John “Mac” Gaskins who has been a long time organizer with the NABPP-PC (New African Black Panther Party-Prison Chapter) and SPARC (Supporting Prisoners and Acting for Radical Change) both inside and outside the Virginia prison system is unfortunately facing serious charges due to a frame-up carried out in retaliation for his prior political activity. He badly needs money to pay for an attorney willing to actually fight the charges and his next court appearance is Feb 13th. Every little bit helps! In his own words:
“Dear friends and comrades,
It is my wish that this notation finds you all healthy in body and in spirit. At some point, I have shared friendship and comradery with all of you. Some of you, I have stayed in closer contact with than others. However, all of you are very dear to my heart.
With that said, it is under unfortunate circumstances that I reach out to you all today. It is no secret that we live in a class-driven and race-sensitized society. We all have to deal with it, to what degree all depends on the political arrangement which exist at any given time.
Unfortunately for me, I have, since birth, been locked into some sort of running battle with the establishment. Many of you know my history….. born in virginia, raised in Richmond (not current Richmond, but back when there was not running water and toilets in all apartments).
I grew up being framed by the police… literally. Watched them lie in court! I was somewhat raised in juvenile facilities, and as you know spent almost 15 yrs inside the virginia penal colony. Upon my release I cannot say I always made the best choices. I mean much of what I did was off instinct. Again, many of you remember…. you were there. I did the best I was able to for someone who had been in prison since he was 17 yrs old.. And spending more than half of that time in sensory deprivation driven environments (red onion, wallens ridge).
Eventually I would go on to build a family… 3 children and a wife now. I’ve worked all kinds of jobs… I’ve served as the food policy council coordinator, I’ve worked for common good city farm, building and maintaining urban garden beds all over the city of washington dc. I’ve worked as a driver, as a server, even worked hard on dead end labor jobs (mostly construction sites, contributing to the gentrification happening in my area). I’ve been laid off of many jobs, dismissed from even more because of my criminal history (all of which stems from when I was a teenager). All in all, I’ll say I’ve worked hard to live a decent honest life. I’ve maintained my political connections, but everything has been above ground.
The state as an institution has been attempting to destroy me my entire life. Thus I am here again… fighting for my life.
Back in August 2017 I met a man who unbeknownst to me was a undercover detective from virgina (Det. Massey). Claimed to be an anarchist in orientation and seemed to be cool on the surface. At some point I told detective Massey (who I knew as Jeff) that I wanted to sell some of my tools. He asked me if I had tried craigslist and that it may be a good marketplace for such a thing. So I put an ad up. A few weeks later Det. Massey responded to my ad as a potential buyer of my tools. I did not know it was the very man (the detective) that suggested I try craigslist. We talked for a few days before planning to meet. In the course of that dialogue, Det. Massey asked if I was interested in purchasing any guns from him. He claimed to be a legitimate gun collector who wanted to get rid of a gun or two so he could buy new ones. I told him we could meet and do the tool exchange. This is why I travel to springfield, va on September 6th.
Unbeknownst to me, the trap had been laid. When I arrived I was rushed by a dozen cops in ski masks and arrested. They took $100 from my pocket (literally) and said this is the money he was going to use to purchase the gun. At this point I had no idea what was really going on. When I was finally taken to the police precinct, I was handcuffed to a table to await interrogation. In walks Det. Massey (who I knew as Jeff) and informs me that he has been conducting an investigation of me, and knows everything about me (including my former affiliation with the Black Panther Party- Prison Chapter). I am currently awaiting trial for possession of a firearm by a violent felon and transporting a weapon.
I am humbly requesting your help. I desperately need to hire an attorney… my public defender has said in so many words (that I’m guilty and there’s no point in fighting because I’m not going to change how policing is done in the state of Virginia).
I really need help on this one. It carries a mandatory minimum of 5 yrs. I’ve talked to a few attorneys.. The cheapest has been $4,000.00. All claimed that the case is completely winnable. Again, I have 5 children that I am responsible for (3 through birth and 2 through marriage) and a wife. I begging for your solidarity.
Sincerely & In Solidarity Always,