U.N.I.O.N.
United for No Injustice, Oppression or Neglect

Ersel Ware







Ersel Ware Oct. 12, 1953 - Aug. 20, 2004




 
 
 
 
 

I have spent most of today talking to the family members of  Ersel Ware the third inmate to die under suspicious circumstances at a Solano County prison   THAT WE KNOW ABOUT since April.

Ersel Ware had no priors when he went to  prison with an eight year sentence for defending his family members against an ex-convict who had been convicted of murder.  This man threatened and disrespected his wife and three of his children and Ursel Ware had no choice but to protect them his family members say .  His short sentence would verify that his offense, if any, wasn't major.

Ware was a cement mason for the City of Stockton and father of twelve children.  The grandfather of twenty grandchildren.  The son of a Stockton pastor and the brother of a second Stockton Pastor. 

He was also the brother of a community advocate  who stands up for people who are whipsawed by the  police agencies in Modesto although he is on the City's payroll.

Ware's brother Tommie is  an advocate who has grown sad over the automatic convictions of so many young black and hispanics in the Central Valley and he fears for his brother's children who now have no father figure other than him. 

These are but a few of the people who are devastated over the fact that the guards would allow no one to give Ersel Ware any help whatsoever when he collapsed on the handball court at CSP Solano on August 18 (not the 19th as the Coroner first told me)

Barbina Ware

12 children

Robert, 32

Marcel, 30

Pastino, 27

Ursel, 20

Katrina, 28

Natonya, 26

Tameran, daughter, 25

Hershel, daughter, 23

Tawannna, 19

Tommy,  17

Isaah, 13

Denae (deceased) 

20  grandchildren

13 living brothers and sisters all of them with large families.

His father is a pastor, his mother is still living.

There is nearly 100 people connected to this loving father, grandfather, uncle who cannot conceive in their wildest dreams why he was allowed to just lie on the racquetball court for what we now have learned was 27 minutes.

27 full minutes in the blazing sun.

We know which inmate offered CPR and we fear for this inmate's parole date but many witnesses saw him and he will have no choice to be involved here.

When Ware's wife Barbina received the call that he had died, she went the next day to the coroner's office who turned her away and told her that she could not view his body.

He was actually released from the coroner and was BURIED on August 26.  But when we tried to get information about him and asked that his family be given our phone numbers, I was led to believe by the coroner's office that he was still there.  The coroner's office said that they would pass on my phone number to the family but it never happened.

Ware's brother Tommie   said   "nobody from the media ever contacted us and I would have spoken to them, because my sister in law was treated terribly by the Department of Corrections."

I explained to Tommie that the media never knew that he had died until I found out about it from inmates.  I had the story of what happened from inmate families but no name to put to it.  In fact I published the story in the newsletter more than a week ago and asked for the name.  The email was entitled "Shot, dead and suffering inmates"

I explained to him how many days we searched for information and just kept coming up with no answers and a brick wall.

If not for our communication system and the pastors in California, we would never have found the Ware family.

That's how deeply CDC tried and almost succeeded in burying this death.

There is a great deal of pain directly in the lives of nearly 100 people in the Central Valley around the death of Ursel Ware who would  have turned 51 yrs. old on October 12, my birthday.

100 people connected to one man who was treated worse than a dog when he collapsed.

100 people who will never get over this for the rest of their lives.

100 people who are coming together with the UNION.

Our Attorney Mark Ravis must examine the  autopsy report and the medical records before we know the cause of death.

But it is a glaring fact that his constitutional rights were violated by being denied basic CPR and emergency services.  This has happened many times as we have witnessed, to inmates and to visitors who collapse.  The guards aren't trained in even the most basic first aid.

Today, almost every airplane has a defribillator in the event someone has a heart attack but a prison with 5700 men does not have a defribillator or they may have one stuffed in a back room that no one knows how to use.

Ersel Ware has a large family that loves him.  He went to prison in their defense. What a cruel ending for any Californian to meet.  The other inmates are terrified that the same thing could happen to them, that would collapse and no one would be there to offer resuscitation.

The family will assemble their small army if the media cares enough for a press conference if anyone cares what went down here.

I care.  I care very much and I am crying for this fine African American family.

Anthony Shumake's family cares.  Anthony died at CSP Solano on June 29 over a dental problem and a treatable infection that was neglected until it was too late.  They were at our August 12 rally crying out for reform and at the press conference on Monday.  They care about 
Ersel Ware's death and the maltreatment of his loved ones.

Beverly Bittner, Dennis Swisher's mother cares about Ersel Ware's family.  She plans to spend the rest of her life as an advocate for the UNION even though her young, 34 yr old son is dead from pneumonia, something no young person with a strong immuno system should die over in this day and age.  She cares about what the rest of us are facing.  She is willing to fight back with this lawsuit for her son's five children.

Now, we have this family willing to come forward and speak out to the California media about their brother's, uncle, grandfather and father's loss.

Will the media care about this third death under hideous circumstances?

It remains to be seen.

Maybe there are more than three million people directly connected to state prison inmates.



Great story by Scott Smith!

I did mean that the lawsuits are unlikely to win "because there is no justice when it comes to CDC/CCPOA, they own everybody including the judges.  There is no justice in the courts" 
They certainly SHOULD win if things were fair and balanced.

The  Governor is also named in the suits I believe!  He vetoed all the key bills that would have saved the taxpayers millions, if not billions in costs.  He assumed that families of prisoners are too ignorant to organize well enough to file lawsuits to stand up for their loved ones.

He miscalculated, once again!

The guards ordered an inmate who tried to give CPR away at gunpoint.   It happened and it has happened before!

B. Cayenne Bird
 

 http://www.recordnet.com/daily/news/articles/102204-gn-10.php

Suit set in death at prison
Family seeks $60 million, says medical care lacking

By Scott Smith
 

Record Staff Writer
Published Friday, October 22, 2004 

STOCKTON -- The family of a Stockton man who died two months ago at a state prison in Vacaville plans to file a $60 million lawsuit today in federal court claiming correctional officers denied the ailing inmate medical care that could have saved his life.

Ersel Ware, 50, suffered a heart attack and collapsed Aug. 18 during a handball game in the yard at California State Prison, Solano, said Beverly Hills attorney Mark Ravis. Ravis said he is filing the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California in Sacramento on behalf of Ware's widow and 11 surviving children who live in Stockton.

Ware had served six years of a 10-year sentence in the Vacaville prison. Ware pled guilty in 1998 to shooting Ulysses Hall at McKinley Park during an argument over which man could set up a food booth for a softball tournament. Hall, a Stockton resident at the time, was injured but did not die. Terry Thornton, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Corrections, said claims that correctional officers denied Ware medical care after his heart attack are not true.

Hundred of inmates witnessed Ware collapse and saw staff respond immediately, Thornton said. "How can something like that happen in front of inmates and staff?" she said. "That's impossible." Ravis said those same witnesses support his claim that Ware lay on the ground under the August sun for 27 minutes untouched. A correctional officer ordered another inmate at gunpoint to stop administering first aid on Ware, Ravis claims. The case has constitutional underpinnings, Ravis said in a phone interview this week. Correctional officers violated Ware's protection against cruel and unusual punishment when they denied him treatment, Ravis said.

"Apparently, there's a policy at prisons not to give emergency medical care to inmates who collapse," Ravis said. "To me, that's beyond belief." The lawsuit names at fault prison guards at the Vacaville prison, CDC Director Jeanne Woodford and Youth and Adult Corrections Agency Secretary Roderick Hickman. The family seeks $10 million for their emotional suffering and another $50 million for punitive damages, Ravis said. Ravis said he expects to file that lawsuit today. If so, it would be the third wrongful-death lawsuit 

Ravis has filed in recent weeks on behalf of families of inmates who died inside the California prison system. The family of Anthony Shumake, 41, of Richmond filed a wrongful-death suit on Sept. 29. Shumake died in June from dental infection after having a tooth surgically removed, according to newspaper accounts. Shumake suffered a swollen neck and could not eat for six days. Jailers transported him for treatment more than two hours away to the Doctors Hospital in Manteca, where he died, rather then treating him near the Vacaville prison. He was serving a 12-year sentence for spousal abuse, stalking and for a drug offense.

On Sept. 13, Donald Frederick Swisher's family filed a wrongful-death suit claiming that the inmate, 34, from Merced shouldn't have succumbed to pneumonia in April. Staff at the California Medical Facility in Vacaville did not respond to Swisher's plea for treatment, according to newspaper accounts. Prisoner advocate Cayenne Bird said winning a court case against the CDC is unlikely. But filing three suits in rapid succession is a strategy for bringing reform to the troubled prison system, she said. Bird is director of United for No Injustice, Oppression or Neglect, or UNION

The California-based prisoner-advocacy group is backing the lawsuits as well as a campaign to reform the state prison system. Cayenne said the California prison system is claiming the lives of inmates who aren't sentenced to death. 

The families and prisoner advocates involved in the lawsuits will gather Saturday to raise awareness of the problems in the state's prison system. "We're wanting to make noise about this kind of inhumane treatment," Bird said.

"It's going to cost and it's unacceptable."

Stockton resident Tommie Muhammad, 58, said his younger brother, Ersel Ware, was looking forward to leaving prison within a year and getting on with his life. Muhammad said Ware had never been to prison before.

He was from a large, respected Stockton family and not a hardened criminal. Prison staff treated his brother like an animal up to the time he died in their care, Muhammad said. "It's cruel and unusual punishment to let him lay out in the hot sun and to let him die," Muhammad said. 

"The system doesn't care." * To reach reporter Scott Smith, phone (209) 546-8296 or e-mail  ssmith@recordnet.com



 mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/local/states/california/northern_california/9992629.htm

Posted on Fri, Oct. 22, 2004 
 

Stricken inmate left untreated, lawsuit claims

DON THOMPSON
Associated Press

SACRAMENTO - California prisons' policy of keeping immediate untrained aid away from inmates or visitors in medical distress led to the unattended death of an inmate, alleges an attorney who sued the Department of Corrections Friday on behalf of the inmate's family.

The suit claims Ersel Ware, 50, collapsed in a California State Prison-Solano exercise yard while playing handball and died Aug. 18 after he was left without treatment for 27 minutes.

"He was allowed to lay there like an animal, at gunpoint, no one was able to go near him, even other inmates who knew CPR," said attorney and former doctor Mark Ravis.

An investigation is underway, said department spokeswoman Margot Bach, though she said it was unlikely it took that long for help to arrive.

But inmates are routinely kept from victims both to allow professional medical teams to respond and in the event the fallen inmate was the victim of foul play, as often is the case in prisons, Bach said.

"Usually when there's a yard incident, everybody is told to get down," Bach said. "You want to get professional staff in there to see what's wrong."

Ravis said he has a University of Chicago medical expert lined up to testify that Ware, who was alive and talking after his collapse, might have been among the 50 percent-to-70 percent of heart attack victims who survive had he received prompt treatment. Prisons should have defibrillator devices and use them, Ravis said.

The suit in federal court in Sacramento is the third Ravis has filed in a month seeking monetary damages for inmates' families.

The families say the series of suits marks a change in strategy as they seek better conditions in the largest state prison system. The system, including its medical care and spiraling health care costs, has been harshly criticized by state senators and witnesses at a series of Senate hearings, by auditors, national experts, and a federal court monitor.

Earlier this month, the family of 41-year-old Anthony Shumake sued, alleging neglect. Shumake died in June of complications six days after having a wisdom tooth pulled, and after being shuttled more than two hours to medical care instead of being rushed to either of two closer hospitals.

A lawsuit by the family of Donald Swisher, 34, alleges he died in April of treatable pneumonia.

Ware's family and community leaders planned a Saturday news conference in Stockton to draw attention to the suit, said B. Cayenne Bird, who heads a network of inmate families called UNION, which stands for United for No Injustice, Oppression or Neglect.

Ware's father and brother are pastors, while his brother, Tommie, is a community advocate. Ware had a large family in the Stockton area.

ON THE NET

Read information from family members and the advocacy organization UNION at  www.1union1.com



Television and radio version Channel 3 Palm Springs

Stricken inmate left untreated, lawsuit claims
 

STOCKTON California prisons' policy of keeping immediate untrained aid away from inmates in medical distress led to the unattended death of an inmate, says an attorney who sued the Department of Corrections today on behalf of the inmate's family.

The suit alleges Ersel Ware of Stockton collapsed in a California State Prison-Solano exercise yard while playing handball and died in August after he was left without treatment for nearly a half-hour.

A prison spokeswoman says an investigation is underway but doubts it took that long for help to arrive.She says inmates are routinely kept from victims both to allow professional medical teams to respond and in the event the fallen inmate was the victim of foul play as often is the case in prisons.



 http://www.recordnet.com/daily/news/articles/102204-gn-10.php

Suit set in death at prison
Family seeks $60 million, says medical care lacking
By Scott Smith

Record Staff Writer
Published Friday, October 22, 2004 

STOCKTON -- The family of a 
Stockton man who died two months ago at a state prison in Vacaville plans to file a $60 million lawsuit today in federal court claiming correctional officers denied the ailing inmate medical care that could have saved his life.

Ersel Ware, 50, suffered a heart attack and collapsed Aug. 18 during a handball game in the yard at California State Prison, Solano, said Beverly Hills attorney Mark Ravis. Ravis said he is filing the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California in Sacramento on behalf of Ware's widow and 11 surviving children who live in Stockton.

Ware had served six years of a 10-year sentence in the Vacaville prison. Ware pled guilty in 1998 to shooting Ulysses Hall at McKinley Park during an argument over which man could set up a food booth for a softball tournament. Hall, a Stockton resident at the time, was injured but did not die. Terry Thornton, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Corrections, said claims that correctional officers denied Ware medical care after his heart attack are not true.

Hundred of inmates witnessed Ware collapse and saw staff respond immediately, Thornton said. "How can something like that happen in front of inmates and staff?" she said. "That's impossible." Ravis said those same witnesses support his claim that Ware lay on the ground under the August sun for 27 minutes untouched. A correctional officer ordered another inmate at gunpoint to stop administering first aid on Ware, Ravis claims. The case has constitutional underpinnings, Ravis said in a phone interview this week. Correctional officers violated Ware's protection against cruel and 
unusual punishment when they denied him treatment, Ravis said.

"Apparently, there's a policy at prisons not to give emergency medical care to inmates who collapse," Ravis said. "To me, that's beyond belief." The lawsuit names at fault prison guards at the 
Vacaville prison, CDC Director Jeanne Woodford and Youth and Adult Corrections Agency Secretary Roderick Hickman. The family seeks $10 ermillion for their emotional suffering and another $50 million for punitive damages, Ravis said. Ravis said he expects to file that lawsuit today. If so, it would be the third wrongful-death lawsuit Ravis has filed in recent weeks on behalf of families of inmates who died inside the California prison system. The family of Anthony Shumake, 41, of Richmond filed a wrongful-death suit on Sept. 29. Shumake died in June from dental infection after having a tooth surgically removed, according to newspaper accounts. Shumake suffered a swollen neck and could not eat for six days. 

Jailers transported him for treatment more than two hours away to the Doctors Hospital in Manteca, where he died, rather then treating him near the Vacaville prison. He was serving a 12-year sentence for spousal abuse, stalking and for a drug offense. On Sept. 13, Donald Frederick Swisher's family filed a wrongful-death suit claiming that the inmate, 34, from Merced shouldn't have succumbed to pneumonia in April. 

Staff at the California Medical Facility in Vacaville did not respond to Swisher's plea for treatment, according to newspaper accounts. Prisoner advocate Cayenne Bird said winning a court case against the CDC is unlikely. But filing three suits in rapid succession is a strategy for bringing reform to the troubled prison system, she said. Bird is director of United for No Injustice, Oppression or Neglect, or UNION. The California-based prisoner-advocacy group is backing the lawsuits as well as a campaign to reform the state prison system. 

Cayenne said the California prison system is claiming the lives of inmates who aren't sentenced to death. The families and prisoner advocates involved in the lawsuits will gather Saturday to raise awareness of the problems in the state's prison system. "We're wanting to make noise about this kind of inhumane treatment," Bird said. "It's going to cost and it's unacceptable." 

Stockton resident Tommie Muhammad, 58, said his younger brother, Ersel Ware, was looking forward to leaving prison within a year and getting on with his life. Muhammad said Ware had never been to prison before. He was from a large, respected Stockton family and not a hardened 
criminal. Prison staff treated his brother like an animal up to the time he died in their care, Muhammad said. "It's cruel and unusual punishment to let him lay out in the hot sun and to let him die," Muhammad said. "The system doesn't care." * To reach reporter Scott Smith, phone (209) 546-8296 or e-mail  ssmith@recordnet.com
 


 Ersel Ware - Press Conference - October 23, 2004

 Solano Inmate Deaths

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