Justice for Dashawn Evans who Died in the Durham Jail

IMG_0459

On May 27th, 2018, 23-year-old Dashawn Devonte Evans was found dead in the Durham County Detention Facility. He was a healthy young man with a bright life ahead of him.

Over the last few days, people who knew Dashawn have shared information about his compassion, generosity, and commitment to his family. Statements from 9 members of Dashawn’s family are provided below.

As the family of Dashawn Evans moves forward in their struggle for justice in the Durham County Detention Center’s failure to keep Dashawn safe and alive while in their care, his family demands the following:

  • An independent investigation beyond the State Board of Investigation (SBI)
  • A copy of the SBI’s report based on its investigation
  • For the Durham County Sheriff, who is in charge of the Durham County Detention Center, to be held accountable for Dashawn’s death.

For anyone who would like to support Dashawn’s family during this difficult time, please consider donating to this GoFundMe to help the family cover funeral expenses and legal costs for an independent investigation:

https://www.gofundme.com/justicefordashawn

Dashawn’s death is undeniably tragic, all the more so because it does not stand alone.  His death marks the seventh that has occurred in the jail since 2013, a reflection of the indifference and incompetence shown by the sheriff and many in the jail’s staff. We demand justice for Dashawn Evans and those before him: James Earl Staton Jr., Niecey Fennel, Matthew McCain, Raphael Bennet, Dennis McMurray, and Terry Lee. Their stories and testimony from their loved ones and fellow inmates are available on our blog. The jail must stop this pattern of neglect and abuse.  We cannot let them rest until it ends.

Please join the family for a PROTEST and press conference this Friday, June 1st, at 6pm, at the Durham jail.

 

IMG_0452IMG_0450

 

Statements from Dashawn’s family – 5/29/18

 

Valisha Evans, Dashawn’s Aunt: “He’s going to be missed. I loved him. He was always smiling. He loved his family and his children.”

 

Karen Kirkland, Dashawn’s fiancé: “I want to say that he was a great father, and he will be truly missed. And he was my best friend. I love you, Dashawn.”

 

Venise Jones, Dashawn’s grandmother: “Dashawn was in jail for some problems, but I can promise you that he got a charge that he didn’t do. I know for a fact, because it was on his birthday, he did not do it. I can say, he is a good child. Everybody has good children, and most people’s children do stuff. But he still was a good dad. He was a good grandson. There wasn’t anything he wouldn’t do for me. And I love him. Whatever it is [that happened in the jail], it will come out.”

 

Mercedes Jacobs, Dashawn’s sister: “I just want to say that, even though he grew up a little troubled, no matter how hard his life got, he always had a positive outlook or a game-plan and a big smile on his face. Everybody goes through stuff, but he was the type to get through it and not give up. I love my little brother, and I’m gonna miss him.”

 

Robert Miles, Dashawn’s cousin: “We had a lot of good times. We had a lot of bad times. One thing I can say about him: nobody in this family can out-gamble him! <laughter> He wasn’t a good child, he wasn’t a bad child. He was a family man. It’s sad that he’s gone. But it’s a blessing he’s somewhere peaceful. We don’t have to worry about him no more. But at the end of the day, what happened was wrong. He made sure everybody got taken care of. He loved his momma. He loved his kids. He’s gonna be truly missed.”

 

Shereka Evans, Dashawn’s cousin: “One thing Dashawn always did, when he saw me, was hug me. He always hugged me and told me that he loved me, regardless of anything. I will always remember that about him. He loved his family, and I know that he didn’t do anything to jeopardize himself being with his family. He did anything for anybody, whether it was a quarter, whether it was a bag of potato chips. It doesn’t matter what it was, he gave it. So, I know it was something wrong, what happened with my cousin. And we just want to get to the bottom of it, and make sure everybody has light and peace in this situation in the end.”

 

Lewis Jacobs, Dashawn’s father: “One thing I can say about my son is he’s a survivor. He’s always been a survivor through all kind of ups and downs. He’s a survivor and I love him to death. And I knew that he loved me and he loved his family.”

 

Sharnella McCrae, Dashawn’s cousin: “Growing up with Dashawn, you would never know what to expect. Dashawn was so active. Growing up around my house, my grandma had ten children, so there’s a lot of us on both sides of our family. He has a big family. So, Dashawn always was family oriented. Dashawn loved his family, loved both his grandmothers, loved his grandfathers. Dashawn loved to play. No matter whenever I’d see my cousin–if I’m driving down Main Street, Liberty Street, wherever I’m at–I can look out the window and say, ‘what up, Day-Day, what up, cuz, I love you!’ Every time we saw each other, we’d say ‘I love you.’ Even though he got on my nerves, when we departed from each other, we’d say we loved each other. No matter what it was, if I ever felt like I needed Dashawn, Dashawn would be there. I would be there for Dashawn. It’s just an unfortunate situation that we have to see a young man go away from two families that dearly loved this young man. He was really loved. He has two children that will miss him. They’ll never really get to see the young man that I knew Dashawn to be. But he’s looking over them, so that’s a positive. We’re gonna always keep Dashawn lifted. We love you. You’ll never be forgotten. And whatever it is, Dashawn, we will get to the bottom of it. Just know that we got your back, just like you had our back.”

 

Roy Dunkins, Dashawn’s uncle: “He loved his family. Anything he could do for anybody, he would. He loved being around his family. All I can say is he’s a family oriented man. Everybody has their issues, but at the same time, he’s a good dude. He’s gonna be missed by his family. He’s loved by his family. Anybody that comes up against him: we want to come together as a family, as a team, and show them that just because one person makes one bad decision, that doesn’t mean that’s their whole life.”

 

 

Advertisements

‘The officers have been very hush’

Hey,

What’s up? I hope your week went by smooth. Yes, I’ve heard someone died in the jail, but the officers have been very hush about the situation. As soon as it happened they locked down the whole jail so we as inmates can’t see what’s going on or voice our opinion. Sort of like when the jail inspector came–they didn’t want us to be allowed to say anything or ask anything. But if I hear anything, you and the IOA family will get it first cause shit is starting to get out of control…

Sincerely,

Ghost

“this for the Durham Association of Educators”

Dear g______ ________

I’m doing alright thanks for asking, yes we are doing a creative writing class where we get to express ourselves in different kinds of ways.  Rap, poem, drawings, speeches, & a lot more.  Curtis Barnette [another detainee] started the class & we sign up for it.  We start at 12 or when the multi-purpose room ain’t at use & any action book or drawing book is good & a dictionary, too.  I like making great drawings so I’m like more tattoo drawings.

this for the Durham Association of Educators, & the union of public school teacher: thank you for focusing on our Education.  I’m still enrolled in my base school.  I was 17 when I got here, now I’m 18.  I’m up in here for a couple a months now.  The government should focus on building schools & jobs instead of making money for the jail, b/c this jail system is so crooked.  I’m here with no proof of me committing any crime of what they blaming me for – no weapon found, no evidence of any stolen goods, no witnesses.  I’ve been just waiting for my court dates & they cancel my court date every time its been scheduled.  My lawyer just once he came and see be.  I haven’t been to court at all.  The DAs lying on everything, the court appointed lawyers ain’t helping, to be honest.  Fuck Durham County Jail, they want me to feel down & plead guilty so they can make money off me.  You know what they chose the wrong person, b/c I’m staying strong.  I got into the word of God & he helps me to stay strong & for my family & loved ones who support me they can’t even come to visit me.  I only saw my mom 3 times & now they ain’t allowing her to come.  I’m against the video visitation.  So many young teens like my age die in this cells & they just say they committed suicide or natural cause.  It ain’t true.  The COs allow it to happen & if they ain’t do nothing about it that’s how they move up to new positions.  The canteen be ripping us off of our money, they don’t return our money when we order canteen & they don’t bring our canteen, & they act like they don’t know nothing.  Man shyt crazy.  I can’t even trust the law & I never did & never will.  I speak for all my latinos up in here.  I got a friend here & they don’t let him have any visit.  His family want to see him but they don’t allow him to have any visit, & when they feel they loosing our case they put a deportation order on my people with out having proof of anything.  We get crazy rash on our body b/c of the sope & our clothes are being washed with only water & we get rash from it & we get back pain from the bed they give us.  They treat us like a bunch of animals.  They hold us over years & trying to make us commit suicide & if you don’t have money you can’t get no medical attention or get the medication you need to live.  Shyt crazy man.  They block the phone sometimes so we can’t call anyone.  People are still here fighting o live & some lost their life fighting the system.  Thank you IOA for working on protest to help us students & anyone up in jail.  Thank you and god bless y’all.

 

Sincerely,

ghost z:.

‘Could you imagine driving that far to sit in front of a video screen?’

6/11/17

Hi,

I owe you a response from a letter you wrote to me on March 27. You met my dad outside the jail and he gave you my name and information.

Since I’ve received that letter, a lot has happened. Indeed, unfortunately, we lost Niecey from the women’s pod, and I did not know her personally, but it still put everyone who heard of her death on edge. The tension could be felt in the air, and all of the detention officers were receiving dirty looks from detainees. Even those who were not even working on the night of the situation. Things could have grown dangerous on either side. Thank God, from at least my perspective and in my pod, we had no further issues pertaining to that.  Continue reading

“a male CO was picking on and messing with Niecey”

Dear G___,

First off I would like to thank you and many others from Inside-Outside Alliance for love and support, a lot of people on the outside as well as some of us in here are blind to how we are being treated in this jail so once again thanks.  I read the newsletter that you provided and loved every page of it.  I can relate to all the topics and I agree that the jail in some areas are getting worse.  Canteen is at an all time high and the website to set up visitation is not working at all right now so some of us can’t even see our love ones.  As far as the situation with Niecey committing suicide, I feel that it could have been avoided.  As you may know, we inmates talk to each other male and female through many different ways, one being jail house mail and what I discovered is that a male CO was picking on and messing with Niecey, this situation made Niecey committ suicide.  Its sad and prayers go out to her family, as an inmate and a person who has been coming and and out of this jail for 12 years I can only hope for the best but I know it won’t happen.  Thanks for the letter and I will be looking forward to the next one but until then I’m out.

Sincerely,

C

PS: In my next letter I will be sending y’all a poem entitled DCJ

Video visitation: ‘It simply shouldn’t happen!’

Dear friends!

I was very glad to get your letter.

Thank you much for efforts to memorialize Niecey. It is extremely painful for me to think about her death.

Yes, I saw you many times on the streets in Durham. I used to work in one of the restaurants in downtown. But never did hear you being outside at the jail like now. I am on the 5th floor. Certainly I support from all my heart the protests against video visitation. It simply shouldn’t happen!! And “upset” about it is not enough to say!

…Thank you for your attention. With love and respect, F.L.

 

‘This damn jail is destroying my family’

What’s going on? Sorry it’s taken me so long to write back, but let’s just say I have not been myself lately. Sometimes I don’t know what or how to feel. Because I am so weighed down by personal issues and with the fact of being incarcerated for a year now. As far as this jail goes it’s still the same slave ship it has always been. These people act like they care about us, but they really don’t. They have made it much harder for our people to see us. Speaking of which, I have not seen my kids in 3 months. And that is the only way I can maintain. Hell, I have a son that’s about to be a year old, and one that’s soon to be 8 years old. I can’t take not seeing them…This damn jail is DESTROYING my family! Continue reading