[Pnews] Florida warden retaliates for article publicizing prison abuses, slave labor and prisoner protest

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Mon Jan 29 11:04:21 EST 2018


  Florida warden retaliates for article publicizing prison abuses, slave
  labor and prisoner protest

January 28, 2018

*Editor’s note: The following article was written on Jan. 18. The next 
day, the warden had Rashid moved to a freezing cold cell in retaliation. 
Rashid managed that day to send this message to the Abolitionist Law 
Center; supporters have not heard from him since. Readers are asked to 
call the office of Warden Barry Reddish, at 904-368-2500 or 
fsprison at mail.dc.state.fl.us <mailto:fsprison at mail.dc.state.fl.us> to 
ask firmly and politely about the health and well being of Kevin 
Johnson, No. 158039.*

*/by Kevin ‘Rashid’ Johnson/*

During early January 2018, my article, “Florida Prisoners Are Laying It 
was published online, which discussed the prevalence of enforced slave 
labor in the Florida Department of Corruption (FDOC), the brutally 
inhumane conditions under which its prisoners live, and a planned 
nonviolent protest they were staging in efforts to bring attention and 
redress to these conditions.

Upon discovering my article online,[i] <#_edn1> Barry Reddish, the 
warden of Florida State Prison (FSP), where I am confined, unleashed 
swift retaliation against me.

On Jan. 10, 2018, Reddish had his lieutenant, Martin Sanders, fabricate 
a disciplinary report (DR) against me, claiming my article was “inciting 
a riot” in the prisons – a facially bogus charge as anyone who reads my 
article can see, since it contains no language directing or encouraging 
prisoners to do anything and, furthermore, FDOC prisoners have no access 
to the internet where it was published.

What obviously incensed FDOC officials was my bearing witness to and 
publishing their abuses and giving a voice to their victims. Which 
amounts to nothing but constitutionally protected journalism.

      *Free press and speech at a cost*

Which is why the FDOC has made no such accusations against the Miami 
Herald for publishing similar articles. Take for example the Herald’s 
Aug. 17, 2017, report on a statewide lockdown of Florida prisons, 
imposed for several days in anticipation of prisoners protesting 
inhumane conditions.[ii] <#_edn2>

The newspaper even quoted a former warden, Ron McAndrews, denouncing the 
lockdown as likely to exacerbate tensions because of the intense Florida 
heat and its prisons having no air conditioning. He made clear that 
these conditions would be tantamount to torture and invited readers to 
try it themselves. “You would not be able to sleep,” he warned.

Was the Herald inciting a riot? Of course not.

What I and this paper were engaged in was conveying information about 
public officials and institutions that it is the public’s fundamental 
right to know and that we have a fundamental right to communicate. That 
is what the U.S. Constitution embodies in the rights of free press and 
speech. As to free press, the Supreme Court has stated:

“The Constitutional guarantee of a free press assures the maintenance of 
our political system and an open society and secures the paramount 
public interest in a free flow of information to the public concerning 
public officials. …

“[T]he First and Fourteenth Amendments also protect the right of the 
public to receive such information and ideas as are published.”[iii] 

And as to free speech:

“[T]he right of free speech includes the right to communicate a person’s 
view to any willing listener.”[iv] <#_edn4>

And furthermore:

“The First Amendment forbids prison officials from retaliating against 
prisoners for exercising the right of free speech.”[v] <#_edn5>

      *Guards incite violence against Herald*

But as Warden Reddish’s actions demonstrate, the notoriously corrupt 
FDOC doesn’t recognize nor respect any such rights. Its deeply ingrained 
culture of corruption, racism and abuse compels secrecy and engenders 
retaliatory impulses against those who seek to expose it.

In fact, FDOC officials were just caught inciting retaliatory violence 
and expressing such urges against the Miami Herald for its exposing 
prison abuses.

This exposure came when posts from a closed Facebook page shared by 
hundreds of FDOC guards were leaked to the Herald. Incensed because the 
paper broke a story about an asthmatic prisoner who was sadistically 
gassed to death by FDOC guards, they posted such remarks as, “I would 
like to slap everybody associated with the Miami Herald in the mouth.” 
Followed by their posting a map with directions to the Herald’s 
office.[vi] <#_edn6>

Furthermore, like a lynch mob, they mocked and made jokes about the 
prisoner, who died lying with his face pressed to a crack at the bottom 
of a solid steel cell door searching desperately for air, with a Bible 
in his hand.

      *Lying DRs – just doing their jobs*

But this isn’t the first time Reddish and his staff have retaliated 
against me for publicizing abusive prison conditions. My last article, 
“Lynching Culture,” brought a similar response, because I wrote about 
the frequent killings of prisoners by FDOC officials and quoted a 
ranking FSP guard, Sgt. Alvin Cazee, who in a veiled threat boasted to 
me about many such killings targeted at prisoners who create problems, 
and their being covered up as suicides.[vii] <#_edn7>

Right after that article was published and Cazee read it online, he 
fabricated a DR claiming that a note was intercepted that I supposedly 
attempted to pass to another prisoner, which contained threats to send 
my “connections” after his family and the family of an FSP mental health 
worker. He even had a note forged stating this, in a handwriting and 
grammar nothing like my own.

Filing false DRs is a common practice in the FDOC. Actually, it is part 
of a “code” that guards are trained into. As a former FDOC guard 
revealed to the Herald:

“‘First, they teach you how to write a false DR [disciplinary report] 
against an inmate. They tell you you have to write it to ‘make it 
stick,’ to use certain language.

“Disciplinary reports result in a loss of privileges and can also lead 
to delays in an inmate’s release.

“‘Sometimes they will even write it for you – all filled with lies so 
they can say they beat or gassed someone because they deserved it,’ he said.

“Sometimes those reports written by corrections officers have a familiar 
cadence and wording.”[viii] <#_edn8>

      *Enforced disappearance*

But the retaliation goes deeper still. Although prior prison systems 
denied as much, Florida admitted that I’ve been bounced from state to 
state and am now in Florida in retaliation for and with intentions to 
repress my publicizing prison abuses.[ix] <#_edn9> They further admitted 
in writing that I’ve been thrown into solitary confinement for these 
reasons.[x] <#_edn10>

Florida not only retaliates against prisoners who dare expose its 
abuses, however, but those who are persistent are outright disappeared.

It was done to Harold Hempstead, the prisoner, who witnessed and exposed 
the death of Darren Rainey, a mentally ill man who was killed in 2012 by 
FDOC guards who scalded him to death in a rigged shower at Dade 
Correctional Institution.

Rainey’s killing was swept under the rug for two years, until the Herald 
investigated and publicized it, based on Hempstead’s persistent letters 
and complaints about Rainey’s medieval torture.[xi] <#_edn11>

A staged official investigation was then re-opened in 2014 following the 
Herald’s exposé, which concluded with a March 2017 report exonerating 
Rainey’s killers and attempting to undermine Hempstead’s credibility. To 
complete the cleanup, on the same day the report was issued the FDOC 
transferred Hempstead out of state to an undisclosed location making him 
“unavailable” for any further comments to the media.[xii] <#_edn12>

On June 22, 2017, the FDOC accepted me with similar designs to its 
treatment of Hempstead. Namely to silence and disappear a persistent 
witness to prison abuses.

On that first day in Florida, I was threatened by officials with 
physical harm and death if I persisted with my publicizing prison 
conditions.[xiii] <#_edn13> It was in this vein that the FSP guard Cazee 
made his veiled threat to me that prison officials in Florida 
“disappear” and kill prisoners who create problems.

By using the term “disappear,” he was literally describing my illegal 
status in Florida, which is one of “enforced disappearance” – a criminal 
violation of international law.

      *A status invented by Nazis*

On Dec. 7, 1941, Adolf Hitler issued his Night and Fog Decree ordering 
that those “‘endangering German security’ who were not to be immediately 
executed” would be made to “vanish without a trace into the unknown in 

In 1946 Hitler’s Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel was convicted in Nuremberg 
War Crimes trials for his role in enforcing the decree.[xiv] <#_edn14> 
Since that judgment, enforced disappearance, which includes secret 
incommunicado detention, has been maintained as a crime under 
international law and is binding on all countries whether they are party 
or not to a similar treaty.

Such confinement is also banned under the December 2010 International 
Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance 
which states under Article 17 that “No one shall be held in secret 

      *My secret detention in Florida*

As sinister as it sounds, and is, the FDOC has me formally confined 
under secret detention. It has only been through the persistent efforts 
and sacrifices of attorneys and media contacts that I have been able to 
communicate to the outside and make my whereabouts known. And it’s been 
an uphill battle every step of the way.

Under this secret detention status (or more notoriously known as “secret 
rendition”), I am being held in an officially undisclosed location and 
am being denied the means and ability to pursue my legal rights and 
unlawful custody in my home state of Virginia. I can be secretly moved 
around the state of Florida at any time.

The FDOC has tried to keep my location hidden, even lying to those 
who’ve inquired, telling them I’m not at FSP or am at other FDOC prisons 
that I’ve never been to, like the Northwest Florida Reception 
Center.[xv] <#_edn15> In fact, FDOC headquarters has FSP officials under 
strict orders to disclose no information about me to anyone and to tell 
anyone who contacts the prison about me that I’m not here and they 
should contact headquarters who, as said, will divulge nothing. Any 
outside reader is free to test any of this.

In fact, in my referral to solitary confinement, FDOC officials claimed 
that having my location publicized online presented a “security threat.” 
So I’m the only person confined in FDOC custody for whom there is no 
public accountability or scrutiny.

I’ve grieved this treatment and bogus “special status” repeatedly but 
have been told emphatically that “IT WILL NOT CHANGE.” (Some of these 
efforts and responses are posted with this article.)

If any reader goes to the FDOC website to look me up on the inmate 
locator, you will find that I’m the only person confined in the FDOC 
whose name and location are not in the prisoner database.

I’ve been blocked from making phone calls, unlike other FDOC prisoners. 
I’ve had my mail blocked, and have been repeatedly obstructed, censored 
and harassed in my communications with attorneys, courts and the media.

All of which is in violation of the most basic U.S. constitutional and 
international laws.

All of which is in response to my involvement in exposing to the public 
the inhumane abuses occurring behind the hidden walls of U.S. prisons.

These are the lawless extremes to which a lawless power structure will 
go to conceal its true criminal nature from public scrutiny, in efforts 
to preserve its mask of legality, legitimacy and public accountability.

What dictatorship that preys on the powerless has ever willingly shown 
its true face to the masses who have the power in numbers to overthrow 
it, or has not acted to repress those who dare to expose it and open the 
people’s eyes?

I will never waiver in speaking truth to the people, because there is no 
power like the awakened masses!

Dare to struggle! Dare to win!

All Power to the People!

/Send our brother some love and light: Kevin Johnson, 158039, FSP, P.O. 
Box 800, Raiford FL 32083. Lots of mail shows the authorities that they 
are being watched./

[i] <#_ednref1> The article was cited by the FSP warden as posted on 

[ii] <#_ednref2> Julie K. Brown, “Florida Prisons – All of Them – on 
Miami Herald, Aug. 17, 2017

[iii] <#_ednref3> _Pell v. Procunier_, 417 U.S. 817, 832 (1974)

[iv] <#_ednref4> Ibid, at 822

[v] <#_ednref5> _Farrow v. West_, 320 F. 3d 1235, 1248 (11th Cir. 2003)

[vi] <#_ednref6> Julie K. Brown and Caitlin Ostroff, “Prison Guards Take 
to Facebook to Mock Florida Inmate Who Died While Being Gassed 
Miami Herald, Dec. 5, 2017

[vii] <#_ednref7> Kevin “Rashid” Johnson, “Lynching Culture: Florida 
Officials are Experts at Killing Prisoners by Natural Causes” (2017) 

[viii] <#_ednref8> Julie K. Brown, “For Allegedly Brutal Prison Guard, 
Day of Reckoning Arrives 
Miami Herald, Sept. 20, 2014

[ix] <#_ednref9> Kevin “Rashid” Johnson, “I’m Off to Florida and a New 
Phase of Reprisals for Publicizing Abuses U.S. Prisons” (2017) 

[x] <#_ednref10> Kevin “Rashid” Johnson, “Thrown in Solitary for 
Publicizing Abuses” (2017) http://rashidmod.com/?=2455

[xi] <#_ednref11> Julie K. Brown, “A Brutal and Unexplained Death 
Miami Herald, March 17, 2017

[xii] <#_ednref12> Julie K. Brown, “Prosecutors Find No Wrongdoing in 
Shower Death at Dade Correctional Mental Health Unit 
_Miami Herald_, March 17, 2017

[xiii] <#_ednref13> _Op_ _cit_, note 9

[xiv] <#_ednref14> See, _Judgment of the International Military Tribunal 
for the Trial of German Major War Criminals_, Nuremberg, Sept. 30 and 
Oct. 1, 1946 (Nuremberg Judgment), Cmd. 6964, Misc. No. 12 (London: 
H.M.S.O. 1946), p. 88

[xv] <#_ednref15> For a while my outside support circle and legal team 
didn’t know where I was due to FDOC officials lying about and concealing 
my location. See post, “Denied Medicine, Location Unknown: Urgent Update 
on Kevin ‘Rashid’ Johnson.” http://rashidmod.com/?p=2453

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