United for No Injustice, Oppression or Neglect
CMC San Luis Obispo
|For the many people it took to locate the family of the inmate
pepper sprayed to death at CMC San Luis Obispo, please know that I have
located his family thanks to everyone's help.
He was a mentally ill inmate, bi-polar and suffering from manic/depressive disorder and on medication for many years.
Do you recall when I saw the notice of his death thatI commented it had the stench of abuse of a mentally ill inmate? I have now confirmed his condition.
He had relatives and children who loved him. His cousin has been a well known pastor in the Tulare area for 40 years.
I've been investigating this matter and I can tell you right now that I don't like what I see!
The family told me his face was so swollen from the pepper spray that he was totally unrecognizable. His 20 yr old pregnant daughter sobbed over the loss of her father.
Once again. I cried too.
How many more people are going to die at the hands of these bullies and thugs that we finance with our tax dollars?
Patty, Sandy, Janie, Clarence and half the town of Tulare assisted me
in finding his family, it's an incredible tale of what our motivated UNION
network can do with absolutely no information to go on.
Posted on Tue, Aug. 31, 2004
CMC probing inmate's death
Anthony Brown died Friday less than two hours after he reportedly hit an officer; no CMC staff members are suspected of wrongdoing
California Men's Colony officials and the Sheriff's Department are investigating the Friday death of an inmate.
Anthony Brown, 46, was pronounced dead in the prison's hospital less than two hours after he reportedly assaulted an officer.
No CMC staff members are suspected to have caused Brown's death, said prison spokeswoman Lt. Shelly Thompson, and none have been placed on administrative leave.
According to Thompson, Brown "became agitated with staff" around 6 p.m. Friday while in his living unit. He hit an officer on the forehead with either his elbow or fist, Thompson said, causing bruising and swelling above the officer's right eye.
When Brown then moved toward another officer, Thompson said, staff used pepper spray to subdue him.
The inmate then complied with orders and was taken to the prison hospital, which Thompson said is standard procedure after an altercation.
However, at the hospital, "he became agitated again," Thompson said. "He was thrashing about."
Brown was restrained in a hospital bed, and prison staff held him on his side to avoid positional asphyxia, Thompson said. That is a condition in which a body is placed in a position that interferes with breathing.
Jay Vestal of California Valley died in August 2003 of positional asphyxia while being arrested by sheriff's deputies. The FBI, Sheriff's Department and District Attorney's Office have all separately cleared deputies of wrongdoing in that case.
In the CMC hospital, Brown was trying to move around but eventually settled down, Thompson said. Around 7 p.m., prison staff noticed he had stopped breathing. Medical staff tried to resuscitate him, but he was pronounced dead at 7:40 p.m.
An autopsy, which will indicate the likely cause of death, is not expected for a week or two, Thompson said.
The Sheriff's Department is investigating Brown's death. Department officials could not be reached late Monday for comment.
CMC and the state Department of Corrections are also investigating.
"There's no indication that there was any excessive use of force or that there was anything done that's outside the law," Thompson said. "It's an unfortunate incident. As with anything like this, we want it fully investigated in order to clear any cloud of doubt."
No other inmates were involved, Thompson said. Three officers handled the initial assault. In all, 19 prison employees -- including medical and correctional staff -- were involved with Brown's restraint and attempted resuscitation.
Brown had been at CMC since February 2003 on a Tulare County conviction of theft and assault with a deadly weapon, Thompson said.
She said she did not have any more information about his criminal or prison history. She could also not say if he had been involved in similar altercations at CMC.
Brown's family was notified of his death Saturday.
October 29, 2004 U.N.I.O.N. Newsletter
This story disturbed me at the time, Brown was killed on my son's birthday with pepper spray and a spitter's mask.
Comments were made from families of prisoners that they had put the pepper spray directly down his throat and that his cellmate was yelling "he can't breathe, he can't breathe" but they just kept on spraying.
Then it was rumored that the FBI was involved and one of the guards told on the others that the pepper spraying did go too far.
So with only a name in a newspaper clipping our UNION network set about to find Anthony "Kirk" Brown's family. His obit said that he was buried in Tulare and that he had been a car mechanic there.
So when I was driving back from visiting Eric last month, I stopped and tore the Brown page out of the phone book. Patty in Riverside started making calls to see if someone knew or was related to Anthony.
The funeral home couldn't give us his mother's name.
So then Patty sent her 70 yr old mother to Tulare on the mission of going to the courthouse to find his criminal file with the hope that some family connection would be in there. The first day Patty's mother arrived in Tulare from Riverside, she came down with the flu and wound up in the hospital!
So I asked Rosemary, psychotherapist and one of our long time UNION folks in Fresno to go look up the information. She then asked Janie, a native of Tulare and a school teacher in a neighboring town nearby to get it done.
Sandy in Washington paid for a background search on Privateeye.com and we found Anthony's former address, this was $50 well spent! We found his landlord and from there connected with his small family.
He was in fact mentally ill and had a bipolar disorder for many years which the article does not mention.
Four days before he was murdered by the guards with pepper spray, he sent his important papers and good bye letters to his relatives. He knew that he was targeted.
He was very much loved by his family, had three children and one of them is currently pregnant and a legal clerk.
CMC is supposedly a place where medically and mentally ill inmates can go to be protected from themselves and others. Whenever the mentally ill act out in California's prisons they can expect to be severely beaten or killed. This is because CDC does not know how to handle medically or mentally ill people who shouldn't be in prison in the first place.
The nightmare doesn't end here folks. This exact same scenario of murder by pepper spray under a spitter's mask happened two weeks ago at CSP Lancaster. After reviewing the autopsy report, I have begged Attorney Mark Ravis to take a look at this case.
Death by "excitement" and "struggle of restraint" doesn't cut it with me. Besides being bipolar, Brown was a healthy man with a good heart. He was 72 inches tall and weighed 260 lbs. He knew that he was going to be killed.
This is homicide and if we let these two cases go and do nothing here, more and more deaths by pepper spray under spitter's masks will occur.
Our army tracked this man's famly down, now what do YOU think we ought to do about this situation? Ignore it? These other groups send email back and forth to one another and write electronic letters thinking that will result in reform.
The UNION is the only prayer that inmates and their families have for reform.
Letters to editors count, especially the NUMBER sent in on a topic but reform comes from organizing and funding a large voting group that can do lawsuits and initiative campaigns. The politicians are very certain that families of prisoners are too ignorant to do this, too dysfunctional to put together large rallies and lawsuits.
In the past, before the UNION, this was true.
Now it is no longer true.
So tell me what you think we should do about murder by pepper spray TWICE since August 27? What if hospitals murdered the mentally ill for acting out with pepper spray? We'd have a huge death toll because that's what mentally ill people do - lose their cool.
Brown was unarmed. A big tiger in a zoo would get a dart.
Brown could have gotten a shot to calm him down. Once restrained pepper spray isn't necessary. They murdered him at the prison. Most of them time death is pronounced at the hospitals so that the actual death toll in prisons can be covered up.
They treat mentally ill inmates in a harsh fashion because they can and for another reason.
And here we have five Bozo Governors standing up to say that addicts
and the mentally ill should be kept in these mismanaged bloodhouses even
though basic medical care cannot be provided (not to mention clean water,
clean facilities, decent food, rehabilitation, education
Each time that a death goes unpublished and unprotested by you, the families of prisoners, that gives CDC permission to kill or caused to be killed more inmates.
At Lancaster we need more members on "D" yard as the recent deaths are being kept very, very quiet.
We do have a prison employee communicating with us but we should all
keep digging for this family contact information.