Filed under: Action, Anarchist Movement, Incarceration, Political Prisoners, Repression
Partner of anarchist political prisoner Eric King discusses his current struggles while inside and the State’s attempt to bury him.
This is going to be very long a lot more personal than we usually post. For the first time, Eric’s partner feels like they need to speak out and share what has been happening to their family.
There has been radio silence on our end for a bit, and for that I apologize. So much has been happening with Eric, but we have felt incredibly anxious and afraid to publicize. It’s been so terrible that even right now…I feel extremely overwhelmed and panicked to write this all out. We have sat on a draft of this for a month now. But its pretty real that FCI Englewood has terrorized our family since Eric’s arrival in late August, starting from the VERY FIRST ENCOUNTER WITH THE PRISON. And it is finally time to talk about it.
After Eric arrived at FCI Englewood I attempted to visit the next day. Policy is a spouse can visit in the first week prior to visiting approval. However when he was placed in englewood in 2016 we ran into major issues attempting that first visit so I did expect to encounter some bullshit… we were not disappointed. After an hour of talking to guards, lieutenants and pushing hard for the visit, I was finally brought back to the visiting room. Because of all of the time it took… we only had 20 minutes to visit. During those 20 minutes, they came to us no less than 4 times claiming there was a kid in my car. They attempted to make me leave the visit to show them there was no child. I refused and told them to go in my locker, get my car keys, and go *in* my car to see there was no child. Desperate for every second that was being wasted. After shutting the situation down we were finally allowed 5 uninterrupted minutes, but it was difficult to relax and connect. It was a year and a half ago the last time we were in the same room. And our reality was so heavy. We JUST got hit with these charges. Those last 5 minutes were sad and vulnerable and so beautiful. It was really difficult to leave knowing fully that when the big dogs got in on monday the prison was VERY likely going to try to keep us from each other.
We have a history with FCI Englewood, so it was shocking to us he was placed here while awaiting trial. Our journey with this prison 3 years ago ended with them allowing a correctional officer, a grown man, to threaten physical harm on children. The situation blew up when the prison insisted on keeping him on visiting duties. When Eric tried to utilize his “legal process” and work through the grievance system FCI Englewood brought him up on disciplinary charges for allegedly “threatening an officer” with a cartoon he drew. (https://supportericking.org/2018/06/28/reflections-on-erics-trip-to-fci-florences-shu/) He was sent out, held without visits or calls with us for 105 days, he was bumped up 10 points in security level designation (in prison designation this is a BIG jump) for this “assault” by cartoon.
At the end of the day, FCI Englewood succeeded in shutting down the “legal process” Eric was entitled to. Prisoners have to file grievances up the chain of command before filing litigation. If you are in segregation you rely fully on officers: firstly by bringing you a grievance form, and secondly to not just throw them in the trash (which happened over and over at USP Leavenworth regarding the officer who assaulted Eric in 2018). The grievance process relies heavily on the prisoner physically being at that prison. The BOP can shut prisoners down on so many levels, and just give them the boot to avoid further escalation of their grievance…. You run out of time after 6 months and you can NEVER file litigation against the prison regarding this issue.We will never be allowed to file civil litigation against the prison or the officer who attacked Eric because of this. If you cannot pay the court costs, you’re out of luck. Take a peek through the dismissed civil rights cases related to prison abuse. You will see account after account of horrible alleged abuses that get thrown out because the prisoner couldn’t make it through the grievance process. Its chilling, stories of abuse just dropped into the trash because they couldn’t pay the court costs, making SLAVE wages. I’m sure it was FULLY a ‘coincidence’ when 3 years ago, Eric was bounced from FCI Englewood the SAME DAY Eric was to receive an institutional response to his grievance.
In case anyone is wondering, the officer is still there. The Marshals could have placed Eric at any number of private contracted prisons being that he is pre-trial, but the Bureau Of Prisons couldn’t keep their greasy hands off him, so they placed him at FCI Englewood.
There are three prisons on the Englewood complex: the federal detention center (FDC) for pre-trial prisoners, the FCI Englewood, and the federal prison camp. Eric should be held at the FDC as a pre-trial prisoner, but the warden created a mandatory detention order that states Eric will be held permanently in segregation (in FCI Englewood). Without serving disciplinary sanctions there should be no reason to be housed in the segregated housing unit or SHU. Or even held in a prison he *isn’t* designated to. Yet some document related to his detention (that we are not allowed to see) says he must be held in segregation indefinitely. Conveniently right smack dab in the middle of the prison where some folks with a bad taste in their mouths are sitting. There is concern that guards with a vengeance has access to him. Folks who are tasked with ensuring Eric has access to his attorney… have friendships with the ENTIRE team involved with the case. How is this not a conflict? He is facing a case brought against him by the BOP, in a BOP facility, being guarded by folks that are directly involved with the witnesses that will be called into his trial. It is all very concerning. And when staff is refusing Eric access to the law library, denying legal visits, restricting legal visits its really hard to feel like these folks dont feel motivated to impact our ability to fight this case. When he could be held at many other Colorado prisons while fighting this case, we are told though it is crucial that he be held in the custody of the BOP. Now I am just saying… IF the BOP had something to hide, they couldn’t arrange a better situation for themselves while a questionable case is moving through the courts. Fighting a case in a BOP facility, against the BOP, is playing out ‘shockingly’ .__. Difficult.
What can I say about FCI Englewood? I have never experienced a weirder, more polarized group of guards. Residing in the Denver-metro area, there is a cross-section of Denver folks merely looking for a paycheck and the increasingly alienated aggravated right; white dudes, facing with a society beginning to hold them accountable… with martyr complexes. (I have to add that right now, thankfully, all of the people assigned directly to the SHU right Eric fall into the first group. The SHU staff, the SHU Lieutenant, the head of health services and the guards on duty for visitation. At this moment those are our only “safe” spaces in FCI Englewood… the rest is fucking landmines). Though the folks who fall into the latter seem to find their way to Eric over and over though. Englewood couldn’t wait to start the games. Be it rape threats towards Eric, encounters with previously mentioned guard (carrying a live weapon) that threatened the kids, or repeated attempts at discovering where the kids go to school…they sure kept it interesting. Including being told I was banned from visiting for a 16-year-old bench warrant for a bad check, which was something I disclosed when I was approved for visits 4 YEARS PRIOR AT THE SAME FACILITY, and at 3 OTHER FACILITIES, not to mention my visiting approval was STILL in the computer from last time it was approved. So weeks were spent stressing and ended with us paying a significant amount of money to resolve the warrant so we can visit again. FULLY expecting to not be allowed to visit despite being told this is 100% all we needed to do to regain visitation.
Around the time that the bench warrant was released. FCI Englewood responded to a grievance Eric filed regarding visitation. The prison said that due to our ideology we will not be allowed to visit. So here’s the thing: When Timothy McVeigh was housed at FCI Englewood his ideology wasn’t a problem. Neither has it been for the numerous Nazis that have graced those prison walls. But anarchist/anti-fascist ideology is not welcome. A restriction I might add, a warden *does not get to make*. Even the CMU and ADX where the BOP holds the majority of prisoners with terrorist designation does not enforce visiting restrictions based on ideology. So it was not a surprise that after I emailed documents proving the bench warrant had been released on October 20th, I then attempted to visit 2 weeks later and was told that Warden Bradley Greilick signed a permanent visitation ban on me.
Eric continued the process of fighting internally for visits through his legal process, which is a complete and utter joke. And WE worked from the outside. The prisoners in his segregated housing unit (SHU) went on multiple hunger strikes in response to the constant abuse they suffer under the administration of FCI Englewood. Eric receives a visit from WardenGreilick and was told that there are 3(4) conditions required for my visiting:
- That there is nothing negative posted online about FCI Englewood. No news stories, specifically no blog updates, related to the prison. This is extremely problematic. The warden in a gross opportunistic move decided to try to hold our visits over Eric’s head in an attempt to silence him regarding abuse he is suffering. As well as a way to try to suppress Eric’s support while fighting this case.
- That I not protest the prison… There is SO much to say about this. But I want to keep this short and sweet. I have not been convicted of a federal crime. The warden has NO jurisdiction over my life outside the prison grounds. The warden does NOT get to tell me that I cannot legally exercise my constitutional rights off prison grounds. The audacity of this condition is so thick.
- That I respect the prison staff. This is SO loaded. We have not had ONE disciplinary write up for visit behavior while Eric has been held in the BOP system. I have not been once told I am being disruptive. We have not in our time had ONE verbal instruction made to us regarding my behavior. I have to follow the same stringent behavior code as ANYONE else visiting any BOP facility It feels like it all boils down to again… our ideology.There has never been a respect issue. The issue they have is with how we feel about them.
- That I not wear anything “antifa.” The warden will NOT allow support to be shown for a “terrorist organization” in their prison.This is again ridiculous because as a visitor to a BOP facility it is ALWAYS up to the guards discretion to dictate what any visitor can and cannot wear for any reason. All day long the guards demand visitors change their clothing. And we do… that is how it works. This is nothing more than a super weird BOP flex, as I am already held to BOP dress code regs.
Laying out a set of “guidelines” I have to follow in order to be approved to visit is actually not the way visitors are approved in the BOP. That is not how the process works. All I am required to do is to submit to the same background checks I have completed at every facility I have visited. This is a major flex… and one that seems REALLY centered on silencing us while at the same time shaming who we are.
Lets get this straight and out there. We are anti-fascists and anarchists. This is no big secret. We are out, we are open about this. We believe in building strong communities. We believe in gardens, in dumpster diving collectives, in community childcare. But we also believe in a world in which fascists do not feel safe causing harm and oppressing others. A facet of this includes feeling responsibility to use the privilege we have to give voice to the abuses we witness and experience via the BOP. Would it be easier for us to keep quiet… 100%. But Eric has a voice, he has folks who care about him and listen. He has folks to bare witness to his struggles. But so many in prison do not. They suffer slavery, they suffer abuse, they suffer murder at the hands of prisons. It is the responsibility of those with a voice to amplify the voice and struggle of others. It isn’t just about us. Even with this new case, we have a responsibility to fight it and win, and we have a responsibility to fight the illegal visit and phone restrictions, because the BOP has demonstrated a constant pattern of attempting something with one prisoner, or political prisoner, experiencing success without resistance and then carrying it out again and again with other prisoners. Staying silent, sitting back, is not an option. This is no longer about just us.
It wasn’t until after the Fed attorney’s officer reached out to the prison to inquire about denied visits, and the fact that it has been A YEAR AND A HALF since Eric was attacked and he STILL didn’t have his glasses, that the prison begrudgingly added me to the visitation list. We also were afforded the opportunity (after asking for over year) to purchase glasses for Eric and send them in. When we asked for Eric’s current prescription from his eye exam a year prior at USP Leavenworth and the prison turned it over to us, we were shocked to see that FCI Englewood had been transferred his current prescription on 9/18/19 and had been withholding Eric’s glasses in a seemingly punitive move: The Marshals were made aware Eric didn’t have glasses prior to his arrival in Englewood. It was brought up in court on 8/29/19 that Eric could not properly read court documents.
The prison was made aware that Eric needed glasses upon his arrival. We find out that from 9/18 to 12/12 they chose to NOT order Eric glasses after receiving his prescription, and to not even allow US to purchase them ourselves. But when instructed to give Eric glasses by the prosecutor’s office, they ‘suddenly’ find the form allowing us to purchase glasses for Eric. It has been terrible for Eric to not be able to see. He has severe cataracts and it has affected his ability to stay in communication with folks, let alone read the evidence presented against him. Not to mention having to defend himself against attack after attack without being able to see. So even these glasses will change his life.
After the stepped up communication regarding the glasses Eric was able to actually speak with the head of Englewood health services who wasn’t aware it was all going on and ordered a pair for him as well. It helps to have a spare because there always is this yucky fear that something can happen and he ends up without glasses again. We hope they will step in soon and get Eric the stroke evaluation he still needs. One of the worst thing about having a loved one in prison is that if the prison denies treatment or care, you can not even pay for their care with your own money. How is the denial of care about budget if we can not even purchase care for our loved ones.
We are processing a lot right now. Are we to feel grateful that when backed into a corner they decide to finally allow Eric glasses, decided to finally allow us 1-2 hours a week behind glass after a year and a half of not seeing each other? When they had NO LEGAL REASON to restrict the visits in the first place? We have seen each other for a little over a month now. EACH visit knowing it may be our last. KNOWING that they will find some way to take our communication away again. Not having the legal grounds to do something doesn’t stop the BOP. We are going on a year now with this illegal phone block that is still in effect. That is all super heavy. That they can do whatever they want to you, legal or not.
BOP expects to trauma bond with us, abuse us over and over and then when forced to hand us visitation, watch expectedly for the gratitude and fear that they attempt to foster. Gratitude and fear that will hopefully keep us silent. And in every other situation, that would probably be what we would have done, as one must to survive within the BOP. We have kept our heads down, and kept many many many things quiet over the years. But we simply CANNOT do this anymore. We will not do that anymore.
At this point, it feels the safest thing we can do is tell our story. Despite how scary and vulnerable it feels. Dreading the retaliation that will undoubtedly result. But we already live in the worst case. Because of prison abuse, Eric is facing up to 20 more years in prison. The consequences are SO real for us. And they can and have shown us they WILL continue this abuse. They can get to us while he is attempting to defend himself against them in court. They have orchestrated or attempted to orchestrate white power attacks at almost every single prison he has been placed in since his attack. They have taken our communication away, our phones, emails, visits. They have isolated him from his community by holding and losing his incoming mail. There is worry for the future, as well as after this case is over, and after folks stop paying attention. The things they are doing while under the watchful eye of the US Marshals and the federal prosecutors says SO MUCH about what the future looks like when these entities are no longer involved. We fear for his safety now, and in the future.
Right now we have 1-2 hours a week in the same room as each other. And as we did in Englewood the first time, in Florence, we treat each visit as if it were our last. We think about the future. I hope to one day hold his hand again. Sit next to him. Email, talk on the phone again. But right now, we are treasuring these minutes. Being able to cry for the first time together after the attack, after my surgery, catching up on a year and a half of missed experiences, missed moments. Stories of lost teeth and student-of-the-month awards. Us hearing each other’s voices.Being able to take in each others faces after a year and a half. In that closet, divided by glass, our souls have begun to heal. Facing these newest charges has been the best part of this last year and a half because we finally get to see each other again. That is incredibly sad. But feeling the VAST improvement in our lives since we’ve finally been able to talk again, really just clarifies *why* they have done anything and everything to keep us apart. They know what they are doing. They know how to destroy someone from the inside just like they do physically to people’s bodies. We never can forget they know exactly what they are doing.
Can I say just how much Eric, this amazing person, blows me away? I feel overwhelmed by it every time I sit next to him. I am forever inspired by the strength that he carries, his spirit that refuses to be broken. He survives! I also feel so inspired by the strength of the prisoners at FCI Englewood in the segregated housing unit who have decided to continue to resist against abuse And neglect. Y’all are fucking solid. We SEE you.
In a heartbreaking turn of events on New Year’s Eve, a prisoner in Eric’s unit hung himself. A prisoner who has been jerked around by the mental health team over and over. A prisoner who was on suicide watch, who the prison was aware was off his meds, was taken off suicide watch (which should have never happened) and within 24 hours he was dead. Eric heard a guard yell out about it all; for Eric…it felt like it took forever for guards to get into the cell, cut them down, and call medical. He says it probably could have been 30 seconds and felt like 20 minutes. This is another unnecessary suicide within the segregation units of the BOP. His cellmate in Atlanta 6 months ago attempted to hang himself twice. And was met with violence by the guards. The BOP in the last year has quietly taken books, magazines, newspapers, photos, radios from segregation units. They have taken food products off commissary. They have created complete sensory deprivation. Folks unable to communicate with their family having nothing to read, nothing to occupy their time. If the BOP continues down this path we expect to see a lot more wardens with blood on their hands as suicides increase as a result. (not a) Surprise that when the BOP regional officer came to investigate the suicide, FCI Englewood would not allow Eric (who was a witness) give a statement or speak to investigating officers. It feels like Warden Greilick is also attempting to influence the bop regional offices investigation into the suicide.
There is really no place to end this… Every time I type something out, it is instantly outdated as the prison ups the ante. We need folks more than ever.
PLEASE send letters, articles, jokes, and memes. After resisting mail changes, the prisoners also won the right to have magazines!! Please shoot us an email if you want to get a subscription for Eric:
Eric King 27090045
9595 w Quincy ave
Littleton co 80123
If folks want to organize local fundraisers in their cities, hit us up. We have various literature and support shirts that can be printed and sold for fundraising.
LOCAL Colorado folks, please reach out if you are interested in helping build support on the ground.
Ending with a poem Eric wrote while processing witnessing this senseless death
“The Wrong One”
Greilick holds the rope
Excuses will get passed
“If someone wants to go they will”
And if someone wants to ignore mental health
Ignore skipped medications
keep someone in a silent box
With no phone calls, no radio, no personal contact
No stimulation mentally whatsoever
They also will
And Warden Greilick did
Now Roberts is dead
Deliberate indifference is state murder
Mail from his family arrived that same day
Medical needed to wait for an escort
Even though he was purple
Day cops will take the blame, but why?
They didn’t institute isolationist policies
Didn’t keep someone pre-trial and openly suicidal
Buried in a box, with all of the states pressure
No excuses are needed
A family lost a son
In the custody of this warden
They will never breathe again
Greilick will continue to collect that 6 figure check
The wrong neck got burned
The state got another
Levi John Roberts was murdered by federally sanctioned torture.