#JusticeForAbdul

#JusticeForAbdul

Abdul Jalil Rasheed-Burnette is a 20-year-old young man living with Autism and ADHD.  On April 17, 2017, he was arrested by officers of the Durham Police Department and charged with misdemeanor simple assault (stemming from a warrant issued on April 6, 2017 in response to a complaint made by Caleb Alexander Hoover on April 3), misdemeanor disorderly conduct at a public terminal, and misdemeanor assault on a government official/employee.  He was released on a $5,000 bond.  On May 25, 2017, he was arrested again and charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct, misdemeanor communicating threats, and misdemeanor assault on a government official/employee.  In addition, officer Baker of the DPD alleged that Abdul resisted during his arrest.  For these misdemeanors, Abdul was held in the Durham County Jail on a $13,000 bond, until on October 12, 2017, he was found incompetent to stand trial and all of the charges were disposed of.  However, instead of being released, Abdul was sent to Central Regional Hospital in Butner, NC for “evaluation” under H.B. 95, which allows pre-trial detainees to be held in a hospital until an adjudication of their competence can be made.  Abdul was held after October 12, even though he had already been found to be incompetent and his father had been appointed his legal guardian.

On April 24, Abdul was brutalized by the arresting officers.  He and his friends were walking from a friend’s grandmother’s house and the police pulled up and began harassing them.  When Abdul asked why they were being harassed, the police grabbed him and his friends and slammed him on his face.  Sergeant Johnson of the Durham Police Department later made a statement to Abdul’s mother, Estellalah Rasheed, admitting that officer Offenburg had subjected Abdul to excessive force.  Both Sergeant Johnson and Officer Offenburg are white.  Medical examination and photos later showed that Abdul had injuries to his head, face, and wrists.  Inside-Outside Alliance has obtained these photos from Abdul’s father.  On April 24, Abdul’s father filed a complaint with the Internal Affairs Unit of the Durham Police Department, who stated that they had received witness statements to the effect that Abdul had been harassed and assaulted by the DPD officers.  Captain Pickel of Internal Affairs also told Abdul’s father that Sergeant Johnson had requested medical leave for two weeks while the IA investigation took place, presumably to avoid accountability.  Since that time, however, he has not received any response to his complaint or even an acknowledgement of it.

As Inside-Outside Alliance, we want justice for Abdul Jalil Rasheed-Burnette not only because he has, himself, been heinously abused by every part of the “justice” system in Durham – brutalized by the police, held in the degrading conditions of the Durham County Jail, given an outrageous bond, and held far longer than was necessary or even legal by officials who are clearly incompetent, greedy, or both – but also because his case bears witness to the larger issue of how Durham County treats people with disabilities and mental health issues, particularly if they are black and working class.  While those wealthy and privileged enough to afford it can get treatment and care, Abdul’s case shows how Durham has effectively decided to make people with disabilities and mental health issues a police issue rather than a community or a medical issue.  This is why, even though seven people have died in the Durham County Jail in the last five years, even though it continues to cost $20 for those detained in the jail to see a doctor, and even though Inside-Outside Alliance and other community groups have documented a sustained pattern of abuse against detainees, the Durham County Board of Commissioners approved a $228,000 grant from the US Department of Justice and kicked in $55,205 of county money for the jail to create a “mental health pod” instead of redirecting those funds to provide disability and mental health services in the community.  Durham County has effectively decided that, at least for working class people and people of color, it will address the problem of mental health and disability with cops and jails, not with doctors and caring communities.  In Abdul’s case, we see the result of that decision: the brutal beating of an autistic kid, one instance among way too many more of violence and brutality towards the members of our community whom it should be our highest priority to support.

As Durham community members, as Inside-Outside Alliance, as friends and comrades of Abdul Jalil Rasheed-Burnette, we say NO MORE!

WE DEMAND

  1. The immediate and unconditional release from custody of Abdul Jalil Rasheed-Burnette.
  2. Police accountability – we want to know what Internal Affairs found and what, if anything, happened to the officers who beat Abdul.
  3. Documentation – we want any body camera and dash cam footage of Abdul’s arrest.
  4. Fire Chief “CJ” Davis – and all other police officers in Durham.
  5. Care for People with Disabilities and People with Mental Health Issues in the Community, not from Cops and Jailers – Durham County should take the $55,205 and any other money for the so-called “mental health pod” and put it towards community care instead of policing and incarceration.  The rest of the Sheriff’s budget, too.  Really, all expenses for health care should come directly out of the Sheriff Andrews’ salary and the Sheriff’s department’s budget.
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“being a freedom-fighter comes with its own particular vocabulary and diction”

Peace,

How are you?  I hope all is well.  I got your letter with a copy of the “Feedback.”  I really enjoyed this edition of Feedback (lol).

I don’t want to go off in a different world but I just want to vent a little bit.  Can anyone explain to me the reason for these “excessive bonds” Durham County is giving people?  Could it be that by law you can not deny a person a bond, unless he or she is an immediate danger to society, correct?  It looks like to me that the excessive bond has taken the place of having a no bond.  In reality, damn near everyone in jail has a no bondbecause the average Joe can’t post a hundred-thousand dollar bond and if he or she do post the bond he or she has to worry about the Feds coming to ask question about how they got the money.

Its the new way of holding people hostage in the blind-sight of the law.  The 8th amendment of the Constitution states “excessive bond not required.”  So, what’s making it be required?

Furthermore, how does a non-violent offense get a greater bond than violent offenses?  “It’s crazy.”  Lady justice sure is blind, she needs to retire or get her vision checked.  I believe we are political prisoners, we’re hostages held against our will, and are victims of law or victims of misused law.

We need to start protesting and agitating our local legislature to make them abolish all these racist and un-just laws.

The habitual felon law needs to be done away with, also prior record levels because it conflicts with the double jeopardy clause.

The state is adding more time to new offenses committed because of old offenses you did time for in the past.  So, in essence, I am being punished all over again for something I already been punish for.  “That’s crazy.”

But anyways, to move along, I believe words are powerful and very important.  Words alone can provide certain thoughts or ways of thinking.  We believe prisoners alone changes the dynamics of how society view prisoners.  Society has been shaped and molded to believe that all people that are incarcerated are crooks, liars, murderers, and con artists.  A people that can’t be trusted.  We believe prisoners says a lot, like, we believe that nobody is somebody, that’s someone’s mother, brother, uncle, wife, husband, etc.  That prisoners can be the next world leader.  Also, being a freedom-fighter comes with its own particular vocabulary and diction.  So, the choice of words is very important, especially, when it come to liberating the minds of the people.

Now, the subject about the black woman, I never meant to imply or make it seem that she was weak.  But to the contrary she was the strongest out of all.  She endure countless rapes, whippings, having her fetus cut from her body while still alive and having her children sold off and toss about from plantation to plantation and still come out the mother and cradle of civilization.  Of course, you going to have beautiful women like the ones that you named and the ones that haven’t even been born yet.

Also, you got to keep in mind that a lot of the slave that were already here were country born slaves.  So, most grew up knowing nothing but how to be a slave.  It was mostly the constant introduction of Africans from the on-going slave-trade that kept the seed of resistance in the country-born slave also.  For example, the Movie “Roots” by Alex Haley, which is a movie about slavery in America.  The African, Kunta Kintae, is brought on a slave ship to America from Africa and is forced into slavery.

On the plantation, he sees other slaves that begin to try and communicate with him and show him what is required of him, but the whole time in Kunta mind is how will he escape “bondage.”  The country born slaves is trying to get him to conform to their way of life which is slavery.  Kunta ended up running away twice and ended up caught each time.  Once he got a whipping in front of all the slaves, second time they chopped his foot off.  He was so strong minded that didn’t even stop him from wanting to be free again.  he didn’t even acknowledge his slave name “toby.”  he was so rebellious that his master had him whipped in public until he said his name was toby and even then he kept saying his name was Kunta.  The other slaves beg him to say his name is Toby, which he did in the end.  This is to show you a person who is educated that knows his God given right oppose to the ones that don’t know freedom.  Also, this tactic was used to put fear in the other slaves and naturally the mother pass this fear on to the children.  It was only self-preservation to ensure that her children don’t get beat or killed.  (Dang, I just realize I wrote a whole paragraph unrelated to the woman.  Its still information).  Even in the sixties, the parents of freedom fighters used to beg their children not to go bother the whites.  For an example, every time black folks riot, they don’t tear-up white folks stuff.  They tear up their own stuff.  Just like the jail and prisoners, the inmate will oppress and fight his fellow inmate for the simplest matter but the CO or the institution that is the real problem, he will not lift one finger to do any harm.

But anyways, Harriet Tubman said something back then that is relevant today: “I freed a thousand slaves; I could have freed ten thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.”  That quote is so damn powerful.  That’s what we are faced with today.  The people is so damn blinded that they can’t see the enemy.  Instead of racism being in plain view they hide it because, remember, power is mostly felt, in other words, I don’t got to call you a nigger, I can just treat you like one, this goes for nigger-lovers too! (lol)

I believe we have lost sight of our common enemy, and if racism isn’t knocking at our front door, then it simply doesn’t exist.

As far as jails and prisons goes, most of the people behind the walls do not know they are slaves and are being handled unjustly because it has become normal.  it, also, stems from a lack of proper education in our homse and schools.  Frederick Douglass in his narrative didn’t have a burning desire to secure his freedom until he became “educated.”  The prison industrial complex limited information to inmates  behind their walls.  They even got a ban on certain books that they want to allow in the prison.  They reason being is to keep the people asleep!!

Therefore, education is a very important key to liberation.  And not just any education, it got to be proper education.  Information that will open the eyes of the people to see the condition that they are in and the tools to change those conditions.

As for visitation, they already installed the monitors and will start the video-visitation the beginning of next month.  I heard a few say that they were going to break the monitors but that remains to be seen.  In reality, nobody is trying to stand up for anything.  To many people are for self and don’t want to sacrifice for the collective.  I told everyone all they got to do is refuse visitation, don’t work the kitchen, don’t work in the PODS, make the CO do everything and I promise they will take that stuff out.  Nobody is trying to buck, so we will see what happens after the first visit, which probably nothing will happen.

You stand for nothing, you fall for anything.

Sincerely,

Black Holocaust

‘What a screwed-up system!’

Thanks for your letter. I was surprised and glad to receive it. Please overlook my tardy reply…

I’ve heard some views about bail reform and I hope something positive comes about. These bonds are ridiculously high in Durham County. I just don’t get it. I was very happily surprised last month to hear I had a visitor (I don’t normally get them). I walked into the room and there was IOA member –. He asked me about the court date I had for the week of Feb. 6th, but I did not go. It turned out my lying lawyer again failed to file my motions to dismiss and to suppress in January as promised. Such motions are typically heard during the first full week of the month but must be filed during the previous month at least 5 working days in advance. Continue reading

“There is a word for what they are doing, It’s called price-gouging.”

____,

Thanks for checking in on me. It’s crazy to think an entire year has passed sitting in this jail! Nothing much has changed since the last time I wrote. At one point the jail was censuring my mail and refusing to give me certain letters, but those issues were straightened out a while ago after addressing the matter with Major Collins. It seems as if the Detention Officers sorting through mail were going about and beyond what they should have. The mail service here has really struck a nerve recently though. Apparently the jail ahs recognized several days as holidays that are not considered state holidays. As a result mail was not distributed or sent out for 6 days. This not only interfered with communication with family members over the holidays but also directly impeded our access to the courts. I know several individuals who prepared letters to be sent to the courthouse but that was halted until the Detention Officers felt like coming into work and doing their jobs. You are telling me that not a single officer in the entire jail could collect the mail and send it ot the post office in that 6 day time period? Come on!

I did catch the “Night Without Detensions” protest on the news where individuals shut down the entrance into the jail by shackling themselves together. I’m glad people on the outside have the courage to draw attention to the rights Detainees are supposed to have. I’m also glad to hear that the complaints written to the Human Relations Commission of Durham has pulled some weight which led to recommendations on improving the jail. I would definitely like to see what recommendations they have provided! I know that IOA has been aggressive with coordinating an independent investigation into the jail, especially since January, and I hope this is one step closer to reaching that goal. I’m sure a lot will be uncovered during the results of any investigation of this jail. Some of what I read is unfortunately exaggerated and I wish people would stick to the facts instead of falsely inflating petty matters, but there is some truth to everyone’s comments. Many things are wrong here that need to be fixed!

I’m also surpirsed the Human Relations Commission expressed concern about the private companies profiting so much from Detainees. There is a word for what they are doing, It’s called price-gouging. And unfortunately it’s not just the private companies fault, but the jail’s too. From what I understand ARAMARK has won the new contract for canteen/commissary, they aren’t going anywhere. However, the jail charges ARAMARK to sell their pdocuts here. Part of the reason prices on canteen are so high is to blaance out what the jail charges to even sell the items. We are a captive audience and have no choice but to pay these ridiculous prices on items and ARAMARK knows this. I don’t blama ARAMARK for trying to make money, but there really needs to be boundaries on how much they can inflate these prices!

As for the Human Relations Commission recommendation to abolish bail, seems a bit far fetched to me. I do agree that bail in Durham is excessive in many cases, to the point that not even a wealthy many could post bond. Simply, the point of bond and detention is to make sure you come to court. I would assume many people have all intentions of coming to court, but I know some, are going to flee any chance they get. For that reason part of me agrees with bond, but something that is reasonable at the very least. Of course everyone who is being detained is going to support the contention of abolishing bail. That would mean we wouldn’t be detained any longer. However, I know this jail brings in a lot of money to this city (over $21 million) and many jobs, all of which would suffer if bail was abolished. THe state and county would never let that happen.

I know IOA has wored very hard and has made substantial progress with the jail. What I would like to see is the same progress with the DA’s office. I have had the pleasure over the past year to witness a lot of questionable behavior come out of that office. And the Assistant District Attornies have perfected every under-handed trick in the book to delay, keep you from getting a bond reduction, add more charges months down the road to railroad you and further enhance your bond, mishand evidence, and did I mention they delay your case? I have heard the prosecutor make every excuse imaginable to continue or delay my case from “I was on vacation and need more time,” to “my child was sick and I haven’t had a chance to look at the case,” and my favorite “I want more time so I can offer a plea bargain he probably won’t accept.” But yet somehow they always are able to prevail and get a continuance to the next month, sometimes 2 months. With all that said, I’m hoping to mave on to trial soon. It only took 14+ months to get to this point. Oh, I forgot to mention I had a court hearing the first week of January, and yes, it was continued to February. I think this excuse tops them all. Over the past year my attornies have easily widdled away at the states case and 2 separate search warrants were found to be defective. Which translates to Durham police officers violating my 4th amendment rights and numerous North Carolina statutes repeatedly. Judges ruled in each instance police officers conducted an illegal search. At the court hearing in January, the prosecutor wanted a continuance so they could now go back and search the same place that they had illegally searched to begin with. This is or would be an illegal search again in an attempt to exploit information that a judge has already suppressed. Basically, the prosecutor asked for a continuance so they could conduct an illegal search! Crazy. But nothing surprises me here in Durham anymore. And they got the continuance, hopefully they think twice before acting though.

Alright that’s enough ranting – thanks for the letter and updates. I look forward to hearing from you again soon.

– ____

‘Sucked into the system because I fit a description’

Hey–

My name is —, but everyone knows me as 700. This is my first time getting charged with anything in my life. I’ve been here 8 months and have only been to court once (after first appearance) to have my $650,000 bond reduced to $150,000, which is still too much even after I told the judge I was working at Kroger and attending — High and living on my own. I mean, I only just turned 18 while I’ve been in here. He still gave me an out the roof bond, it’s like one day I’m up, the next I get sucked into the system because I fit a description–”pssh” yeah mufucking right. And don’t get me started on this new video visitation shit. It don’t make sense why our peoples got to come down here just to “face time” their loved ones for 20 minutes. It’s already bad enough with the scarce amount of time we get, now I gotta talk to my people through a camera, ain’t that what cell phones are for? But this money hungry jail couldn’t care less what the kings and queens in this jail go through. It’s like the one thing you look forward to after being here so long is getting took away. And could someone tell me why co’s are wearing three layers, a uniform and a jacket and we in here freezing our asses off and get put on lockback for having too many jumpsuits? That shit’s crazy.

–700

Class War on the Color Line: Reform and Repression at the Durham County Jail

More than a year after the Sheriff’s department’s murder-by-medical-neglect of Matthew McCain, the Durham County Jail is, once again, in the news.  On Tuesday, January 3, after receiving letters from almost a hundred detainees and after three individuals blocked the entrance to the jail on the night of November 18, declaring it #ANightWithNoDetentions, the Durham Human Relations Commission released ten recommendations for how to improve conditions at the plantation on Mangum street.  Some of these, most notably that a community-based research team be allowed to do a survey in the jail, were things that detainees, their families, and the community at large have been demanding for a long time.  Others were extrapolations from what detainees wrote to the commission, and what members of the public said in a forum the HRC held on September 15 of last year, including concerns about mental health, corporate price-gouging of detainees and their families, bail, and the Sheriff’s department’s cooperation with ICE.

Then, on January 6, the News and Observer reported that the jail will move to video visitation this summer and that retrofits are already underway.  Inside-Outside Alliance has known for some time that this was in the pipeline – Global Tel’s latest contract to provide phone service in the jail includes a provision for them to run a video visitation system – but we’ve never had a definite timeline before.  Now it appears that, over the course of this summer, the jail will be retrofitted and its policies rewritten so that in-person visitation will be eliminated and replaced exclusively with visitation-via-videoscreen.  It should go without saying that depriving detainees of even the limited in-person interaction with friends and loved ones that they now experience at visitation is the height of inhumanity even for an institution like the Sheriff’s department that has raised contempt for human life to the level of a ghastly art form.  We should also note that GTL advertises video-visitation as a way to derive profit from and reduce the costs of inmate visitation. Continue reading

‘Fight the real enemy!’

What up,

How ya’ll doing? Shit still fucked up. Tell me this: why the fuck is the A/C on full blast during the winter? Plz answer that for me. It’s freezing in the cells. And when we tell the c.o.’s, they say ‘what can we do about it?’ It’s four days later and the A/C still blowing on full blast.  Continue reading