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

Ersel Ware Press Conference - Stockton - October 23, 2004



UNION sponsored the press conference for the filing
of the wrongful death of Ersel Ware in Stockton.
There are more than 100 Californians connected to Ersel
Ware in his immediate family alone. These are wife Barbina, sons
and daughters. None of them will ever get over how he was denied
CPR and emergency medical care for 27 minutes at CSP Solano
under Warden Thomas Carey. Even through their loss, the
Ware family is mobilizing in the UNION to recruit others to write, protest, 
get together or stand up to CDC with lawsuits and getting out the vote.
The entire press conference  was  caught on
video tape and will air statewide on public stations on the UNION's
television show, Cayenne Common Sense.
 
 
 

At the Ware press conference after wide coverage by Associated 
Press other UNION families whose loved ones died under 
suspicious circumstances attended. Mary Clark at the microphone 
describes her late husband Jim Clark's death by pneumonia at 
CSP Wasco. left to right the mother and sister of Hime Galindo 
described abuse and neglect at Mule Creek State Prison before 
Hime died there, Jim Moore detailed his brother Jerry Moore's 
death at High Desert State Prison where he was left for a full hour 
before medics came to find him dead, plus he was ignored for 
three days prior, Elizabeth Sewell talked about the neglect of her 
husband Willy before he died at Mule Creek. Mary Clark's mother 
Paula is the far right lady in blue. All four families are active in the 
UNION. There were six families grieving over wrongful death at 
the Ware Press Conference including the Anthony Shumake 
family. Associated Press, the Reporter in Vacaville and the 
Stockton Record gave extensive coverage of the conference.


 
 
The UNION hosted a press conference on Saturday, October 23, 2004 at:

Unity Southern Baptist Church
1545 Rosemarie Lane
Stockton, CA

If you fell down at your prison, whom would come to your aid?  How long would it take for an ambulance to arrive?

What is the emergency response policy at your prison?

Do you know?

Too many people, both visitors and inmates have died needlessly.  It's time for the familie of prisoners to take a stand. 

Ersel Ware was a beloved man by his family and his community.



Press Conference sponsored by
United for No Injustice, Oppression or Neglect
UNION
P.O. Box 85
Garden Valley, Ca. 95633
 www.1union1.com

Date:     October 23, 2004

Re:        Ersel Ware Press Conference Saturday Oct 23
             ll am
             Unity Southern Baptist Church
             1545 Rosemarie Lane
             Stockton, CA
 

    Mr. Ware died at the California State Prison in Solano County on August 18, 2004.  He collapsed in the prison yard.  According to eyewitnesses, no one was allowed to come to his aid for nearly 30 minutes.    Prisoners and staff were ordered NOT to aid Mr. Ware.  He died.  He is survived by a wife, eleven children,  twenty grandchildren and fifteeen brothers and sisters with large families. 

  The cause of death was a myocardial infarction (heart attack).  A lawsuit will be filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California for violation of  Mr. Ware’s Eighth Amendment Rights which prohibit cruel and unusual punishment and prohibit the denial of medical care to inmates who require it.  The lawsuit will seek an injunction against the California Department of Corrections from enforcing any policy which prohibits giving inmates timely emergency care.

    The lawsuit names prisons guards at CSP Solano, CDC Director Jeanne Woodford  and Roderick Hickman, Secretary of the Youth and Adult Corrections Agency among others.

    This is another one of several recent deaths involving misconduct on the part of the California Department of Corrections.  This press conference is part of a concerted effort by lawyers and the UNION (United for No Injustice, Oppression  or Neglect) to raise public awareness of prison conditions particularly the failure to deliver medical care.
To see the stories of Ersel Ware and other families whose inmate has died or been permanently injured  go to  www.1union1.com



Press Release from:  United for No Injustice, Oppression or Neglect UNION
October 19, 2004  530-621-0938

We as citizens  must officially demand an investigation and definition of the emergency response policy in California's prisons and jails.  The Deukmajian Report criticized that  all these institutions operate as individual fifedoms and we agree that this is very definitely a problem.  Each prison has a separate emergency response policy and this should be public information but no one can get it by simply inquiring. 

A Freedom of Information Act demand letter is the only way to get a basic prison policy . Whatever the policy for CSP Solano, a prison where at least two other inmates have died due to medical neglect besides Ersel Ware since April, it must comply with the penal code and Title 15 - both of which demand emergency medical treatment.

Prisons are taxpayer financed institutions and the public has a right to know policies that are resulting in millions in lawsuit payouts for mostly preventable emergencies.

We must demand the CDC discipline and fire guards and other state employees for medical neglect and stop this INHUMANE and unconstitutional practice of failing to come to the aid of collapsed visitors and inmates. 

Law enforcement-elected politicians are never going to do the right thing without lawsuits. It is a sad day when State murder by medical neglect is tolerated by anyone. The UNION families are fighting back!  This is the third legal action our citizen's coalition has vowed to support this month and a fourth is coming.

At $60 million each, the message to the Governor, Legislators and Department of Corrections is that reform would be much cheaper.  The families of  prisoners are taking a collective stand and are no long operating from a position of weakness and dysfunction.  We are organizing and mobilizing as many of the three million  voters connected to state prisoners as we possibly can to elect people to office who will be SMART ON CRIME and put more emphasis on prevention and healing.

There are too many people in prison.  The system cannot handle the load and as a result the inmates are suffering and dying needlessly. The destruction on the families of this unbearable incompetency is too great.
 

Citizens who would like to become more involved are invited to attend our press conference Saturday October 23, 2004.  Community Leaders which include some of the family members of Ersel Ware will be present to make a call for justice and for immediate reform.

ll am
Unity Southern Baptist Church
1545 Rosemarie Lane
Stockton, CA
 

B. Cayenne Bird



Some history of other cases where emergency services were delayed.

There have been a number of instances where basic first aid has been denied to an inmate or visitor.  I am very familiar with the following situations - I wrote this in my March 15, 2004 newsletter

I waited a few days for the Los Angeles Times to write this story, but all it was amounted to a couple of paragraphs. 

Toua Harrison won't be able to attend his wife Vernicia Harrison's,  funeral but he was with her when she died  in the visiting room on Lancaster's A yard in front of his eleven year old daughter. 

Of course there are two versions, there always are when prison guards and the inmates tell their stories.

But this time it was different, the public saw what happened. Several of them were interviewed for this report and no conflicts in their statements were made. It all occurred in California State Prison, Los Angeles County in Lancaster on Saturday March 6th. A Mother and 11 year old daughter were visiting her husband (father) on "A" Yard (the honor yard) Visiting. 

The room was packed with  more than 40 families, possibly a total of 130 people. As usual, the air  conditioning was not working very well. A woman had just returned from the  vending machines which dispense food for lunch or snacks. She collapsed on the floor.  By pure chance a nurse and a paramedic were also visiting and went to her assistance immediately. The guard sounded the alarm which in minutes brought twenty or so guards rushing into the room. 

The story the prison gave versus the visitors immediately changes from this point on. Many visitors claim the collapse occurred at about 11 AM but the prison claims it was 11:15. The MTAs (guards with some medical training) arrived and tried to separate the nurse and paramedic from the victim and tried to sit her up claiming that she had only passed out. 

One visitor observed she has lost her water, a sign that the event was very serious and not just a faint. The nurse would not move and began resuscitating again. The MTAs stood by unable to help. The paramedic calmly requested oxygen and a defibrilator be brought. There was no defibrillator and the first oxygen bottle was empty an second was obtained. 

The paramedic was heard to say, "Is this all you have?" Valuable time and maybe a life was being lost. Most of the guards continued to stand around and the families watched in horror. There is a medical facility at the prison but no staff work on the weekend. There is also an ambulance on the grounds but it never came. Some even claimed it didn't work but with only MTAs and no medical professionals there was little the available staff could do. The local hospital was called at some point. The visitors claim no ambulance arrived until 45 minutes after the collapse. The prison claims less than 15.

The visitors claim it wasn't until 12 noon that she was removed one hour later. She was pronounced dead at the hospital but since a doctor must make the determination she may have been dead, as one guard insensitively said in the room with her daughter present and frightened, "...when she hit the floor." 

The question of the timing of these events might be resolved if the camera located in visiting to monitor behavior by the guards recorded the incident as it should have. Unfortunately these tapes seem to mysteriously disappear, but if it was an inmate cuddling his wife too closely, it would be available for his hearing. 

The questions raised by this incident are serious. With more than 5,000 people at the facility, why isn't medical staff help available? Why is the alert for a medical problem identical to that for a prison riot? Why is there no defibrillator? If this is how visitors are treated, what must the inmates face? 

The amount of money the state spends on prisons is more than adequate to take care of medical needs. Why did the California Department of Corrections have to be sued for millions a few years ago to provide such care and then apparently ignore the settlement? It might be possible to hide the deaths inmates dying of medical neglect, but when it begins happening to family members on a weekend visit, it is time for CDC to start living up to its own rules and promises. Is this the first time that visitor has died due to the lack of medical personnel, staff and equipment at prisons.  NO!  HELL NO! 

Please read the account of the death of visitor Jack Kryder on the same day Stephanie Hardie was allowed to die of medical neglect that I wrote in 2000 here.
   http://www.1union1.com/advice12.htm

How many of the inmate families who witnessed this unbearable incompetence and gruesome death will organize to end medical neglect? I went before the senate over Jack Kryder's death. I made big noise to the press.  Yes, a  124,000,000 lawsuit was won, but why the hell didn't it make conditions any better? 

  Almost every airplane has defibrillators but prisons holding 3,000 to 5,000 people do not have them, what the hell is going on here? If inmate families don't care enough to organize to elect people to office who are going to treat people as humans, then we must take what the law enforcement voting groups give to us.  Which is sheer hell on earth.  How many DOA's are pronounced at the hospital instead of at the prison? 

B. Cayenne Bird 



I recall Dr. John Videen visiting at Valley State Prison and being denied the opportunity to give CPR who collapsed in the visiting room - even though he is a medical doctor.  I believe this was Eva Vallario

In all instances, there were people qualified to help but the guards would not allow it.
And the worst case of all was when  my son, Eric Knapp, an experienced EMT was standing next to a young man named Michael Nottingham at Calipatria prison in 1994 or thereabouts.  All he had was heat stroke and he could have been saved.

Eric was ordered at gunpoint to get away from him and he will never get over watching this boy die a very preventable death.  He tells me now, ten years later that he wishes he would have told the guards to go ahead and shoot him but that he was helping Nottingham anyway.

The same thing happened when an inmate who knew CPR tried to help Ersel Ware and like me, his mother cried at what our sons must witness and bear that is worse than treatment in any third world country.  She and I cried together as she was telling me this story of his body lying on that handball court so long that  "the sun moved" that day.



These are comments from the mother of another deceased inmate due to medical neglect.

Cayenne

Since I cannot be at the rally for Ersel Ware, I would appreciate it very much if you or someone else would read this letter for me.My blessings and sympathy go out to all of Ersel Ware's family members and also to the family of Anthony Shumake. The immense loss all our families feel is something none of us should be experiencing at this time. None of our loved ones needed to die!

The penal system is to blame for not providing our family members with the proper medical care nor to they have any compassion for the families that are left behind. If these people had an ounce of caring in their bodies, they would step forward and prevent these tradegies from happening. However, the "good old boys" bond is greater between these correctional officers than the desire to do the right thing by reporting these "abuses" against the inmates.

Just because someone had a circumstance which sent him/her to prison does not mean they had to "DIE" for their mistake. We need to STAND UP for the RIGHTS of these inmates and SPEAK OUT about what's really happening to them behind the prison walls. 

We cannot let this abusive treatment go unnoticed! Tell everyone you know about these deaths and abuses, don't let the deaths of our loved ones and the mistreatment of others get swept under the rug.

Let our pain be felt by others and demand from all those in government to take heed. WE ARE ANGRY ABOUT THESE ABUSES AND WE ARE A POWER TO BE DEALT WITH!! WE ARE WATCHING AND THE PUBLIC WILL KNOW WHAT REALLY HAPPENS BEHIND THOSE DARK PRISON WALLS!!!

PRAY FOR ALL OUR FAMILIES! 

Beverly Bittner
Mother of Donald Swisher



This was written by a mother whose son is in desperate trouble right now. Rather than help him, they are transferring him, an alarming trend. There is no place to go for help even in potentially fatal emergencies.

Letter to the Editor
 Citizens of California, It's time we stand up for the rights of those who are not able to do so for themselves.  I'm talking about the inmates in our correctional institutions.  They are being denied proper medical care, being allowed to die because nobody seems to care.  Several deaths could have been avoided if only those sworn to care for them would have done just that, "care for them".

Not only are inmates being allowed to die, several citizens, visitors to loved ones, have also died because nobody reacted to help them.

It is time that those in charge be made accountable of their actions, or rather  non- actions.  This includes prison guards,  medical staff (if there is any), wardens, our state department of corrections, even our Governor.  All these people are responsible for the care and management of the inmates.  It's time now TO MAKE THEM RESPONSIBLE.

Help us by telling your representatives to approve a bill AB2742, so that those who deny medical care will be subject to disciplinary action or more.

Would we deny our household pets humane or proper care?  No!  So why then, should these men and women be treated any less?

Malissa Silveria



Cayenne: I collapsed after being forced to walk back from the Medical Department by MTA Franklin in Chino. I was escorted there in a wheelchair after a two hour wait in severe pain.
I layed on the cement in the hot sun no one was allowed to touch me, after 20 Min's. When I was only feet from the medical department did a inmate help me into a wheelchair and brought me back to the dorm, give two Motrin and thats it!!
Charles Wesley



Remember this situation which appeared in the Vacaville Reporter
 http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/Parliament/2398/Reportereditorial.htm

April 29, 1999 
Inmate death sparks inquiry

By Mike Adamick/Staff Writer 

California Medical Facility is under fire for what a statewide prisoners' rights group is labeling inmate abuse by a refusal to grant medical treatment. A day after being denied medical care at a CMF clinic, Harvey Cuffs, 47, was found lying in his Unit 4 cell at 10:05 a.m. April 15, according to sources. "We are investigating that allegation," said CMF spokeswoman Lt. Terry McDonald. "Inmates are not denied medical treatment. Inmate Cuffs was receiving on-going care." In fact, said McDonald, he was scheduled for a medical appointment the day he died. Cuffs was taken to the prison's emergency room where he was pronounced dead at 10:35 a.m., said McDonald. The Solano County Coroner's Office said he died of cirrhosis of the liver.

A statewide inmate rights group, UNION (United for No Injustice, Oppression or Neglect), says that Cuffs should have been given immediate treatment when he requested it the day before he died. At 2 p.m. April 14, Cuffs entered the Unit 4 medical clinic and told a medical technical assistant that he was feeling sick and had been vomiting blood, according to Lucinda Gunn, a UNION member whose husband was in the medical clinic at the time. 
Gunn's husband, an inmate, said Cuffs was given a sick call slip and told he would be treated later. Cuffs was found by correctional officers in his cell at 10:05 a.m., said McDonald. 

Cuffs was lying on the cell near the door in what appeared to be blood, she said. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation was started immediately and Cuffs was taken to the emergency room where he was pronounced dead. UNION members said Cuffs should have been found earlier in the morning during routine cell checks.

McDonald said officers checking the cells did not notice anything out of the ordinary. Cuffs was not lying on the floor during previous checks, she said. This is not the first time UNION has targeted the Vacaville prison with claims of abuse. The group said CMF erred when it double-celled inmates James Diesso and Jeffrey Ford last year.

Ford was found dead and Diesso has been charged with his murder. UNION, which claims to have more than 4,000 members, wants Diesso moved out of Vacaville, saying he is not getting the medical care he needs. CMF officials said Diesso would not be moved. 
 

B. Cayenne Bird
UNION
P.O. Box 85
Garden Valley, Ca 95633
530-621-0938
 http://www.1union1.com/com.html
 http://www.1union1.com/union_flyer.htm
 http://www.1union1.com/mission.html
 http://www.1union1.com/newsletter.html






 http://www.stocktonrecord.com/daily/news/articles/102404-gn-8.php#

Grieving families question inmate care

By Scott Smith
Record Staff Writer
Published Sunday, October 24, 2004 

 STOCKTON -- Stockton resident Ersel Ware suffered a heart attack two months ago and died in a courtyard at California State Prison, Solano. 

His family said at a gathering of inmate families Saturday that the 50-year-old would have survived if he had proper medical care. 

Elizabeth Sewell of Stockton said her husband, Willie, died from an aneurism in 2001 while an inmate at Mule Creek State Prison in Ione. He complained of heart pain but doctors treated his hemorrhoids, said Sewell, who believes his death could have been prevented. 

And Solano prison inmate Anthony Shumake, 41, died in a Manteca hospital six days after having a wisdom tooth pulled. His uncle, the Rev. Andre Shumake of Richmond, said he doesn't want another family to suffer the same pain of losing a loved one in the state's custody. 

"It appears medical neglect is a pattern and a practice of the California Department of Corrections," Shumake said. "Here in America, he had his tooth pulled, and he's dead." 

Shumake was among about 40 prisoner advocates and family members of inmates who died in custody of the California prison system who met Saturday at the Unity Southern Baptist Church on Rosemarie Lane. 

They said the gathering was to raise awareness to the quality of medical care California inmates receive. 

The event came a day after attorney Mark Ravis of Beverly Hills filed a third lawsuit in recent weeks charging the Department of Corrections with wrongful death. Each lawsuit seeks 
$60 million in compensation on behalf of the families. 

No one from the state Department of Corrections attended Saturday's gathering. But CDC spokeswoman Terry Thornton said Friday every death inside California's prisons is investigated. Every inmate death does not point to problems in the prison medical care, she said. 

"Those are not dots you can necessarily connect," Thornton said. "The CDC has vastly improved its medical care, but we still have a long way to go." 

Prisoner activist Cayenne Bird said the lawsuits are a political statement. Bird heads United for No Injustice, Oppression or Neglect, or UNION. The California-based group organized the Saturday gathering and a campaign to reform the state's prison system. "With $180 million in lawsuits filed within one month, we should get their attention," Bird said Saturday. 

Shumake's family filed its lawsuit on Sept. 29 with Ravis' help. The family of Donald Frederick Swisher, 34, of Merced filed its suit Sept. 13. Swisher's family maintains he did not receive adequate care for pneumonia while at the California Medical Facility in Vacaville, Ravis said. 

Ersel Ware's family filed a lawsuit in federal court Friday claiming correctional officers let Ware lay for 27 minutes without emergency treatment. Prison officials deny the charge. 

Ware collapsed Aug. 18 on the prison yard in Vacaville and never got up. Ware was serving a 10-year sentence after pleading guilty in 1998 to shooting Ulysses Hall at McKinley Park during an argument. 

Ware was the father of 11 children. One of his sons, Ersel Ware Jr., 19, said he expected his father to be released on parole within a year and return home. Absent a father, he now has three younger brothers whom he has to help his mother look after. 

"Everything has changed," the teenager said. "They look to me as a father figure. I'll do the best I can." 
 

* To reach reporter Scott Smith, phone (209) 546-8296 or e-mail ssmith@recordnet.com



Family of inmate who died files suit
TheReporter.com, United States - Oct 23, 2004
By Scott Smith/Stockton Record. The family of an inmate who died two 
months ago at California State Prison, Solano, filed a $60 
million ... 
 

Stricken inmate left untreated, lawsuit claims
San Jose Mercury News (subscription), CA - Oct 22, 2004
SACRAMENTO - California prisons' policy of keeping immediate 
untrained aid away from inmates or visitors in medical distress led 
to the unattended death of an ... 
 

Family of inmate who died files suit
TheReporter.com, United States - 23 hours ago
By Scott Smith/Stockton Record. The family of an inmate who died two 
months ago at California State Prison, Solano, filed a $60 
million ... 



The email address and website feedback for all these television and newspaper outlets can be found at this link.  Your letter keeps the issue in the eyes of the media.  These are serious matters of life and death and conditions worsen daily.  Do  your letter and get it to these media outlets!
 

 http://www.usnpl.com/canews2.html
 

Stricken inmate left untreated, lawsuit claims
KESQ, CA - Oct 22, 2004
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 ... 
 

Stricken inmate left untreated, lawsuit claims
San Diego Union Tribune, CA - 21 hours ago
By Don Thompson. SACRAMENTO - California prisons' policy of keeping 
immediate untrained aid away from inmates or visitors in medical ... 
 

Inmate was untreated, his family contends
Contra Costa Times (subscription), CA - 3 hours ago
By Don Thompson. SACRAMENTO - California prisons' policy of keeping 
immediate untrained aid away from inmates or visitors in medical ... 
 

Stricken Inmate Left Untreated, Lawsuit Claims
KCRA-TV, CA - Oct 22, 2004
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Stricken inmate left untreated, lawsuit claims
San Luis Obispo Tribune, CA - Oct 22, 2004
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Stricken inmate left untreated, lawsuit claims
Monterey County Herald, CA - Oct 22, 2004
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untrained aid away from inmates or visitors in medical distress led 
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Stricken inmate left untreated, lawsuit claims
Contra Costa Times (subscription), CA - Oct 22, 2004
SACRAMENTO - California prisons' policy of keeping immediate 
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to the unattended death of an ... 
 

Stricken inmate left untreated, lawsuit claims
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By DON THOMPSON. California prisons' policy of keeping immediate 
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Stricken inmate left untreated, lawsuit claims
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SACRAMENTO - California prisons' policy of keeping immediate 
untrained aid away from inmates or visitors in medical distress led 
to the unattended death of an ... 

Families of dead inmates speak out
TheReporter.com, United States - 3 hours ago
By Scott Smith/Stockton Record. Stockton resident Ersel Ware suffered 
a heart attack two months ago and died in a courtyard at California 
State Prison, Solano. ... 
 

Stricken inmate left untreated, lawsuit claims
KESQ, CA - Oct 22, 2004
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 ... 
 

Stricken inmate left untreated, lawsuit claims
San Diego Union Tribune, CA - Oct 23, 2004
By Don Thompson. SACRAMENTO - California prisons' policy of keeping 
immediate untrained aid away from inmates or visitors in medical ... 

Inmate was untreated, his family contends
Contra Costa Times (subscription), CA - 7 hours ago
By Don Thompson. SACRAMENTO - California prisons' policy of keeping 
immediate untrained aid away from inmates or visitors in medical ... 

Stricken Inmate Left Untreated, Lawsuit Claims
KCRA-TV, CA - Oct 22, 2004
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- California prisons' policy of keeping immediate 
untrained aid away from inmates or visitors in medical distress ... 

Stricken inmate left untreated, lawsuit claims
San Luis Obispo Tribune, CA - Oct 22, 2004
SACRAMENTO - California prisons' policy of keeping immediate 
untrained aid away from inmates or visitors in medical distress led 
to the unattended death of an ... 

Stricken inmate left untreated, lawsuit claims
Monterey County Herald, CA - Oct 22, 2004
SACRAMENTO - California prisons' policy of keeping immediate 
untrained aid away from inmates or visitors in medical distress led 
to the unattended death of an ... 

Stricken inmate left untreated, lawsuit claims
Contra Costa Times (subscription), CA - Oct 22, 2004
SACRAMENTO - California prisons' policy of keeping immediate 
untrained aid away from inmates or visitors in medical distress led 
to the unattended death of an ... 

Stricken inmate left untreated, lawsuit claims
Dateline Alabama, AL - Oct 22, 2004
By DON THOMPSON. California prisons' policy of keeping immediate 
untrained aid away from inmates or visitors in medical distress ... 

 


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