“We will have to earn, if not demand, respect for our rights through sacrifice and struggle just like the masses of other politically, socially and economically marginalized people on this planet. And that’s where out best chances for justice lie—in struggle, not in a civil lawsuit.” –Frank “Outlaw” Reid
Friends, Comrades and Allies,
Frank “Outlaw” Reid, a comrade imprisoned in Red Onion State Prison, and co-author of Defying the Tomb, is bringing four guards before a jury on October 28-30 in Wise County, VA for a brutal beating he suffered at their hands in 2009. Please read the press release and his public statement attached for more details, and follow the trial on Twitter at @justice4outlaw and on Facebook at Justice Outlaw.
JUSTICE FOR OUTLAW!!!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: October 22, 2013
Contact: Kate Piper (202) 718-7043
PRISON GUARDS FACE CIVIL SUIT IN ATTACK ON VIRGINIA PRISONER FRANK “OUTLAW” REID
Big Stone Gap, VA: On Monday, October 28, a jury will begin hearing testimony in a civil suit filed against four prison guards in Wise County, Virginia for an alleged attack on Wallens Ridge prisoner Frank Reid in July 2009. Reid filed the suit after defeating prison officials’ charges of aggravated assault in the same incident. Reid is charging the guards with violating his constitutional rights as a prisoner of the Virginia Department of Corrections (VDOC), including the right to due process, equal protection, and the right to be free from unlawful search and seizure.
On July 10, 2009, Reid was brutally attacked and beaten by guards at Wallens Ridge State Prison, when three officers and a sergeant yelled racist slurs as they tackled him to the ground, kicked and punched him repeatedly, then bashed his head into the concrete floor. After the attack, Reid was denied medical care and his right to the prison grievance process. He was also denied access to photos and other documentation of injuries he sustained.
Reid has long been a target of political repression and racial discrimination and is recognized as a fierce critic of U.S. prisons. He has written extensively about abuses perpetrated by guards employed by VDOC and works to organize fellow prisoners for better treatment and living conditions within Wallens Ridge and Red Onion State Prisons. He co-authored a book titled “Defying the Tomb” with Kevin ‘Rashid’ Johnson, another former VDOC prisoner who has been politically targeted and singled out for severe abuse by Virginia prison guards.
Reid beat charges of attempted aggravated assault and battery on July 21, 2009 in an official prison hearing. “[The charging officer’s] testimony does not support his charge. Therefore my decision is to dismiss the charge.” Despite being found not guilty by the Hearing Officer, Reid was stripped of his accumulated Good Time. If they hadn’t taken that time from him, Reid would have been released already.
After charges against him were dismissed, Reid filed a grievance through prescribed channels. When asked what remedy he sought, rather than requesting individual relief, such as money, good time, or a transfer to a less brutal prison, he requested that “all VDOC employees who abuse and brutalize prisoners be terminated as a standard policy and practice of the VDOC.” His grievance was ignored all the way up to the Director, in violation of VDOC policy requiring that all grievances be investigated and responded to by officials.
Reid filed the civil suit in US District Court against the guards who beat him, as well as the Wallens Ridge State Prison warden and VDOC officials who were complicit. The warden and VDOC officials have since been dismissed as defendants, but the four officers will still face a jury trial on the 28th of October.