Staff Collusion and Failed Assassination Attempt
On Tuesday, August 25, 2020, shortly before 11:30 am, an attempt was made on Kevin Rashid Johnson’s life at Pendleton Correctional Facility (PCF). A prisoner from a separate housing unit was admitted entry into Rashid’s living quarters where the attack took place, and the subsequent attack was captured on video surveillance. We have sufficient reason to believe that PCF staff was involved in some way with this attack, as they have a detailed history of targeting Rashid because of his efforts at organizing the PCF prisoner population, and despite the fact that prisoners are not allowed in housing units other than their own, there is no way to gain entry into any of the housing units without the keys that rest solely in the possession of the staff on duty.
During the attack, Rashid was able to disarm his assailant and take the necessary steps to defend himself. After this, officers stepped in to restrain Rashid as his assailant was allowed to retreat. Both Rashid and his assailant were transported to the infirmary. Rashid was treated for a small defensive wound in the palm of his hand that required 3 stitches while his assailant was allegedly treated for multiple, life-threatening injuries.
More Racially and Politically Motivated Retaliation
Immediately following this attack and after leaving the infirmary, Rashid was taken directly to a disciplinary segregation unit which is reserved for individuals serving long-term solitary confinement sentences of a year or more and was placed in a cage. Rashid should have been taken to administrative segregation per PCF’s own policies and guidelines, pending an investigation into the events that transpired. He was also denied all of his property, including life-sustaining medications that he is to take on a daily basis, as well as his legal property which would have allowed him to begin preparing a defense from the trumped-up charges that are sure to follow in addition to being left in the bloody clothing that he was wearing for hours.
Sensory Deprivation and Guantanamo Bay-Like Tactics
Sometime during the night, he was taken from the cage when staff attempted to place him in a pitch black, solitary cell with no light, electrical outlets, or mattress and bedding, etc. Placing prisoners in cells such as these are attempts at torture by way of sensory deprivation. This type of torture was practiced widely in Guantanamo Bay and is an absolutely illegal violation of constitutional as well as human rights of U.S. citizens, including those of prisoners (1). Rashid stated this plainly, and rightfully refused to enter the cell. He was returned to the cage and, in retaliation, has still not received any of his property. This property includes hygiene and food products, eyeglasses, writing effects, correspondence, legal materials, and medication that he must take daily in order to regulate blood pressure that he has not received since August 25th, 2020.
We believe that this entire incident was a setup and a failed attempt to, at best, take Rashid’s life, or in the very least, do him serious bodily harm. Rallying other prisoners to this perverse cause is just further antagonism, since PCF and IDOC staffs’ efforts at good old fashioned repression have had no effect on Rashid. Conspiring with and/or attempting to turn prisoners against Rashid to do him harm is actually not a new tactic. This was VADOC’s original intent when they first sent him out of state. Oregon was a prime example of this (2).
Outside and International Support Mounts Amid Call to Action
Upon hearing of this treatment, Rashid’s outside international support mounted an organized effort to defend Rashid by flooding PCF with calls and emails demanding that Rashid be allowed his property, putting staff on notice that the world is watching, and that abuse of political prisoners will not be tolerated. PCF staff has responded to these calls and emails with repeated lies, hanging up the phone, and has now taken to using the rumor of an impending transfer out of PCF as a pretense for withholding his property indefinitely. I am asking for everyone’s help in publicizing this affront to human dignity and repression of New Afrikan political expression. Please call and/or email the staff at PCF expressing your support of Rashid, your awareness of his current situation, and our demands on his behalf using the suggested script and contact information (3).
Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win!
All Power to Our Political Prisoners!
Victory to New Afrikan and Colonized Masses!
~ Shupavu wa Kirima