he is being held in at FCI Englewood was flooded, destroying his personal property and legal documents. Attorney Sarah Alvarez, a member of King’s legal defense team, relayed to presiding Judge Martinez that the corrections officers at the facility communicated to Mr. King that they had observed a bird fly into his cell, a guard had to chase it, and somehow toilet paper ended up in the slightly leaking sink, causing the flood damage. Judge Martinez made a statement to the court that he had never seen such issues in all his years on the bench and that it is far reaching to say it was not intentional on the part of the Bureau. “Now a bird is being blamed? The BOP is setting itself up for a civil lawsuit,” Judge Martinez noted.
When questioned by Judge Martinez, Zachary Huffman, attorney for the Bureau of Prisons, attempted to insinuate that Mr. King himself had flooded his cell, destroying his own property.
The story of modern-day prison abuse is exemplified in the case of Eric King. King is 5’6’, a father and a husband serving a ten-year sentence in federal custody. Two years ago, in FCI Florence, a federal prison in Colorado, a guard took King to a storage closet, alone, and beat him with closed fists. Even though this prison guard’s violence was not video-recorded and only King and the guard were present during the altercation, other prison employees fell in line to try and undermine King’s self-defense claim.
Today, March 17, 2022, King is now facing a federal assault trial with the possibility of a 20-year sentence. King has been in solitary confinement since that incident in 2018 and is one of 42 people to be held for over a year in solitary confinement within the federal system. “For Eric King, a video recording of this incident would have sealed the deal for his self-defense claim, and potentially acted as a deterrent for this bully guard, keeping both King and the guard uninjured,” said Josh Davidson, a member of the Eric King Support Committee.
In 2021, Senator Ossoff introduced bi-partisan legislation to install such cameras in the BOP as a response to widespread criminality and violence within the corrections officers employed by the Bureau.
This is not the first time that this Florence prison facility has experienced disturbing guard abuses and cover-ups. The AP recently reported that “more than 100 federal prison workers have been arrested, convicted or sentenced for crimes since the start of 2019, including a warden indicted for sexual abuse, an associate warden charged with murder, guards taking cash to smuggle drugs and weapons, and supervisors stealing property such as tires and tractors.” In fact, a bipartisan Senate working group was launched last month to “scrutinize conditions within the Bureau of Prisons following reporting by The Associated Press that uncovered widespread corruption and abuse in federal prisons.”
Former political prisoner and whistleblower, Chelsea Manning, offered her support to King by speaking out against the violent culture of corrections officers:
“The most awful and violent and dangerous interactions I’ve ever seen have come, with impunity, from prison staff. The only common denominator in every single jail, every single civilian and military prison, at every security level, was just the awful brutality of prison staff towards inmates. The worst people in jail or prison are staff, time and time again, and this was across the board no matter where I went.”
Davidson added that “the events occurring amidst trial are a clear extension of the corruption and violent culture BOP staff are ensnared in and that all prisoners are forced to suffer. Eric is taking the Bureau head on and refusing to allow this agency to continue to bully and harm people inside, and they are trying to make him pay for it.”
Closing statements have been made in the case and the jury has been sent for deliberations.
photo: Tim Hüfner via Unsplash