Prison rape: Sexual torture

Taken over from: SF Bay View, April 1st 2013
by Kenny Zulu Whitmore

Revolutionary greetings, my people.
Prison is a lonely, dark, cruel reality where you immediately become trapped in a time warp on one of the many modern day plantations that have sprung up like trees across America.

Rape in prison is a part of the fabric as is rotten, evil, racist corrections officers, or COs. One of America’s taboos right up with “There are no political prisoners or torture in America’s prisons.” Rape and the threat of rape by these COs is an act of sexual torture that leaves more mental scars than physical, and the victim of this violent act is no less a victim than if the act was committed out in society.

Kenny Zulu Whitmore afro back when
Kenny Zulu Whitmore back in the day

In 2008, shortly after Hurricane Gustav ripped through several of Louisiana’s 64 parishes, a brutal sexual assault was being carried out by a sadistic CO. I will conduct a sit-down with the victim of that violent act.

Twice a victim

Zulu: Shannon, how are you today, man, and what is your whole name?

S.A.: Shannon Alexander. I wish for better days, Zulu. Shannon Alexander, 298078.

Zulu: Shannon, you were a victim of a violent sexual assault by a CO here back in 2008. You want to tell me about that?

S.A.: This happened while I was housed at Camp-C Tiger 1R booth tier on the 10th day of September 2008 by Master Sgt. DeWayne McMills, a white male 42 years old. He’s about 6 feet tall, 200-230 pounds, with 24 years in as a guard here at Angola.

Zulu: Shannon, how tall are you and how much do you weigh? And describe what is a booth tier.

S.A.: I am 5 feet 2 inches and 135 pounds. A booth tier is a tier of 13 cells, as they have in several camps. The booth has bars like a regular cell in front, but with 4 feet by 4 feet of space with a steel door the guards can close when they are gassing you or beating you.

Zulu: That big door does nothing for anyone on the tier when the CO’s spray or beat someone, because everyone feels the effect of the gas and hears the guy being beat with those PR-24s (sticks) and kicked with those heavy boots. I have been on one such tier when an attack took place.
S.A.: Yes, you are right, too.

Zulu: What went down?

S.A.: I was laying in my bunk. When Master Sgt. DeWayne McMills entered my booth and pulled the steel door, and said, “Nigger, get your ass up, strip, take off the jumpsuit, and come to the bars. Turn around, bend over and spread your Black ass open.” I told the master sergeant not to use those racist terms with me and that I was not going to bend over and do nothing because he knows that ain’t the way it is done.

Zulu: I thought it was “squat and cough”?

S.A.: It is; that’s the way it’s supposed to go. But when I refused, Master Sgt. McMills went off calling me every racist name in the book, throwing the restraints against the walls: “You fucking Nigger, you are dead.” “You are one hung Nigger.”

Zulu: Wait a minute. He threatened to hang you?

S.A.: Yes, he did, and I know they will do just that. Master Sgt. McMills says “This is your third verbal order. Come to the bars and be restrained, Alexander.” Not to relive that whole experience, (but) I went up to the bars to be restrained. He put the cuff of the waist belt on and said, “Turn around,” so he could grab the restraints belt and violently pulled me up against the bars and fastened the belt around the bars and began slapping me upside the head through the bars and started feeling on my ass, saying all kinds of crazy shit.

That they was going to rape me, fuck me in the ass. There was nothing I could do. I feared for my life and I started to beg him not to do that. He – Master Sgt. McMills – went off again with the racist stuff about me. Black people. I still had the jumpsuit up. He said, “I want you to suck my dick through the bars.” And if I, Shannon Alexander, did not perform this act upon him, he would spit upon himself and hit his beeper and tell the warden I spit on him and took the restraints – to have me gassed and beaten. Master Sgt. McMills took the restraint belt aloose from the bars and took the cuffs off. “Strip, Nigger, and get on your knees.”

Zulu: What did you do?

S.A.: Being in fear of my life and what will happen when he presses his beeper, I had to pretend to go along with Master Sgt. DeWayne McMills. I went to the bars like I was going to come into compliance. I got down on my knees and Master Sgt. McMills unzipped his pants and pulled out his penis and attempted to enter my mouth with his penis. I kind of blacked out of my mind and bit down on Master Sgt. McMills’ penis.

Zulu: What?

S.A.: He ran out of the booth bleeding and hollering. Master Sgt. DeWayne McMills was arrested and booked into the West Feliciana Parish Jail on the 10th day of September 2008 on committing malfeasance in office, crime against nature, and oral sexual battery. McMills posted bail and on or about Oct. 28, 2008, committed suicide by gunshot to the head at his home. And I am the one being punished.

Zulu: You have been in solitary confinement ever since? And do you have an out date?

S.A.: Yes, I have been stuck in the cell ever since. I have written to warden of security about it because I have a parole eligibility date coming up in 2017. I want to get my GED and take up welding and culinary school. As you know, Zulu, administration will not let anyone in a cell participate in any of the educational programs. It’s like I am being victimized twice. My last disciplinary report was in 2010. I am being denied access to rehabilitation opportunities.

Zulu: Can all of this be verified through court records and administration files?

S.A.: Yes, all of it.

Zulu: Thank you, Shannon, for being brave enough to share your story with everyone. Speaking out is the way to shed some light on this horrible crime. The enemy counts on your silence, young brother, so keep on doing what you do.

Fight the power
Kenny Zulu Whitmore

Send our brother some love and light: Kenny Zulu Whitmore, 86468, D-HAWK, 4L, Louisiana State Prison, Angola, LA 70712. And visit the website of this extraordinary political prisoner, imprisoned for 38 years: FreeZulu.org.

SPLC reaches agreement to address prisoner abuse, neglect at Orleans Parish Prison

From: Southern Poverty Law Center
Dec. 11th 2012

The SPLC has reached an agreement with officials in Orleans Parish, La., to address the brutal and inhumane conditions at the Orleans Parish Prison, where prisoners have endured rampant violence, sexual assaults and neglect.

The federal consent decree outlines steps that Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman will take to ensure prisoner safety and adequate staffing of the facility. If approved by the court, an independent monitor will oversee the agreement to ensure compliance. The agreement, the result of an SPLC lawsuit filed in April, also would apply to any new facility that is built to replace the jail.

“We are hopeful the judge will agree that this settlement is in the best interest of all parties involved,” said Katie Schwartzmann, managing attorney for the SPLC’s New Orleans office and lead attorney on the case. “We also applaud Sheriff Gusman and his office for taking the important first step of acknowledging the problems within the jail. While implementation will be difficult, we are committed to improving conditions, and will work with him to do so. We also need the city to work with us and provide the funding to truly fix this jail.”

SPLC clients Byron Morgan and Nicholas Miorana, both prisoners in the Orleans Parish Prison, said they were pleased an agreement has been reached. “I am excited the sheriff has agreed to take a hard look, and fix this jail,” Morgan said. “I hope Mayor Mitch Landrieu will help make the changes as well.”

Miorana added, “Today, I understand what right and wrong stand for. With help from the Justice Department and SPLC, our cries will finally be heard.”
The decree includes the following provisions:

  • Review and monitoring of prison operations by a professional corrections administrator.
  • Comprehensive policies governing the use of force and restraints on prisoners.
  • Documenting and tracking complaints of prison staff using excessive force.
  • A staffing plan that provides enough officers to ensure prisoner safety.
  • A ban on placing teenagers in units where they may have contact with an adult prisoner.
  • Guidelines for providing medical and mental health care for prisoners.

The SPLC lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, described a facility where widespread violence and contraband – including knives – are the norm. It also noted that the jail is understaffed and that deputies are not only poorly trained and supervised, but are often complicit in the abuses suffered by the prisoners.

The U.S. Department of Justice intervened in the case in September, joining the effort to address the conditions. Three years ago, a comprehensive investigation by the department documented many of the same violations contained in the SPLC lawsuit.

Once the agreement is approved by the court, it will go into effect immediately. However, certain provisions cannot be implemented until the city and the sheriff’s office resolve how to provide adequate funding for the jail. If the city and the sheriff cannot resolve the funding dispute, the funding issue will go to trial on April 4, 2013, before U.S. District Judge Lance Africk.

“April 4 is a long time for the men, women and children in Orleans Parish Prison to wait,” said Schwartzmann. “With Sheriff Gusman committed to reform, we urge Mayor Landrieu to provide immediate emergency funding to support the necessary changes. Every day we wait, the lives of thousands of New Orleanians remain at risk.”