Brown Press Conference
This violation of the 8th Amendment's cruel and unusual punishment prohibition will be challenged by a lawsuit filed on behalf of Brown's family by the law firm from Beverly Hills and filed in the Federal Central District Court.
CMC San Luis Obispo is a facility that is supposed to protect and care for the mentally ill. Anthony Brown was bipolar. When he acted out his mental illness, the guards killed him. Nothing was done to these guards to discipline them for cold-blooded murder.Another similar incident has already happened at CSP Lancaster. The prison successfully hid the inmate's name from the media. If the families of prisoners do not stand up against the abuse of mentally ill inmates and murder by pepper spray, conditions will worsen.Be there or send someone to stand for you.
The size of the crowd drives the media coverage. YOU are the crowd that is needed. Nobody is going to do your share of the writing to editors, showing up to press conferences and recruiting others to write and show up for you. The ONLY reason in the world our loved ones are suffering is because the politicians in power over us are put into office by law enforcement labor unions. We must organize and mobilize now. We outnumber them all but that doesn't matter unless we are organized activists. The UNION daily newsletter teaches you how to fight back within the system.
This is the 4th lawsuit UNION has supported to stand up to CDC since September 13, 2004 and the 6th since 1998.
Friday, November 12 at 10 a.m., - Rain or Shine - pack an umbrella
Roybal Federal Building
255 E. Temple at Los Angeles Street
Los Angeles, Ca.(the famed Olvera Street is four blocks away, Union Station is nearby so you can take the train)
South side of the Building by the Statue
Parking is $4 at lots on Main Street, near Olvera Street and shuttles run frequently so that you need not walk the four blocks to the courthouse.Go to www.mapquest.com to get driving directions from your house.
Wear Black if possible, plan to go to an inexpensive lunch with us afterward
Please pass this out at the prisons this week end and post to all lists. Passing email back and forth only causes reform if you are going to take a specific action after reading it such as writing to editors, showing up when called to prove we are intelligent enough to organize to file lawsuits, bringing others to join our UNION and getting out the vote.
B. Cayenne Bird, U.N.I.O.N. -P.O. Box 85, -Garden Valley,Ca. 95633
A lawsuit to challenge
the changes in Packages rules will be filed January 7, 2005. Plan to attend
that event too and bring people. The UNION needs more funds & volunteers
to be able to do real campaigns such as these. We have a statewide television
show "Cayenne Common Sense" exposing CDC abuses. Your help and participation
is necessary. We have no paid staff in the UNION, everyone is a volunteer
just like you.
Re: California Men's Colony Prisoner Death
Anthony "Kirk" Brown
Filing of Federal Lawsuit
A lawsuit will be filed on November 10, 2004 in the United States District Court for the Central District of California for the death/murder of Anthony Brown. The lawsuit names Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, YACA Secretary Roderick Hickman and CDC Director Jeanne Woodford as well as several prison guards and other personnel
A press conference regarding the case will be held on the south side of the Roybal Federal Building at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, November 12. A large number of inmate families in the inmate advocacy group UNION (United for No Injustice, Oppression or Neglect), are expected to attend including several whose loved ones have also died under questionable circumstances. Community leaders and health care advocates who are cooperating organizations in the UNION Coalition will also be present.
Mr. Brown was an inmate at the California Men's Colony ("CMC") in San Luis Obispo, one of only two prisons in the State with special medical programs such as a hospital where many mentally ill inmates are sent for special care. Mr. Brown was killed on August 27, 2004 by the guards at CMC by pepper spray to his face while wearing a spit mask and by blunt trauma around the neck area. Mr. Brown's mother said he was considered to be a "model prisoner". He was suffering with bipolar disorder but was in good physical condition.
In addition to filing the federal lawsuit, the attorneys are calling
for an independent criminal investigation of Brown's death. The attorneys
are demanding that the results of such a criminal investigation be made
public along with the results of any investigation already done by the
California Department of Corrections.
Mr. Brown leaves behind two children, ages 23 and 15, his mother and a large family in the Tulare area.
This is the fourth federal inmate wrongful death lawsuit filed by Ravis
& Martin in the past two months. To read the families' stories go to
the advocacy group UNION website www.1union1.com
on the net.
United for No Injustice, Oppression or Neglect
P.O. Box 85
Garden Valley, Ca. 95633
November 10, 2004
For Immediate Release
The UNION will host a press conference in support of the fourth inmate family lawsuit filed by the law firm of Ravis and Martin in the past two months for a wrongful death.
Each death is of vital importance to the UNION families of prisoners and humanitarians who comprise our coalition. Our position is one of zero tolerance toward state employees murdering inmates in our names and while being paid with taxpayer dollars.
Anthony "Kirk" Brown was brutally murdered by pepper spray under a spit mask according to reliable sources on August 27, 2004 at what is supposed to be a specialized facility designed to protect the mentally ill.
Brown was bipolar and known by others as a "model prisoner." But mentally ill inmates in prison cannot help but react to the oppressive environment of too many rules. Most of these rules are made up rogue guards as they go along. There is no accountability and no place for inmates and their families to go for help for what are usually preventable tragedies.
Instead of being healed for acting out, mentally ill are too often beaten and murdered by guards who are not nurses. The education level of the guards and the retributive, punishing mentality of the entire prison system too often causes an improper response. The mentally ill are not only punished with pepper spray and other barbaric weapons when a candy bar would probably settle them down, but they are prosecuted and in California, even executed with pride. They are punished and in this case, murdered for being mentally ill. And this happened in a hospital-like facility which is supposed to be one of the best in the State! Outrageous and unacceptable!
CDC cannot properly care for some 40,000 mentally ill inmates who are becoming much sicker due to the overcrowding and abusive environment that worsens each day.
Was this an isolated incident? NO! A second inmate was reported by the media to have died in the same fashion at CSP Lancaster, although the prison refused to release the name. A spit mask was reportedly put over his head and he too was sprayed until he died. It appears that the guards have found a new way to murder the inmates and get away with it.
Taking no action against murder by a spit mask and pepper spray that has happened twice in one month would be a very definite action that allows CDC to get away with murder. Every inmate is endangered when no action is taken to hold abusive guards accountable.
The results of this so-called investigation need to be made public right now. In nearly a decade as the UNION director, I have never seen a real investigation take place unless one of the guards or wardens initiated it, which was the case in the nine guards fired today. These are taxpayer-financed institutions running at 200% capacity and not a place where the mentally ill can heal and become productive members of society.
The devastation of this wrongful death leaves yet another large family grieving. Brown has a 23 yr. old daughter who is expecting a baby any day and a 15-year-old daughter as well as a mother who loves him. Aunts, uncles, cousins other people who will never get over it.
People who will present at the press conference include a number of families who loved ones are perishing and living an anguished life due to their mental health diagnoses in ad seg and SHUS, or who have died under questionable circumstances in state prisons.
The rain will be pouring down but we will be there, dressed in black to mourn the cruelty that inmates are enduring every day. The rain is symbolic of the millions of tears that mothers and other family members have cried for torture and murder in California's prisons.
Are these families who have suffered these losses criminals? No, they are innocent victims of crime and a system out of control. Who will be present? Doctors, journalists with loved ones in prison, teachers, nurses, social workers, health care advocates, students, not criminals but people who have suffered grave injustice and loss!
The collective total of all the lawsuits that will be represented there numbers in hundreds of millions of dollars. Most of it due to unbearable incompetence and callousness by politicians and legislators that allow these bloodhouses to run on a par with any third world country.
Anthony "Kirk" Brown was supposed to be released from prison next year! Someone didn't pay him for a brake job and he bumped the back of their car twice, he didn't have a long sentence.
In fact all four lawsuits that we have supported were all inmates with short sentences! NOT death sentences!
All of the bills that would have granted compassionate release, media access to the prisons, proper medical care for inmates were vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger under the assumption that families of prisoners are too uneducated to organize and support lawsuits. That was a wrong assumption, a big miscalculation and we will be at the press conference to prove that people very definitely care about what happens to inmates. The message to the Governor, CDC Director Jeanne Woodford, Agency Secretary Rod Hickman is that reform would be cheaper because we are fed up and aren't going to take this abuse any longer.
The families are devastated and we will stand in the rain in Los Angeles and shout and cry and alert the other voters in support of this legal action. The public is invited.
B. Cayenne Bird
530--621-0938 After Thursday night until Saturday only 818-255-8065
Friday, November 12 at 10 a.m., - Rain or Shine - pack an umbrella
Roybal Federal Building
255 E. Temple at Los Angeles Street
Los Angeles, Ca. (the famed Olvera Street is four blocks away, Union Station is nearby so you can take the train)
South side of the Building by the Statue Parking is $4 at lots on Main Street, near Olvera Street and shuttles run frequently so that you need not walk the four blocks to the courthouse.
Go to www.mapquest.com to get driving directions - plan to go to an inexpensive lunch with us afterward
The CMC is the second institution in the California Department of Corrections
to offer a hospice program to the inmate population. There are currently
26 volunteer inmates who completed the training program and are available
to visit terminally ill inmates who are housed in the institution hospital.
The training was developed and presented by local hospice staff, to closely
match training offered to volunteers within the community. According
to volunteer inmates
and inmate recipients of hospice care, the program is of great value on both sides of this very critical issue.
Posted on Sat, Nov. 13, 2004
Inmate's family claims murder
Lawsuit alleges correctional officers plotted to kill prisoner, but relatives of the victim offer no evidence
Family members of a prisoner who died after a struggle with California Men's Colony officers in August have sued top state officials, alleging that prison guards plotted the inmate's murder.
The wrongful death suit, filed Wednesday in a Los Angeles federal court, also alleges that correctional officers violated 46-year-old Anthony Kirk Brown's Eighth Amendment rights against cruel and unusual punishment before he died.
The lawsuit does not offer any evidence to back up the murder claim, simply saying Brown died "after being beaten, sprayed with pepper spray and suffocated."
An internal affairs unit with the California Department of Corrections and other agencies are still investigating the Aug. 27 incident and had yet to determine a cause of death, said Lt. Shelly Thompson, a CMC spokeswoman. She declined any further comment because of the pending suit.
Thompson previously said that no CMC staff members are suspected to have caused Brown's death and none have been placed on administrative leave.
Brown had been at CMC since February 2003 on a Tulare County conviction of theft and assault with a deadly weapon.
In August, prison officials said Brown became agitated with staff and struck an officer on the forehead, causing bruising and swelling above the officer's eye. When Brown then allegedly moved toward another officer, staff used pepper spray to subdue him.
Officers took him to the prison hospital, where "he became agitated again and was thrashing about," Thompson said days after the incident.
So staffers then restrained Brown in a hospital bed on his side, prison officials said. Around 7 p.m., medical staff noticed he had stopped breathing and tried to resuscitate him. He was pronounced dead at 7:40 p.m.
Mark Ravis, a Beverly Hills attorney who filed the suit, said officers applied a "spit mask" on Brown to prevent him from spitting at them.
"They had to know that using this amount of pepper spray inside a mask was going to cause death," said Ravis, who is also a medical doctor. "If you spray pepper spray underneath that thing, you get a concentration of it being inhaled and then you're not getting any air."
Brown's family hopes the suit will draw attention to the correctional officers' actions, Ravis said.
Brown's mother, Francis Brown, and daughter, 23-year-old Jamila Brown, seek at least $75,000 in damages and are asking for a federal jury trial.
They have named as defendants Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, CDC Director Jeanne Woodford, CMC Warden John Marshall, sheriff's watch commander Sgt. Pete Hodgkin, who responded as coroner, and unnamed correctional officers and other prison staff.
Ryan Huff covers courts and county issues for The Tribune. He can be reached at 781-7909 or rhuff@thetribune .