COULD IT HAPPEN TO YOU
COULD IT HAPPEN TO YOU
In 1857, the Supreme Court declared in Dred Scott vs. Sandford, 60 U.S. (19 How.) 393 that the constitution did not, and never would, apply to persons of the "Negro African Race" and "that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect." However, times changed, people changed. But the more conditions change, in some respects, the more they stay the same. It would seem that in 1998, instead of slaves having no rights, now, prisoners have no rights, or at least have lost many of the few rights that their masters had been bound to respect in the liberal 1970's. This fact was recently candidly acknowledged in the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary when Warden Willie Scott had a prisoner taken from his cell in the "hole" and had him chained down hand and foot in the strip-cell for "disrespecting" him. The rather inexperienced lad, a "first-timer," told the warden, "You can't do this, it's against the law," and the warden replied truthfully, "There ain't no law here, boy."
But more ominously,even the fundamental right of not having one's life taken at the whim of a guard has vanished. Of course, most citizens will attribute a declaration such as this to merely the hyperbolic paranoism of a convict. Yes, cons do exaggerate sometimes; they are suspicious of their master's motives, actions and explanations involving prisoner's deaths. Sometimes their suspicions of foul play are justified, sometimes not. But in the 1995 case of Scott Trenadue, found dead in his single man cell in the Federal Transfer Center in Oklahoma City, one's suspicion is justified: Facts and hard evidence conclusively indicate death by torture/beating at the hands of "correctional officers."
I first became aware of this case by reading an article in Gentleman's Quarterly magazine. The Jubilee, a California journal, also printed details, including a photo of the badly bruised and scarred body. Then on October 14, 1997, an Atlanta, Georgia AM radio station, WNIV, 970 on the dial, featured an interview with, I believe, Pat Swindell and ex-congressman George Hansen who was once illegally, unjustly incarcerated in federal prisons. Hansen related how prison authorities had notified Trenadue's family that he had committed suicide by hanging himself from the light fixture in the S.H.U. (Special Housing Unit). (Now I've been in these S.H.U. cells several times and the light fixture is slanted whereby no sheet or noose can be affixed to it. There's nothing else in the single man cells even two or three feet high to tie a noose onto. This fact alone was enough to raise my suspicions.) The prisoncrats then magnanimously offered to cremate the body. How kind; how suspicious! This would be the first time for such an offer. However, unbeknown to the Bureau of Prisons, this latest victim wasn't just the usual unwanted, unmourned nobody. Trenadue's brother was a successful Salt Lake City attorney who insisted on having the body shipped home, whereby the heavy makeup was removed, revealing head to toe bruises, abrasions, broken bones and evidentally electric taser burns. But perhaps he just slipped and fell before attaching the 23 inch long sheet to his 19 inch neck.
When the local Oklahoma City Medical Examiner was finally admitted to the crime scene several months later he detected traces of blood on the floor and even ten feet high on the walls even though the cell had been thoroughly cleaned. But suicide it was: sayeth and certified by the B.O.P.
Pursuant to a lawsuit filed by Trenadue's brother, one prisoner present at the time gave a statement implicating the Associate Warden directing an eight man S.O.R.T. squad (Special Operations Response Team) storming into the cell, with a nurse and an inmate cleaning up the cell afterwards (this constitutes tampering with the evidence at the scene of a crime, an indictable offense). One prisoner who had been released, later gave a state ment--his parole was then revoked.
Some two years later, Janet Reno (the Wicked Witch of Waco) and her underlings, the world renowned F.B.I. (of Ruby Ridge Fame), in spite of their "investigation" still haven't indicted anyone. George Hansen said he wants the murderers taken off the street.
Nevertheless, there are still good honest citizens not willing to tolerate such a crime. The A.C.L.U., Amnesty International, Chuck Colson, and an Oklahoma Grand Jury are now involved. Additionally, George Hansen has started a campaign to post billboards in Washington D.C. and Oklahoma City. When he approached a company in Los Angeles to erect ten signs, the manager said Trenadue's family had suffered enough and volunteered to post 400 billboards throughout the state.
Although Trenadue was merely a convict, a person at the very bottom of the social scale, and you reader, may be of somewhat loftier social status, remember the title of the book by Angela Davis, the black, female, communist on the F.B.I.'s ten most wanted list, If They Come In The Morning: Voices Of Resistance, 1971, and its implications--they can come for you at night!
approximately 842 words
Ronald Del Raine(See home page for current address)
Ronald DEL RAINE
P0 Box 3000
White Deer, PA. 17887
Go to top
Prison Inmate Writings Site Writings by Ronald Del Raine Return to Prison Gulag Site Return to Previous Writings by Del Raine Return to Homepage Reflections Upon Hearing Garry Wills' Tyranny of Weakness (Dec. Playboy) A Clinton Murder of the Mentally Ill Comrades Prison Daily Fare Semper Fi--Forevermore POLITICAL PRISONER--BILL DUNNE