The riot in 2008. “Why we did what we did and what happened to us afterward.”


Peace. My name is Righteous Justice God Allah. I am a life-long member of the Durham County Community. I was born, raised, and incarcerated in Durham. I was given a copy of Feedback by a home front named Lizard. And it touched me to see that someone actually cares what happens to the inmates, detainees, and falsely accused. I’ve been in and out of the Durham County court system since I was 16 years old. So I’ve seen the worst the DCJ has to offer; back when it was the 7th floor and located on the top of the old court house, to when they moved to the new and current building in 1995. Back then I didn’t know what it was to fight for your rights as a man and most importantly as a human being. But I did learn that later in life. You or some of your people might have heard or read about the riot in the jail in 2008 where two offers were hurt, but what you haven’t heard or read ‘bout is what lead up to the riot, why we did what we did, and what happened to us afterward. Well, the conditions in DCJ have always been impossibly unbearable to live in. In 2008 the higher ups started something called 65 and over, which means when a pod goes over 65 inmates they do half and half. The top comes out one at a time and the bottom comes out at one time. The problem was they wasn’t being fair with the times out and they was not giving us our full time out. So the first time this happened we took it on the chin. The second time we had a sit down protest. After that a number of things happened that turned the whole thing violent. First Officer Harris and Stg. Jones assaulted a young man ‘bout 20-22 years old for standing his ground when Office Harris took his canteen from Pam and refused to give it to him. Next, myself and about 4 more inmates asked Sgt. Peele to remove Officer Harris from 3-D and put him somewhere else on the third floor. Sgt. Peele said that he would do this to keep the drama down. But 4pm when it was time for the bottom half to come out, Officer Harris was back on the block. And he was salty ‘cause we put the Sgt. on him, so to get back at us he wouldn’t let bottom out until 6pm which only gives us an hour to use the phone, take a shower, and eat dinner. Because according to DCJ policy in 2008 “all inmates, detainees, etc…shall have rec, shower, phone, etc…at the time of 4pm-7pm with the exception of all persons on D-Seg.” So when around 6:40pm Officer Harris tried to lock us down early as so-called punishment for going to the Sgt. and the rest was on the news. What’s not on the news is how Sgt. Elibi, Sgt. Peele, Sgt. Jones (The Old Man), Sgt. Jones (Blg Black from booking), Staff Sgt. Russell, Officer Elliot (Big “E”), Officer Minnor, Officer Alston, Officer Midgett (White Boy), Officer G-Money, and two other officers I can’t remember names that this time – all came to Pod 3-A the next day and attacked everybody from 3-D who was in the block at the time of riot. 8 of us was physically attacked. Out of that 8, 4 of us was seriously hurt, myself included. Our injuries ranged from a swollen eye to a broken nose to fractured or cracked ribs. We received no medical attention. When I finally seen the DCJ doctor, like the others, I was told that for what I did and my involvement in the riot that I couldn’t even get a painkiller from medical. And that was just the start of our torment. After the beatings we was left in empty cells with whatever we had on when Durham Police and Sheriff Dpt. Took us from 3-D to 3-A. We wasn’t given a mat to sleep on for 3 weeks. Then two weeks after that we was given sheets and a blanket. We wasn’t allowed to use the phone, send or receive mail, no visits (from lawyers or family the whole time we showed any injuries). Then 3 more weeks after we was given sheets they gave us our property back, but only hygiene products. Two weeks later we was given back all the mail that had come to us in that time frame and allowed to use the phone. We suffered for the people that came after us so [they] could live better, but I see now that it was all in vain. The administration at DCJ didn’t learn anything from the riot in 2008. And I say [that] because their still oppressing the inmate/detainee population in the DCJ. And the fact remains that its not just Durham, but the whole NC judicial system that’s flawed and very insufficient. So for the inmates/detainees of DCJ or anywhere can receive the rights awarded to them by the U.S. Constitution the whole judicial machine must be fixed. There is a problem when a man/women is accused of a crime, jailed with a medical condition, but can’t get the medical care they need because they want $20 for a sick call. That’s a lot to pay when you’re in jail without any money. And the jail won’t see you unless you have $20 to pay. Then add insult to injury, the medical staff is only gonna give you an ibuprofen or a non-aspirin and send you on your way. There are so many things wrong I cannot mention it all in this letter. So I will cut it short right here. Thank you for giving inmates/detainees of DCJ and DPS some where to speak and vent the issues around them.


Righteous Justice

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