POPE FRANCIS ON COVID-19 VACCINE: NEEDY, VULNERABLE MUST COME FIRST; HE VISITS PRISONERS WORLD-WIDE

Pope Francis blesses a prisoner as he visits the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility in Philadelphia Sept. 27. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) See POPE-PRISON Sept. 27, 2015. The Pope regularly visits prisoners world-wide: “There but for the grace of God go I.”

POPE ON COVID-19 VACCINE: NEEDY, VULNERABLE MUST COME FIRST

Sign petition to save the lives of Michigan prisoners NOW

HTTPS://WWW.CHANGE.ORG/COVID-19VACCINESFORMICHIGANPRISONERS

Frances D’Emilio

Associated Press

December 25, 2020

POPE FRANCIS DELIVERS CHRISTMAS MESSAGE DEC.25, 2020

Vatican City — Pope Francis made a Christmas Day plea for authorities to make COVID-19 vaccines available to all, insisting that the first in line should be the most vulnerable and needy, regardless of who holds the patents for the shots.

“Vaccines for everybody, especially for the most vulnerable and needy,” who should be first in line, Francis said in off-the-cuff remarks from his prepared text, calling the development of such vaccines “light of hope” for the world.

“We can’t let closed nationalisms impede us from living as the true human family that we are,” the pope said.

He called on the leaders of nations, businesses and international organizations to “promote cooperation and not competition, and to search for a solution for all.”

Amid a surge of coronavirus infections this fall in Italy, Francis broke with tradition for Christmas. Instead of delivering his “Urbi et Orbi” speech — Latin for “to the city and to the world” — outdoors from the central loggia of St. Peter’s Basilica, he read it from inside a cavernous hall at the Apostolic Palace, flanked by two Christmas trees with blinking lights.

Normally, tens of thousands of people would have crowded into St. Peter’s Square to receive the pope’s Christmas blessing and listen to his speech. But Italian measures to try to rein in holiday infections allow people to leave their homes on Christmas for only urgent reasons like work, health, visits to nearby loved ones or exercise close to home.

Pope Francis washes the feet of 12 prisoners in Rome on Holy Thursday, 2016.

The pandemic’s repercussions on life dominated Francis’ reflections on the past year.

“At this moment in history, marked by the ecological crisis and grave economic and social imbalances only worsened by the coronavirus pandemic, it is all the more important for us to acknowledge one another as brothers and sisters,” Francis said.

Fraternity and compassion applies to people “even though they do not belong to my family, my ethnic group or my religion,” he said.

Francis prayed that the birth of Jesus would inspire people to be “generous, supportive and helpful” to those in need, including those struggling with ”the economic effects of the pandemic and women who have suffered domestic violence during these months of lockdown.”

Venezuela Sanctions: Venezuelan people protest U.S. economic blockade of their country, which is causing massive suffering.

Noting that the “American continent” was particularly hard-hit by COVID-19, he said that the pandemic compounded suffering, “often aggravated by the consequences of corruption and drug trafficking.” In particular he cited the suffering of the Venezuelan people.

On a day when Christians recall Jesus as a baby, Francis drew attention to the “too many children in all the world, especially in Syria, Iraq and Yemen, who still pay the high price of war.”

Among others he said sorely needed comfort at Christmas time were the Iraqi people, and “in particular the Yazidi, hard hit by the last years of war.” And, he said, “I cannot forgot the Rohingya people,” adding that he hoped that Jesus, “born poor among the poor, will bring hope in their suffering.”

Related:

MICHIGAN PRISONERS NEED COVID-19 VACCINES NOW, SAY ADVOCATES; A.M.A., OTHERS DEMAND 1st-TIER PRIORITY | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

IS MICHIGAN USING TRUMP’S COVID-19 ‘HERD IMMUNITY’ STRATEGY TO KILL OFF PRISON POPULATION? | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

 

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IS MICHIGAN USING TRUMP’S COVID-19 ‘HERD IMMUNITY’ STRATEGY TO KILL OFF PRISON POPULATION?

Half of the prisoners  at Muskegon Correctional Facility were positive at the end of August.  Currently, 80 percent of the MCF population, 1108 prisoners, has tested positive and 8 prisoners are dead, according to MDOC figures.

MDOC deaths climbing daily, now at 107

80 percent of Muskegon CF population has now tested positive for COVID-19, up from half of prisoners 4 months ago

“Prisoners have begged repeatedly to have 14-day lockdown” to stop COVID-19 spread through unit–inmate at Muskegon, detailing spread of virus there

“Getting ahead of this virus was not MCF’s strategy, as it was to secretly engage in herd immunity.”

Advocates with “Silent Cry” traveled all the way from New York CIty to the Gus Harrison Correctional Facility Dec. 11 to protest huge flare-ups of active COVID-19 cases throughout MDOC.

SIGN PETITION TO GOV. GRETCHEN WHITMER, OTHER STATE AND FEDERAL OFFICIALS, TO PUT MICHIGAN PRISONERS IN THE TIER-ONE CATEGORY FOR COVID-19 VACCINATIONS at:

https://www.change.org/COVID-19VaccinesforMichiganPrisoners

 By MDOC prisoner

December 18, 2020 

Muskegon Correctional Facility

The COVID-19 pandemic has absolutely raged through the Muskegon Correctional Facility (MCF), 2400 S. Sheridan Drive, Muskegon, MI 49442. Unfortunately during its path of destruction has relentlessly violated nearly every healthy living vessel along the way.

There have been approximately [107] prisoner deaths now throughout the MDOC and around ten (10) of those deaths have derived from the failed prevention methods, inhumane treatments AND conditions, along with the lowest standard of medical care that can be afforded a human being, here at MCF.

The confinement and living conditions are unsanitary and deplorable to say the least as there is no set standard for anything except for “prisoner daily counts.”  The prison administration had a supreme opportunity to monitor the failures at other facilities and make the assessments and adjustments, to make rational  prevention measures here at the facility to safeguard prisoners from this deadly virus.

Initially for months, corrections officers were not required to take proper COVID testing, with only temperature checks required for them to enter the facility. (This is what caused the initial contact with the virus, here.) It wasn’t until months later, when the National Guard began nasal swabs that around August, officers then were required to take the swabs. (However, the outbreak had already blazed through MCF.)

Muskegon CF, showing housing units 

The initial contact with the virus was said to have occurred when an officer working in housing unit #2 infected numerous prisoners from that housing unit.

However, rather than isolate and lockdown that housing unit, the administration continued to allow those prisoners to engage in facility recreation events and move about the facility freely. The pandemic ravished through housing unit #2 and then spread to housing unit #1.

But rather than isolate and lockdown housing unit #1, prisoners there that tested positive were transferred to a positive unit at Carson City Facility, along with prisoners that had initially tested positive from housing two #2. The problem with that is that the virus was now here and uncontrollable without locking the facility down.

Still the prison administration refused to do so, and instead began moving prisoners from housing unit one into housing units #3 and #4, nearly causing riots and uprising in both units. (Prisoners in “administrative segregation” (the hole) are also in Unit #1. When they are released, they go back to their home unit where they can spread COVID-19,)

Three days after being placed into housing #2 and allowed to freely move about that housing unit with the “POSITIVE” prisoners, these “persons under investigation” (PUI’s)  for COVID-19 infection were then moved to the bottom floor in housing unit 1 and allowed to inter-mingle, and use the same shower, bathroom, j-pay kiosk, and telephone as the CLOSE CONTACT prisoners. (Days later, everyone tested Positive!)

Double-bunked cell at MCF in 2019.

That’s correct, they put the PUI’s into housing unit 2 which was ground zero and where they were housing all of the positives after the entire unit had tested positive and many had already been transferred out to Carson City’s “Positive Unit”. The PUI’s were allowed to intermingle with the Positives for three straight days, sharing the phones, microwaves, Jpay kiosk, and showers.

Then this administration decided to take the bottom floor of close contact prisoners from housing unit #and sent them to housing unit #6 where they had begun testing positive. Then they moved all the PUI’s that had been housed in Housing #2 with the Positives, over to housing unit #1. There,  they were not locked down or anything and permitted to roam freely throughout the housing unit, using the phones, microwaves, bathrooms, and showers, right side-by-side with the close contact prisoners.

No wonder why on the very next testing, nearly the entire unit tested positive for COVID.

The administration here at MCF has not had a plan for battling this virus as prisoners have begged them repeatedly to lock the facility down for 14 days and not move and shuffle prisoners around but they refuse to adhere to this method and instead continue to move prisoners who are testing “Positive” to other units and then their bunkies to “Close Contact” status. The Problem with the testing and this method is that Prisoners are being tested on Wednesday’s, and then despite the fact that the test results are coming back within 24-48 hrs., those testing positive are allowed to remain in the housing unit, and continue to go about their regular routines for up to five (5) days after the initial testing.

Is MDOC trying to achieve ‘herd immunity?’

This method prevents the MCF staff from ever being able to get ahead of the virus, and thus, it soon became evident to everyone that getting ahead of this virus was not MCF’s strategy, as was to secretly engage in herd immunity.

This explains the delay between testing/results and the removal of prisoners from the housing units, why close contact prisoners are being moved into uncleaned/unbleached cells where the previous occupants had tested positive, why there is absolutely no standard of sanitation, nor the ability to actually practice social distancing with a bunkie living with you.

Trump advocated ‘HERD IMMUNITY’ strategy, allowing millions to be infected, die out to stem COVID-19 pandemic

‘We want them infected’: Trump appointee demanded ‘herd immunity’ strategy, emails reveal – POLITICO

U.S. President Donald Trump/Photo FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

A top Trump appointee repeatedly urged top health officials to adopt a “herd immunity” approach to Covid-19 and allow millions of Americans to be infected by the virus, according to internal emails obtained by a House watchdog and shared with POLITICO.

“There is no other way, we need to establish herd, and it only comes about allowing the non-high risk groups expose themselves to the virus. PERIOD,” then-science adviser Paul Alexander wrote on July 4 to his boss, Health and Human Services assistant secretary for public affairs Michael Caputo, and six other senior officials.

Related:

MICHIGAN PRISONERS NEED COVID-19 VACCINES NOW, SAY ADVOCATES; A.M.A., OTHERS DEMAND 1st-TIER PRIORITY | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

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MICHIGAN PRISONERS NEED COVID-19 VACCINES NOW, SAY ADVOCATES; A.M.A., OTHERS DEMAND 1st-TIER PRIORITY

Protesters traveled all the way from New York City to protest outside the Gus Harrison Correctional Facility in Adrian, MI  Dec. 11, 2020. Nearly half the population of the prison now has active COVID-19 cases. Protesters included ( l to r) Artist UP,  Shawanna Vaughn, founder of Silent Cry, and Shirletha Gaskins-El of Justus Noww/Photo Spencer Durham The Telegram

CHANGE.ORG PETITION AT

https://www.change.org/COVID-19VaccinesforMichiganPrisoners

“For Covid-19, prisons, jails and other detention centers are arguably the worst environment to be living in. These populations are uniquely vulnerable to the virus.” — NBC news opinion piece Dec. 9

Michigan among only 11 states that have NOT specifically prioritized prisoners for vaccine distribution; 28 others have put prisoners in top tiers

MDOC ranks among top 5 states in nation for COVID-19 infections, deaths; deaths now at 104; active cases range from 50-77% of  facility populations

Gov. Whitmer, MDOC and MDHHS officials have left prisoners to die with inadequate COVID-19 relief measures to date

By Diane Bukowski

December 17, 2020/Updated December 21, 2020

Nurses outside Rikers Island Jail in NYC.

DETROIT, MI– Worried family members of Thelonious “Shawn” Searcy, whose case for exoneration has been extensively covered by the Voice of Detroit, say that he has now tested positive for COVID-19 a second time after recovering from an active case months ago.

He is evidently among 115 MDOC prisoners who have tested positive twice, as reported by Angie Jackson of the Detroit Free Press  See: State reviewing possible COVID-19 reinfections in Michigan prisoners (freep.com).

Searcy is awaiting a Court of Appeals hearing on his case, ordered by the state Supreme Court after Wayne County Third Circuit Court Judge Timothy Kenny’s 2018 denial of his motion for relief for judgment. During a stunning evidentiary hearing that year, self-admitted hit man Vincent Smothers confessed to the murder for which Searcy has been locked up since 2004. A corrected forensics report showed that a .40 caliber bullet in the victim’s body did not come from the .45 caliber gun the prosecution identified at trial as the murder weapon, testimony the trial jury never heard.

Thelonious “Shawn” Searcy was falsely convicted in 2004 of a murder to which Vincent Smothers confessed. The Michigan Supreme Court has remanded his case to the COA for action.

Searcy is among thousands of prisoners in the MDOC with likely valid innocence claims who have been locked up for decades. His family wants to know WHY he and others could actually DIE from COVID-19 for a crime he did not commit. He has been transferred to Macomb Correctional Facility, which has one of the highest rates of infection in the MDOC.

“Judge Kenny has put an innocent man in harm’s way,” Searcy’s fiancee Quintasha McCroy told VOD. “He chose to overlook the prosecutor’s deliberate lie about ballistics evidence and and the confession by Vincent Smothers.”

Advocates for prisoners say none, whether innocent or guilty of the crimes with which they were charged, should face death in prison due to COVID-19.

MI. SUPREME CT. GRANTS REHEARING TO THELONIOUS SEARCY: HITMAN CONFESSED; JUDGE, AP LIED TO JURY | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

Thelonious Searcy | Actual Innocent Prisoners

“We don’t have the death sentence in Michigan,” said Monica Jahner, who is formerly incarcerated and works with people returning home from prison through the Ingham County program Advocacy, Reentry, Resources, and Outreach.

Many prisoners and advocates have condemned what they say is the lack of action taken to protect MDOC residents so far by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and other state officials, including expeditious release of prisoners from quarters that can be construed as COVID-19 death traps.

Kairi Sanders, who is incarcerated at the Muskegon Correctional Facility, told VOD that MDOC administrators passed out forms this week asking whether prisoners are willing to take the COVID-19 vaccine, with no details about the vaccine itself, its manufacturer, or other issues like side effects. He said people were told it would go to those 65 and over first, with a trickle-down after that, with no time frame cited.

Over 80 percent of Muskegon prisoners have tested positive for COVID-19, and nine have died.

Kairi Sanders, MDOC photo.

“So many things have just been crazy,” Sanders said. “Every time they bring in a new  medication, they give it to us first, then come back LATER to give us information on it. The guys are like, ‘what vaccine you’re considering,’ ‘who’s it from,’ and so on. A lot of guys don’t want to take it. Meanwhile, while they’re waiting for the vaccine, we’re in danger. They’re double-bunking cells, overcrowding the units, and have closed our school buildings so we can’t get programming needed for parole.”

He said the majority of MDOC prisoners are there on parole violations or past their earliest release date because on the lack of available programming, issues that many advocates have been raising for months.

“Gov. Whitmer could have downsized half the population and spread everybody around to allow social distancing,” Sanders added. “Meanwhile, they’re not testing employees on a regular basis. They only give guards temperature checks when 95 percent of the prisoners who’ve tested positive didn’t have a temperature.  But we’re taking nasal swabs and even if a guy tests positive they’re allowing him to walk around other units for days although test results come back in one day.”

Class in MDOC prison; teachers had kept reporting to work there as of March, but classes now shut down. Photo: Isabella Isaacs-Thomas Michigan Radio

Sanders said MCF residents are constantly being moved around, from “close contact” units to COVID-19 units and back again, causing infections to increase. He said he was moved to “close contact” because his cellmate had symptoms. Those with symptoms are sent to the COVID-positive unit for a few days, then come back to close contact units and infect others.

Pamela Moore wrote VOD, “Something needs to be done about so many prisoners not being released [on parole] because of unfinished classes. There are probably over 200 inmates being held because of it. And it shouldn’t count against them because due to COVID-19, classes kept being cancelled. Even before COVID-19 inmates were having trouble getting the required classes done. Some of the classes can be done in the community. But it’s like the governor and MDOC don’t care about the lives of inmates. So many have passed away because of COVID but they could’ve been avoided if the governor would’ve done more for prisoners. Inmates’ lives are just as important as ours.”

A.M.A., SCIENTISTS: VACCINATE PRISONERS AS PART OF TIER I NOW 

Meanwhile, as vaccines approved by the (FDA) are now rolling out across the country, the American Medical Association and John Hopkins’ Center for Health Security, among others, are demanding that the 2.2 million victims of mass incarceration in the U.S. be in the first tier of recipients. They note prisoners are four times as likely as the those in the general population to be infected.

“As we approach 300,000 pandemic-related deaths in the United States, we can’t forget that the five largest Covid-19 clusters are in prisons,” justice reform activist Ashish Prashar and DeAnna Hoskins, CEO of JustLeadershipUSA, wrote in an NBC News opinion piece Dec. 9.  “Allocating precious medical resources to people who are serving time may be anathema to much of the public, but elected officials must show some backbone by protecting this highly vulnerable population — for both moral and health reasons.”

Protesters in Lansing April 16, 2020 call on Whitmer to release prisoners due to COVID-19. To date, paroles have not been stepped up beyond normal processing rates, and prisoners have not been placed in one-man cells.

Prashar and Hoskins say incarcerated and detained individuals face “the reality of the conditions in which they live; in prison, they are unable to maintain social distancing and often have no access to proper medical care. Congregate settings like assisted living and nursing home facilities are already top of the list;  it would follow that detention centers and prisons should also be among the first places vaccines are distributed.”

Researchers note that beyond the obvious risk to the people inside prisons, jails, and detention centers, they can circulate the virus back into the general community. Prison employees move between their homes and their place of work, while prisoners circulate back into the community on their release, particularly from short-term stays in jails.

THE PRISON POLICY INITIATIVE (PPI)

https://www.prisonpolicy.org/blog/2020/12/08/covid-vaccination-plans/“According to more than 40 draft proposals analyzed by the Covid Prison Project and The Marshall Project, in at least six states, incarcerated people will be among the “phase one” recipients of the vaccine, along with medical personnel and essential workers,” the Marshall Project reports.  “In many more states, they are slated to receive the vaccine during phase two, as a member of so-called “critical populations.” (See graph above.)

MDOC COVID-19 deaths, now at 104, put Michigan third highest in U.S./Marshall Project 12 15 2020

But Michigan is among only 11 states that have not specifically prioritized its prison population for vaccine distribution in either phase I or II.

This is despite the fact that Michigan is a national hotspot for COVID-19 infections and deaths in prisons, consistently ranking among the top five states in the country for each.

The Marshall Project reported, “By Dec. 15, at least 276,107 people in prison had tested positive for the illness, a 10 percent increase from the week before. New infections this week reached their highest level since the start of the pandemic. The latest surges have far outpaced the previous peak in early August. California reported nearly 6,000 new cases. The Federal Bureau of Prisons had more than 3,000. Michigan and Pennsylvania had more than 2,000. Arizona and Nevada each saw more than 1,000 new cases.”

Deaths among Michigan prisoners are now at 104, according to MDOC figures, or 26 per 10,000, which ranks Michigan third highest among states in the U.S.

Lynn Sutfin of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services told VOD that MDOC prisoners would receive the vaccine as part of other categories in the MDHHS plan.

Patrice Ferguson fights for her COVID+ husband Donald Ferguson outside Gus Harrison Correctional Facility Dec. 13, 2020.

“Incarcerated inmates would be prioritized as they fit into the listed phases,” Sutfin said. “In Phase 1C, individuals may be vaccinated who are age 65 or older, OR  who are 18-64 with underlying medical conditions that put them at risk of severe illness due to COVID-19 infection. Other incarcerated populations would fall into Phase 2 if they do not fall into the other categories listed.

“It is important to note that vaccination in one phase may not be complete before vaccination in another phase begins. http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/MI_COVID-19_Vaccination_Prioritization_Guidance_710349_7.pdf”

MDOC spokesperson Chris Gautz said that the department is currently surveying all prisoners 65 years and older and those 18-64 with underlying conditions to see if they are willing to be vaccinated, and should have the results by next week. He said it is unclear how soon vaccines will be available for the MDOC, since the roll-out is just beginning.

But the Marshall Project, the Prison Policy Initiative and others emphasize that SPECIFIC selection of prisoner populations on an emergency basis is necessary to ensure that sufficient vaccine supplies are allotted for them as priority Tier I recipients.

RICARDO FERRELL, RICKY RIMMER-BEY, DARRELL EWING, CARL HUBBARD, EFREN PAREDES ALSO SUFFER FROM COVID-19

In addition to Thelonious “Shawn” Searcy, several other prisoners who have tested positive have connections with the Voice of Detroit, either as writers or subjects of stories on their cases.

(L to R) Ricardo Ferrell, Quentin Jones, and Leroy Washington are founders of “My Life Matters Too ” in MDOC.

VOD has published nearly 40 articles by its Field Editor, Ricardo Ferrell. Ferrell is a leader of “My Life Matters Too,” a newsletter published by MDOC prisoners. He is also active on suicide prevention watch inside MDOC, and in numerous prison advocacy organizations. He has been incarcerated since 1982 for a murder that occurred on E. Jefferson across from the Renaissance Center in Detroit, during a period when the Police Department was locking up Black youths en masse to attract businesses to Detroit.  He says his conviction was obtained through police coercion of witnesses. See http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/My-Life-Matters-TOO-Newsletter-Special-Issue-Death-by-Incarceration-December-2020-2.pdf

Ferrell recently tested positive for COVID-19, one of 825 active prisoner cases at Gus Harrison Correctional Facility in Adrian, 43 percent out of a total population of  1955. Five prisoners there have died from the virus.

Out of a total of 39,902 tests performed on MDOC prisoners since the beginning of the pandemic in March, a whopping 19,074,or 48 percent were positive. The MDOC reports that 6,727 cases are still active and 104 have died.  MDOC Response and Information on coronavirus (COVID-19) | by MI Dept. of Corrections | Medium. 

Ricky Rimmer is currently incarcerated at the Richard A. Handlon Correctional Facility, and recently tested positive for COVID-19, where 794 out of 1,233 prisoners have tested positive, 69 percent. Three have died so far.

Rimmer has been incarcerated since 1976 as a result of what appears to be frame-up by Detroit Police Sgt. James Harris, who recently was added to Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy’s Brady/Giglio list of police personnel who should not be trusted to testify truthfully. Rimmer was 22 at the time and is now 67. Harris, a member of Detroit’s killer cop unit S.T.R.E.S.S. (Stop the Robberies Enjoy Safe Streets),  was charged with murder of a Wayne County Deputy Sheriff and other offenses related to the infamous Rochester Street Massacre in 1971, and later spent 20 years in federal prison for taking $200,000 in bribes to protect international drug shipments coming in to Detroit. MICHIGAN LIFER RICKY RIMMER-BEY: CONVICTED DRUG DEALER COP JAMES HARRIS FRAMED ME FOR MURDER | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

Darrell Ewing

Darrell Ewing has been incarcerated since 2010 for murder, but a total of eight judges at state and federal levels have ordered a new trial for him and his co-defendant Derrico Searcy because of jury misconduct. Despite the previous orders, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy appealed the latest from the state Court of Appeals to the Michigan Supreme Court, although legal experts say there is little likelihood of success there.

Meanwhile, Ewing tested positive for COVID-19 some months ago, at Lakeland Correctional Facility, where 24 prisoners have died from COVID after 58 percent of the population tested positive. His family wonders why the prosecutor is forcing him to remain incarcerated despite the fact that his sentence may become a death sentence. APPEALS CT. UPHOLDS NEW TRIAL ORDER IN ‘GANG’ SOCIAL MEDIA CONVICTIONS OF DARRELL EWING, DERRICO SEARCY | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

Darrell Ewing | Actual Innocent Prisoners

Carl Hubbard is another lifer with a strong innocence claim that has been covered by the Voice of Detroit. He was convicted of murder in 1992 without any physical evidence, based solely on the claim of an acquaintance, Curtiss Collins, that he saw Hubbard in the vicinity of the murder. Police and prosecutors threatened to charge Collins if he did not testify, and went so far as to have him arrested as he left the witness stand after recanting during the trial.

Carl Hubbard/MDOC photo

Hubbard just wrote VOD,  “I have been very sick with this COVID-19. They tested me eight times and the last time it came back positive after Thanksgiving.  I have been sick ever since, lost all my taste and smell, and am having chest pains. There have been least three deaths here. I’m in the COVID unit 900 where everybody has COVID. But there is really no treatment going on here because an officer infected everybody here.  There are 240 prisoners with COVID in the unit, and in the whole compound,  2100 prisoners and at least 100 C.O.’s with it as well.”

Hubbard has been fighting his conviction pro se; he is now in federal court in front of U.S. District Court Judge David Lawson, and is asking for assistance from attorneys. His pro se pleadings are extremely well-done.

Hubbard is in the Carson City Correctional Facility located in mid-Michigan north of Lansing. MDOC figures for the CCCF confirm Hubbard’s estimates, with 77 PERCENT OF PRISONERS testing positive out of 2,506. THERE ARE STILL 1,706 ACTIVE CASES. Four prisoners have died. 

TIME TO FREE CARL HUBBARD; AP GONZALES JAILED KEY PROS. WITNESS AFTER HE RECANTED AT TRIAL | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

COMMENTS on COVID-19 VACCINE FOR MI. PRISONERS NOW Petition

https://www.change.org/COVID-19VaccinesforMichiganPrisoners

Pamela Moore·1 day ago

Prisoners lives matter!!

Leigha Wilson·20 hours ago

I’m signing because my husband is incarcerated with the MDOC. He feels that getting the vaccine will allow them to have some normalcy back. And I would give anything to be able to see him or even just hear some happiness and hope in his voice again.

Angela Black·9 hours ago

I believe in second chances. MDOC #LetMIPeopleGO

Jennifer Trippe·1 day ago

My L/O was Negative till MDOC moved him to Newberry. Then he tested Positive at Newberry and got stuck in a gym for about a month. They’re treating our L/O’s like cattle. They do have human rights even though they are incarcerated!!

Wendy Woods·16 hours ago

My loved one is incarcerated and is ACTUALLY INNOCENT!!! These men & women deserve to treated FAR better than they have been!!!  FreeKennethNixon.org

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Correctional Facilities Are COVID Hot Spots, Don’t Get Vaccine Priority : NPR

MDOC hits bleak milestone: Over 100 Michigan prisoners have died from COVID-19 (wxyz.com)

IS MICHIGAN USING TRUMP’S COVID-19 ‘HERD IMMUNITY’ STRATEGY TO KILL OFF PRISON POPULATION? | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

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COPING WITH COVID-19 IN MICHIGAN PRISONS: RALLY BY ‘SILENT CRY’ FRI. DEC. 11 AT GUS HARRISON CF IN ADRIAN

 

Men at Gus Harrison Correctional Facility Report New Wave of COVID-19

Recent mass testing at GHFC shows virus migrated from Unit 2 to Unit 1, where there were previously no positive tests

GHFC prisoners denied request for N95 masks, recommended by CDC

Now 95 deaths state-wide in the MDOC

RALLY BY ‘SILENT CRY,’ NATION OUTSIDE SET FOR FRI. DEC. 10 outside GHCF in Adrian; Shawanna Vaughn/Silent Cry: “Because I have Black sons”

Ricardo Ferrell

By Ricardo Ferrell

VOD Field Editor

December 8, 2020

Not since 1918 has a pandemic like COVID-19 had such a devastating impact around the globe. During the 1918 Spanish Flu tens of millions of lives were impacted and millions died from the deadly disease. Now here we are 100 years later facing, arguably, an even deadlier virus that knows no boundaries. No one is safe and the most vulnerable like elderly patients in nursing homes have been ravished with illness and taken out by the coronavirus.

Another vulnerable population is within prisons across the U.S., where states including California, Texas, New York, Louisiana, Ohio –to name a few, have seen spikes in the virus where thousands of inmates have succumbed to the disease and many have died.

Here in Michigan a reported 47 percent of the inmate population has tested positive and contracted the virus. As of today, there have been 91 inmates who have died as a result of COVID complications. How is  that even possible when inmates are confined behind highly secured walls, fences, bars, and doors? In other words, if inmates are secured within the perimeters of secure prisons, then how are thousands still being infected? It’s no secret that employees are the main cause of how the virus is seeping into prisons in Michigan. Here are some indisputable facts:

The pandemic has hit the U.S. hard and the prison system has been impacted severely. We have been put at-risk by gross negligence on the part of the MDOC. There is no way an incarcerated individual can go out into society by day and contract the virus and come back at night and spread it.

Here is how things unfolded at the Gus Harrison Correctional Facility located in Madison Township, just outside of Adrian.

In early April we didn’t have any cases on either side of the facility (level I, Level II or level IV). Then suddenly inmates on the Southside (level I) were testing positive right after the reopening of Unit 6, outside the perimeter of Gus Harrison. Unit 6 was being used as one of the first step-down units for those at other facilities who were recovering after they tested positive. Many of us assumed that inmates on the Southside who worked outside the gate near Unit 6 must have contracted the virus and carried it back to their housing units. Before long, more than half of the inmates housed in the level I (pollbarn) open dormitory style setting had tested positive, over 700 inmates. The administration responded by separating both sides of the facility, which we all hoped would keep the virus from spreading to the level II & level IV units.

Shawanna Erena Vaughn of New York City, Director of “Silent Cry.”

Although we couldn’t pin point how the virus still made it over to our side of the facility, many staff started testing positive, and due to staff shortages and requested overtime, some of those same staff members were assigned to work in housing units and other areas of the facility. Up until that time, there weren’t any inmates who had tested positive on the Northside,  just a handful of close contacts from being near infected staff.

Fast forward to now.  After almost eight months without any of the +/-  1,000 prisoners on the Northside testing positive, the housing unit I reside in, has had some 20 positive cases since Friday the 13th. We are tested every Friday with a nasal swab. Last week Monday, healthcare began checking everyone’s temperature and other vitals. When someone has a high fever, they are given an instant test. And there have been at least seven instant tests to show positives. So, as a result of the outbreak, the entire housing unit is on ‘quarantine status’ and have daily outside yard times isolated from the other housing units. All three meals are being delivered from food service. Health care (nurses) come to the units to dispense medications and insulin. Everyone is on edge, because since last week’s testing, it’s believed others may also be infected and could unknowingly be spreading the virus.

The results from mass testing held on Nov. 20th, came back three days later) with over 100 positives in this housing unit alone and 20 or so in another unit. I wonder how this unit got hit like this. Two prisoners tested positive on Nov. 13,  there were other positives the morning of Nov. 15, and the number continued to rise until Nov. 29th, where it is now 240 positives in unit one. Each housing unit holds 240 prisoners, so everyone is positive.

Grounds of Gus Harrison CF in Adrian, MI.

There wasn’t a single positive case in this unit until a corrections officer tested positive that’s regularly assigned to work in our unit. Records should show this officer working a double-shift (morning and afternoon) on Nov. 5th, in housing unit one.

A hard fact is, we can’t go out to the free world, contract COVID-19, then come back to the facility and spread it among prisoners and staff. Everyone knows the only way for us prisoners to get infected, is from a staff member. There should be video footage of this particular staff member improperly wearing a mask, and coughing for hours. In fact, coping with COVID.

The MDOC should’ve been more proactive in containing this virus and more measures taken to assure the safety of everyone. I believe each staff member’s temperature is checked and he/she is asked if they’re experiencing any symptoms, before they’re allowed into the facility. So, if a staff member comes into a correctional facility and states NO to the question of having symptoms, in an effort to avoid being sent home and quarantined, then they are intentionally undermining the COVID protocol to prevent spread. The bottom line is, many of us have now been infected and could be in jeopardy of losing our lives to the coronavirus?  The MDOC now has nearly 16,000 prisoners who have tested positive for COVID.

Gus Harrison CF, Adrian MI

This is how COVID is affecting those of us in housing unit one. We just learned that at least three units on the Southside are also under ‘quarantine status’ due to outbreaks in those units. It’s really a sad affair, this virus is spreading and we’re like sitting ducks. As of December 1st, housing unit two has been placed on ‘quarantine status’ as well due to over 100 positive cases in that unit, which brings the total on the Northside of the facility to roughly 400 cases.

The prison administration at Gus Harrison dropped the ball in handling this outbreak, it seems that they would’ve learned from the approximately 700 inmates and several staff members on the Southside of the facility who contracted the virus, on how best to separate the positives, negatives, close contacts, and PUI’s, but again they were grossly negligent. Mixing positives, negatives and close contacts in the same units and dayrooms contributed to many inmates getting infected.

William Garrison in a 2009 photo from family vist.

Among the 91 prisoner deaths across the MDOC so far, was William Garrison, a Detroit man who had been convicted as a juvenile of First Degree Murder and sentenced to Life Without Parole. He served 44 years before being resentenced under the landmark decision in Miller v. Alabama, where the U.S. Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional to give juvenile offenders LWOP sentences. He was scheduled to be released from the Macomb Correctional Facility near New Haven, MI. Less than two weeks before his release date he contracted COVID-19 and died before he could walk out the door a free man.

There are many men and women that have caught the virus and no longer are with us. Curtis Watkins had served 47 years before he contracted COVID and later died after being placed on a ventilator. His case was being looked at by the Michigan Law Clinic at the University of Michigan due to being locked up on the abolished Felony Murder statute. Garrison and Watkins would likely still be with us had they not been exposed to the Coronavirus.

Honeysuckle Magazine reported, “More recently on December 2, 2020, [an individual] known as DJ, was found dead in his cell in the Gus Harrison Correctional Facility in Adrian, Michigan, from complications of coronavirus. Just three weeks earlier, DJ had returned to the facility after undergoing open heart surgery, a result of his battle with multiple sclerosis (MS). He had survived an initial contraction of the virus in April.”

VOD editor: The MDOC does not publish the names of prisoners who have died from COVID, but it is recently publishing numbers per facility. See: http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/REMEMBERING-PRISONERS-WHO-HAVE-PASSED-MDOC.pdf

Although prison officials put in place some measures early on when the pandemic first hit the Michigan Department of Corrections, e.g., suspended visits, stopped transfers between facilities and gave each prisoner poor quality cloth masks, made at factories inside correctional facilities, it wasn’t enough to prevent the spread of the virus. Social distancing is virtually impossible inside a prison, especially in close quarters like pole barn settings, where inmates are forced to live cramped up in small cubicles with eight  people, or in 8×10 cells double-bunked with a cellmate. While we have had to wear the poor quality cloth masks, majority of the staff have the luxury of sporting the more effective N95’s.

During a recent Warden’s Forum meeting, Unit Representatives proposed that the prisoner population be allowed to have the same N95 masks, but that was quickly shot down, despite the suggestion that the Prisoner Benefit Fund could pay for them.

Published by the CDC.

We are given updates on JPay which are questionable at best. The following is what was reported to us in November: On Nov. 13th, there were a reported 1,006 positive cases in the MDOC, on Nov. 18th there were 751 cases, on Nov. 19th there were 699, on Nov. 23rd there were 199 cases, on Nov. 24th there were 75 cases, and on Nov. 30th there were 87 cases. Already on the first day of December, there were 63 cases, and on Dec. 3rd there were 1,362 cases. This facility has had five prisoner deaths due to the coronavirus including at least one staff member. To find out more information and data related to COVID in the MDOC go to Email: askmdoc@michigan.gov with questions, or see MDOC Response and Information on coronavirus (COVID-19) | by MI Dept. of Corrections | Medium

In summation, since this pandemic began we have constantly been at-risk, especially the elderly prison population who are the most vulnerable with underlying health conditions. Today’s positive cases in the State of Michigan were reported at 7,146 where 22 percent, or the 1,362 the MDOC reported on December 3. If more isn’t done to prevent the spread of COVID inside the prison system, we are going to see higher numbers in positive cases, and unfortunately even more deaths. What’s stopping the virus from infecting the entire prison population? We are already at 47 percent of the 34,000 or so that’s in our prisons. The other 53 percent are like what I said earlier, sitting ducks.

Heidi Washington, MDOC Director

Michigan’s governor, along with the MDOC’s director Heidi Washington have a chance to really do something about this out-of-control spread of COVID-19 in Michigan prisons. At least separate every prisoner by placing them in single occupancy rooms until the virus is brought under control by one of the vaccines (Pfizer or Moderna) sometime next year. If not, we are going to see this virus continue to languish in every prison in our state. And sadly, it’s going to keep killing vulnerable prisoners and staff.

Early this spring, when the pandemic first hit jails and the MDOC, Governor Whitmer talked about releasing upwards of 5,000 nonviolent, low risk offenders, and those who were either past their earliest release dates, or already parole eligible. How about looking at releasing 10,000 more prisoners that fall in that same category of the 5,000? They can be paroled or released and placed on home confinement like the Federal Bureau of Prisons did with thousands of inmates who they let out under compassionate releases.

Stakeholders in Lansing could convene a special group of: Lawmakers, Prison Officials, Michigan Parole Board, Advocacy Organizations, and Michigan Citizens to figure out how to safely release those who no longer pose a risk to public safety.

TO CONTACT SHAWANNA VAUGHN OF “SILENT CRY” SEE HER FACEBOOK PAGE AT Shawanna Erena Vaughn | Facebook

Related: 

Michigan Department of Corrections Under Fire for Failing to Take Appropriate Measures to Combat Covid-19 – Honeysuckle Magazine

VOD HAS PUBLISHED MORE THAN 30 ARTICLES BY RICARDO FERRELL: PUT HIS NAME IN OUR SEARCH ENGINE TO READ THEM.

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PEOPLE’S WARRIOR AGNES HITCHCOCK’S 75TH BIRTHDAY

Agnes Hitchcock with daughter Kirsten at her right, Call ‘out supporters at Drive-By Birthday Thank you party Nov. 20, 2020 Photo: Diane Bukowski

AGNES HITCHCOCK HAS NEVER FAILED THE PEOPLE OF DETROIT: FIGHTING BACK AGAINST ALL ODDS!

Ihekerema Goree and Agnes Hitchcock at Birthday Thank You Party Nov. 20, 2020/Agnes Call ’em Out Facebook pg.

By VOD Editor Diane Bukowski   

November 21, 2020

Call ’em Out members and supporters flocked out to Agnes Hitchcock’s storied home on E. Philadelphia for a “Thank You” 75th Birthday party honoring this indefatigable Detroit hero, steward of the vanguard grassroots organization Call ’em Out.  Her daughter Kirsten Hitchcock organized the party as a “THANK YOU” to everyone who fought for a “NO” Vote on Proposal N in the Nov. 4 election. VOD pays tribute to this life-time Detroit hero with a photo array covering many of the battles she and Call ’em Out members fought over the years. Recent property tax battle photos are first, then the array detours to early years beginning with Agnes throwing the “Grapes of Wrath” to protest massive school closings at the DPS board meeting in 2007.

Call ’em vs. foreclosure devastation of Detroit 

Agnes Hitchcock led protest vs, $600M Property Tax swindle Feb. 28 2020

Agnes Hitchcock on Proposal N Photo Pulse Institute; dragged out of CAYMC over $600M Property Tax swindle Feb. 28, 2020 Photo: Clarence Tabb, Detroit News

Detroit homeowner Arizona Vaughn with Agnes Hitchcock fighting tax seizure of home she bought from city in 1994 and completely re-built at her own cost; Agnes berates Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan for city’s role in tax foreclosures.

VOTE NO!! ON DETROIT PROPOSAL N–NOV. 3–TAX THE RICH, NO BONDS FOR BANK PROFIT | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought
Agnes Hitchcock: Detroit’s Fiery Black Activist Urges ‘No’ Vote On Proposal N – THE PuLSE INSTITUTE
ARIZONA VAUGHN: HOW CAN THEY TAKE MY HOME? FIGHTS WEALTHY DETROIT ELITE, TREASURER, UCHC | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

Fighting to save Detroit Public Schools

Agnes is arrested at DPS board meeting in June, 2007 for protesting the closing of 34 schools, with hundreds more to come. In these mainstream media photos, she is shown under arrest (l) after throwing the grapes of wrath (r).

CANCEL DPS DEBT TO THE BANKS! QUALITY EDUCATION FOR DETROIT CHILDREN; TUNE IN WHPR SAT. 2/27@10:30 AM | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

Chaos, arrests and sour grapes at Detroit school board meeting (wistv.com)

STATE WAR ON DETROIT PUBLIC SCHOOLS CONTINUES, “SELLING BLACK CHILDREN TO THE HIGHEST BIDDER” | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

RHODES’ RULE OVER DETROIT SCHOOLS OMINOUS; AS BANKRUPTCY JUDGE, HE DISMANTLED CITY OF DETROIT | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

Battling massive water shut-offs

Agnes Hitchcock, Call ’em Out mobilize for direct action vs water shutoffs May 31 2014

Mary Shoemake and other Call ’em Out members at Detroit Water Board building; 2014 blockade of Homrich contractors who shut water off; Agnes Hitchcock and Teresa Kelly of Michigan Citizen are arrested at Homrich blockade 

CALL ‘EM OUT GOES BACK TO WAR! DIRECT ACTION TO STOP WATER SHUT-OFFS! | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought
PASTORS, COMMUNITY LEADERS ARRESTED BLOCKING HOMRICH GATES TO STOP DETROIT WATER SHUT-OFFS | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought
DETROIT SHUTS WATER OFF AGAIN, VIOLATING UN DECLARATION; WHEN WILL CITY RISE UP? | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

Fight vs. politicians, corporate grab of city assets 

Call ’em Out camped out in City of Detroit Clerk Janice Winfrey’s office in original protest v. election fraud, in race of Tom Barrow for mayor and in Schools Proposal S (Agnes with Marie Thornton)

Call ’em Out protested at City Councilwoman Kay Everett’s home and at Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s Manoogian Mansion during original round of water shut-offs.

Call ;em Out demands No Giveaways of Detroit’s assets during Mackinac Island annual conference of corporate flunkies. May 28 2009

Call ’em Out has held dozens of town hall meetings with large crowds in attendance. (left to right) Mary Shoemake gives Power Couple Award to Jan and William Malachi; the late AFSCME Local 207 President John RIehl and a DWSD worker protest Water Dept. privatization; Agnes Hitchcock receives award.

 Call ’em Out’s Annual Sambo Award Dinners

Agnes and Call ;em Out have hosted annual “Sambo Awards” dinners calling out Black politicians for selling out. (l) (Award to Kwame Kilpatrick; (r) Agnes at dinner DATE

Sambo Award dinners have drawn large audiences, shown applauding at two events.

DEADLINE DETROIT | GRAPE-THROWING ACTIVIST GIVES ‘SAMBO AWARDS’ TO DETROIT POLICE, WATER CHIEFS

DETROIT ACTIVISTS NOT BACKING DOWN IN ‘SAMBO AWARDS’ CONTROVERSY (FOX2DETROIT.COM)

Call ’em Out Stands Up to Detroit Police 

Call ’em Out passed torch to youths of New Era Detroit, after supporting their leader Scrill against police frame-up, packing courtroom and achieving victory. Marie Thornton with Scrill at Call e’m Out dinner (l)

Call ’em Out steward Agnes Hitchcock stood up to attack from DPD Chief James Craig after giving him a Sambo award; Mary Shoemake, Erma Thomas and Linda Willis marched with hundreds of others to denounce DPD murder of Aiyana Jones, 7, on May 16, 2010

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DARNELL SUMMERS FIGHTS GLOBAL 52-YR. WITCHHUNT IN COP KILLING; SUPPORTS OTHERS STILL IN PRISON


First-degree murder charges in 1968 case of State Police Detective Robert Gonser dismissed ‘without prejudice’ in 1969, 1982; pros. witnesses recanted

Wayne Co. Pros. O’Hair in 1982: “No factual, legal or ethical justification for proceeding with this case.” 

Darnell Summers in Germany.

Oct. 2020: Summers returns to Inkster from Berlin to film ‘No End in Sight;’ Mich. State Police stop him, seize cell phone, blood sample

MSP’s Mike Shaw:  “Summers still a suspect” in cop murder

MSP’s Shanon Banner:  “We don’t maintain research on militia groups” re: state’s racist right-wing organizations

“I could have been in prison for 52 years of my life–there are others who suffered that fate, and a lot of them are innocent.” –Summers

By Diane Bukowski

November 15, 2020

UPDATE: Support Darnell at Metro Airport Today Friday, Nov. 20, 2020: From Renee Lichtman

[Today], Darnell has to return to Germany; he does intend to come back to Detroit in the near future to finish his film. But Darnell really does not know what to expect at the airport when he plans to leave…

Will authorities take his passport, the way they took his phone when he arrived in Detroit? Will the authorities have some “results” from the DNA swab they took from him, with a warrant, attached, when he stopped at a gas station?

At Metro Airport, Darnell will be giving an update to friends and media at 3:30 PM, today, Friday, at Delta Airlines, in the McNamara Terminal.

We hope you can join us and support a fellow veteran.

In Solidarity, Rene Lichtman 248 986 3466,

renelichtman@gmail.co

Darnell Summers at: 1 313 948 2537, acrimprod@hotmail.com

Atty. Jeffrey Edison (center) speaks at Darnell Summers press conference outside DPSH Nov. 13, 2020. Summers covers the event at left.

DETROIT—Darnell Summers, a globally renowned documentary film-maker, musician, Vietnam veteran and war resister, returned to his boyhood city of Inkster, Michigan from Berlin, Germany last month to work on a new film, “No End in Sight.”

He discovered there is also no end in sight to a 52-year witch hunt by the Michigan State Police and the FBI, still seeking to re-charge him for the murder of MSP Detective Robert Gonser in Inkster on Aug. 8, 1968.  Charges against Summers were twice dismissed “without prejudice” (meaning they could be brought again) in 1969 and again in 1984 after both prosecution eyewitnesses recanted.

MSP Red Squad Det. Robert Gonser, killed Aug. 8, 1968 in Inkster.

Summers and his supporters, including attorneys from the National Lawyers Guild (Detroit) and the National Conference of Black Lawyers, and members of Detroit Will Breathe, spoke at a press conference outside the “Detroit Public Safety Headquarters” (DPSH) Nov. 13. The DPSH houses the headquarters of both the Detroit Police and the Michigan State Police Forensics Laboratory.

“This case is not just about me,” Summers pointed out. “It’s about the millions of people languishing in prisons in America and the tactics that are employed by this state, by this government, to imprison these people, to persecute these people, to oppress these people.

“They come from the oppressed sections of this country, and beyond the borders of this country, [the U.S.] also effects imprisonment, executions, assassinations. As a Vietnam veteran, I’m opposed to imperialistic wars, military interventions  by this country. I didn’t support it before the [Vietnam} war, during the war and after the war.”

He called on his supporters to fight for “millions of prisoners across America” still locked up as a result of government tactics. Tactics used in his case included witness coercion resulting in the recanted testimony, prosecutorial refusal to disclose evidence that would exonerate the defendant, including a report that Summers was elsewhere at the time of Gonser’s deathand the use of “dismissal without prejudice” verdicts to circumvent final freedom.

(Ed. Prosecutors and state and city police have continued with these tactics to the present day, resulting in an untold number of wrongful convictions, many of them directed at Black youths.  See box at right for examples, and story links below this article.

Summers, who is now 73, grew up in Inkster, Michigan. He served in the U.S. Air Force from 1966 to 1970. In 1968, while home on leave  before being sent to Vietnam, he helped create the Malcolm X Cultural Center in Inkster, in a city recreation facility.

Its young Black founders were part of a wave of civil rights and “Black Power” revolutionary uprisings across the U.S. calling for an end to the war in Vietnam, as well as the “War Against Black America.”

According to news reports from the time, two Inkster police officers were “shot at” near the Malcolm X center on the night of Aug. 7, 1968, after the city had ordered the Center’s sign removed.

The two fired their guns in response, wounding a civilian.

Later the same night, on Aug. 8, MSP Detectives Robert Gonser and Frederick Prysby were surveilling the area as part of their duties in the MSP’s “Red Squad” (political surveillance unit) when they also came under gunfire. Gonser was killed at 2:40 a.m.

Black youth James E. Matthews, 14, killed by police during manhunt, another wounded

James Matthews, 14, killed by squad of  police just after Gonser’s death. No charges ever brought.

At 3:15 a.m., police officers killed Black 14-year-old youth James E. Matthews,  less than a mile from the site of Gonser’s killing, causing outrage in the community.

An autopsy report indicated he died of wounds from two shotgun blasts fired at a distance.

Inkster resident Gerald Calvin Graham, 21 was injured by police in a separate incident and  treated for a shotgun wound in the left shoulder at Wayne County General Hospital.

The Facebook page “Keep Darnell Free” reports, “. . . not once in these 52 years did any law enforcement official lift a finger to charge and prosecute any cop for the cold-blooded murder of Jimmie Matthews that August night. In fact, on Friday, August 16, 1968, Wayne County Prosecutor William Cahalan issued a statement claiming that there was ‘no criminality in the slaying of James Matthews.’

“For more details about the murder of Jimmie Matthews, see the article ‘Will Detroit Burn?’ in the Michigan Daily, June 18, 1969 https://digital.bentley.umich.edu/…/mdp.39015071754233/170″

FACEBOOK PAGE “KeepDarnellFree”   https://www.facebook.com/KeepDarnellFree

War resister Darnell Summers (l) with the USAF in Vietnam

Policemen from Inkster and Westland, Wayne County Sheriff’s officers and Michigan State Police officers were questioned in Matthews’ killing by the Wayne County Prosecutor’s office.

A “police-prosecutor” investigative task force concluded Matthews’ death was a result of “mistaken identity” by cops conducting the manhunt,  in a report issued eight days after the shootings. Wayne County Prosecutor William Cahalan said “there was no criminality” in the shooting.

Multiple accounts of Gonser’s shooting indicate that eyewitnesses saw shots fired from a car with four Black men in it. But charges against Summers and two co-defendants, including a young woman, were not brought until June, 1969.

Police and prosecutors used the testimony of a sole eyewitness, Milford Scott, 22. Scott claimed he was in a car with the three defendants during the shooting, but later recanted his account, leading to the first dismissal of charges.

The female co-defendant told prosecutors she had been beaten by State Police. The second time charges were brought against Summers in 1982, she said she was in the car with Summers when he shot Gonser. But she recanted that testimony, causing the second dismissal of charges.

Above is Detroit Free Press article by Joe Swickard on the charges against Summers being dropped the first time. Below is an excerpt from a United Press International (UPI) release on the second dismissal, produced from CIA files.

After charges against Summers were dropped in 1969, and he completed his tour with the USAF,  he moved to West Germany and continued his activism on an international level.

He has been involved with the Vietnam Veterans Against the War (Anti-Imperialist), the STOP THE WAR BRIGADE during the Gulf war, the Iraq Veterans against the War, the GI newspaper FighT bAck, and the “Just Say No Posse” aiding G.I. war resisters, among  other groups and alliances. He has also been active with immigrants from Turkey and the youth movement in Germany.

(L to r) John Sinclair, Darnell Summers, and the late Bernard Stroble (Shango of the Attica Brothers.)

Meanwhile, Summers remained active in the U.S., allying with political prisoners like John Sinclair of the White Panther Party, and Attica Brother “Shango,” who survived the vicious massacre of prisoners who rebelled at Attica State Prison in New York in 1971. Shango died in a suspicious shooting after his subsequent return to his hometown of Detroit.

Meanwhile, Summers has had a successful career as a professional  musician, filmmaker, actor, composer, cameraman, producer and sound technician, working on projects around the world.

Summers is the only alleged “suspect” the MSP has continued to target over the ensuing decades. The Michigan State Police played a major role along with the Detroit Police, the FBI and the CIA in surveillance of many thousands of anti-war and anti-racism activists over previous decades, and continues to do so today.

Darnell Summers in Europe, in band “Afrodisia.”

Atty. Jeffrey Edison of the National Conference of Black Lawyers called the ongoing campaign against Summers “police terrorism” during the press conference, noting that police brutality has many aspects.

“The surveillance itself is a manifestation of terror,” he said.

He noted that “Red Squads” were “an arm of the FBI’s COINTELPRO, whose specific objective was to neutralize the Black liberation movement,  focusing on the Black Panther Party, the Nation of Islam, and the Republic of New Africa.”

Summers re-entered the U.S. in early October to visit Inkster and Detroit and Detroit and film his new documentary “No End in Sight.” He was not immediately aware that the MSP had tried to go to Germany to question him, yet were rebuffed by German authorities due to COVID-19 entry restrictions.

He was questioned at the airport by “unidentified law enforcement officials.” Meanwhile, the MSP had paid visits to his brother Bill Summers, a  noted jazz drummer, and to a friend in Inkster. The next day, the MSP visited him where he is staying.

Darnell Summers with youthful supporters of Iraq Veterans Against the War, in Germany.

Then, on Oct. 27, Summers, his son and a friend were stopped by the MSP while sitting in a car at a gas station in Inkster. The MSP cops produced a search warrant giving them authority to seize his cell phone and to take a DNA sample from him, which they did at the gas station.

On May 13, 2020, the MSP tweeted an account of Gonser’s killing as part of a memorial for  23 officers who had been killed in the line of duty. It still said Gonser’s killer is “unknown.”

But MSP spokesman Mike Shaw told Bryce Huffman, a reporter for Bridge Magazine, prior to the Nov. 13 press conference that Summers is “still a suspect” in Gonser’s killing.

Shortly afterwards, the Detroit News quoted MSP spokeswoman Shanon Banner in a Nov. 15 article, “Michigan’s history with militias is often dark.” The article covers right-wing, mostly white and often violent, murderous militias beginning in the 20th century. It includes the Black Legion, the KKK, and today’s “Wolverine Watchmen,” recently charged with a conspiracy to kidnap and possibly kill Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

Banner said, “We don’t maintain research on militia groups as our only involvement would be if or when a group becomes involved in criminal activity.”


Above: Shushanna Shakur, sister of the late Republic of New Africa revolutionary Atty. Choke Lumumba, who supported Summers, reads statement from Ed Watson, a founder of the Malcolm X Cultural Center in Inkster, MI during press conference Nov. 13, 2020. 

Above, attorney Jeffrey Edison of the National Conference of Black Lawyers and others discuss the continued persecution of Darnell Summers at press conference Nov. 13, 2020.

RELATED STORIES:

https://voiceofdetroit.net/2020/08/04/michigan-lifer-ricky-rimmer-bey-convicted-drug-dealer-cop-james-harris-framed-me-for-murder

https://voiceofdetroit.net/2020/05/05/time-to-free-carl-hubbard-ap-gonzales-jailed-key-pros-witness-after-he-recanted-at-trial/

https://voiceofdetroit.net/2020/04/05/mi-supreme-ct-grants-rehearing-to-thelonious-searcy-hitman-confessed-judge-ap-lied-to-jury/

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BLACK AGENDA REPORT/FREEDOM RIDER: THE REAL RESISTANCE BEGINS

Da’Monte Trevino of Los Angeles waves the American flag as people celebrate at Pershing Square the victory of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris in Los Angeles on Saturday, November 7, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

 Freedom Rider: The Real Resistance Begins 

Angela Davis speaks in Detroit Oct. 24, 2012.

Editor: In 2012, as the re-election of the nation’s first Black President Barack Obama was in the works, Professor Angela Davis spoke at a mass rally in Detroit Oct. 24. She supported Obama’s re-election, but cautioned that people must continue the battle in the streets to achieve real victory.

“People were waiting for Obama to emerge as new FDR,” she said. “But was it really FDR who gave us on his own accord unemployment insurance and social security? No, it was the masses of the people in the street, struggles led by communists in the 1930’s, sit-down strikes, marches all over the country, unemployed councils, eviction defense committees. . . .We will never elect a president who will lead us to the promised land.  We have to take it on ourselves. As the great Black poet June Jordan said, ‘We are the ones we have been waiting for.” VOD’s story on her talk is linked below this article.

Freedom Rider: The Real Resistance Begins

Margaret Kimberley, BAR senior columnist

Margaret Kimberley

11 Nov 2020

“Kamala Auntie” and Joe from Scranton will do as little as possible so that “nothing will fundamentally change” that would halt endless wars and the Race to the Bottom.

When Pennsylvania announced that Joe Biden won in that state it became clear that he had enough Electoral College votes to become the de facto president elect. When the news became public, millions of people responded with spontaneous celebrations. There was quite literally dancing in the streets in many cities across the country. The public reaction was unprecedented in its scope and demonstrated the depth of antipathy towards Donald Trump, who is one of the most hated presidents in modern history.

Vice-Pres. Elect Kamala Harris and Pres. Elect Joe Biden.

The vagaries of that same Electoral College that put Biden over the top brought Trump into office in 2016 even though he lost the popular vote. The trauma of his victory, one we were told would never happen, was deep and was constantly aggravated by Trump’s own words and deeds.

The celebrations were difficult for those on the left. Obviously there was no feeling of connection for the awful team of Joe Biden, a right wing Democrat who once said he didn’t want his kids to “grow up in a racial jungle,” or Kamala Harris, the California prison matron who committed herself to locking up as many people as she possibly could.

“Dancing in the streets.”

The level of exaltation was reminiscent of the Barack Obama victory in 2008, when doubters were told not to bring skunks to the party. After the Trump experience, the imperative to support the new neo-liberal, imperialist administration will be even worse. Kamala Harris in particular is lionized as the first non-white vice president and the first female, too. The Democratic Party’s propagandists have gone into overdrive as they milk her ascent for all that it is worth.

U.S. Rep. James Clyburn listens as Pres. Elect Joe Biden speaks.

Biden and Harris are not the only people who must be resisted. The black political class, the misleaders, are being credited as “king makers” who brought victory to the entire race. Congressman James Clyburn of South Carolina is one such individual, who did the dirty deed of deep-sixing Bernie Sanders and endorsing Biden, just as the party establishment wanted him to do. Clyburn acted on orders from the top and as such is a lackey, and not a king maker of any sort.

Clyburn isn’t the only misleader getting questionable praise. The closeness of the race in Georgia has burnished Stacey Abram’s credentials too. Even Biden’s small lead in Georgia is significant in this previously red state and Abrams is lauded for her work getting out the vote. The achievement is real, but it is not a good thing when we are given new political stars to adore and to worship. Abrams has her own presidential ambitions and invitations to globalist meetings such as the Bilderberg Group and the Council on Foreign Relations are a sign that her interests are not ours.

Clyburn is a lackey and not a king maker of any sort: COINTELPRO doesn’t figure into the Clyburn version of history.

Black Lives Matter protesters: “Defund the Police.”

None of these people pushed into prominence are working on behalf of black people. Clyburn is one of the leading recipients of Big Pharma campaign contributions and now says that the loss of Democratic House seats should be blamed on progressives.

“John [Lewis] and I sat on the House floor and talked about that ‘defund the police slogan’ and both of us concluded that it had the possibilities of doing to the Black Lives Matter movement and current movements across the country what ‘Burn Baby Burn ’ did to us in the 1960s. We lost the movement over that slogan. A lot of people don’t realize.”

Apparently COINTELPRO and the state’s well documented destruction of the movement doesn’t figure into the Clyburn version of history.

There was a half-hearted fake resistance movement after Donald Trump was elected in 2016. They said nothing when Democrats went along with Trump’s Space Force and other defense spending programs, but they did wear pink pussy hats. In short, they resisted very little.

Now is the time for serious push back against the duopoly, and that means Biden and Harris. Biden is already talking about “healing” the country but he is neither a physician nor a clergyman. No one voted for him to heal anything. He is just repeating what he told rich donors: “Nothing will fundamentally change.”

Trump is an outlier as a persona, but not as a president

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gestures and declares “You’re fired!” at a rally in Manchester, New Hampshire, June 17, 2015. REUTERS/Dominick Reuter

“Kamala Auntie” and Joe from Scranton will do as little as possible. That is their goal after all, to fool people into thinking that there will be differences.

Trump is an outlier as a persona but not as a president. Biden and Harris will bring comfort to nerves frayed by four years of crazy tweeting and epic incompetence. It is their job to do what their voters want. Millions of people took part who ordinarily do not. They stood in long lines at polling places because they want change and not because they are enamored of Kamala Harris’s choice of suit color.

Of course, when Trump truly differed with the “resistance” by imposing sanctions that deprive people of medicine in Venezuela and Iran and Syria and Cuba, and assassinating Iranian generals, the pink pussy hat wearers were unconcerned.

They hit the streets in protest to protect old school segregationist Jeff Sessions because of a bizarre Russiagate theory, but said nothing when Trump passed the biggest tax cut for rich people in history.

The United States desperately needs a real resistance, people who will organize to defend themselves and to hold elected representatives accountable. If they want to party it can’t be because one of the most right wing Democrats in history will be president. We have already lived through phony change and emotional theatrics instead of political action.

Obama’s two terms in office gave us a health insurance bailout of the for-profit industry responsible for a failed system, the destruction of states like Libya, and Black people deprived of the little wealth they had. Unless the Democratic Party scam is called out, we will end up with more of the same.

Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well at https://www.patreon.com/margaretkimberley and she regularly posts on Twitter @freedomrideblog. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com.

Related:

https://thehill.com/opinion/campaign/513377-biden-harris-is-the-most-regressive-possible-ticket

CRIMINALLY RESPONSIBLE AMERICANS VOTE FOR COMMANDER OF THEIR WORLDWIDE GENOCIDAL KILLING MACHINE

Maduro: US Withholding $5bn of Medical Supplies in ‘Criminal’ Measure

https://voiceofdetroit.net/2012/11/05/prof-angela-davis-in-detroit-peoples-struggle-not-just-elections/

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CRIMINALLY RESPONSIBLE AMERICANS VOTE FOR COMMANDER OF THEIR WORLDWIDE GENOCIDAL KILLING MACHINE

Photos of the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Black Libyans, both resident and migrant, during the US-CIA led war against Libyan Jamahiriya Commander Muammar Gadhafi in 2011 and ongoing.

..Editor: I was stunned by the news today that a substantial number of U.S. citizens still voted for Donald Trump, regardless of the eventual outcome of this national election. They did so despite Trump’s genocidal handling of the coronavirus pandemic, his virulent racism and sexism, and clear evidence that every other sentence out of his mouth is a lie adding to the willful ignorance of a large portion of the U.S. public.

It was demoralizing until I read the column below by sometime VOD contributor Jay Janson,  which puts this country’s elections into a proper global perspective regarding the atrocities committed by both Republican and Democrat Presidents against the people of the Third World. VOD extensively covered the U.S./NATO war in 2011 that resulted in the brutal execution of Libyan President Muammar Gadhafi, and the slaughter by CIA-led rebels of untold hundreds of thousands of Libyans, especially  native Black Libyans and Black African immigrant workers, there at Gadhafi’s invitation to partake of the benefits of Libya’s oil wealth.

Remember: ALL U.S. PRESIDENTS, REPUBLICAN AND DEMOCRAT, HAVE COMMITTED WAR CRIMES AGAINST THE PEOPLES OF THIS PLANET!

Donald Trump or Joe Biden: global wars of extermination will continue.

AMERICANS VOTE FOR COMMANDER OF THEIR WORLDWIDE GENOCIDAL KILLING MACHINE

by Jay Janson / November 3rd, 2020

The good people of the Third World should not let themselves be taken in by worldwide satellite beamed CIA-fed media prattling on continuously about American democracy during ongoing presidential elections. Sadly, Americans are duped into participating in elections that back crimes against humanity ordered by the ruling genocidal Wall St. plutocracy which militarily and financially plunders 3rd World humanity and corrupts American society.

Savage torture and murder of Libyan Pres. Muammar Gadhafi by CIA-led “rebels.”

A great many Americans voting believe the lies their criminal corporate media pours out daily, and are therefore gung-ho proud of Americans killing media-designated ‘bad guys” all around the world.

These completely fooled Americans are happy to vote for the next commander-in-chief, but a substantial amount of Americans voting know they have been frightened into voting for what they hope is the lesser of two evils and are unhappy with what they feel is a mockery of the so called democratic process that has them voting for a choice that still represents evil.

Former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark, once the highest law officer of the USA, who helped write both important civil rights laws, speaks to his fellow Americans clearly, and meant that all the world should know this truth.

We’re not a democracy. It’s a terrible misunderstanding and a slander to the idea of democracy to call us that. In reality, we’re a plutocracy: a government by the wealthy.

One of the most internationally powerful plutocrats in US history, John Pierpont Morgan, in a candid moment admitted:

Of all forms of tyranny the least attractive and the most vulgar is the tyranny of mere wealth, the tyranny of plutocracy.

In 1922, USA economist Thorstein Veblen wrote:

Image from Salon Magazine.

The current situation in America is by way of being something of a psychiatrical clinic...Perhaps the commonest and plainest evidence of an unbalanced mentality is to be seen in a certain fearsome and feverish credulity with which a large proportion of Americans are affected…. There is a visible lack of composure and logical coherence, both in what they will believe and in what they are ready to do about it.

Veblen assumed depression to  be the normal condition  in a business-enterprise economy, to be relieved in periods of excitation caused by stimuli not intrinsic to the system like war and expansion abroad. Veblen saw the modern business leader as essentially a latter-day predatory warrior.

Veblen’s observation is born out by Americans always having been willing to follow criminal orders and bomb, invade and occupy other people’s lands the world over.

Paul Craig Roberts, former editor of the Wall Street Journal, and Undersecretary of the Treasury under President Reagan, in his article, The Looting Machine Called Capitalism, wrote,

Americans are the least exceptional people in human history. Americans have no rights at all. We hapless insignificant beings have to accept whatever capitalists and their puppet government impose on us. And we are so stupid we call it ‘Freedom and Democracy America.’

Americans today are wildly mesmerized in avid interest in who will be president for the next four years. However, given the continual American wars in smaller countries and perpetual ramped up fear of nuclear Armageddon, it’s obviously of some greater significance who will serve as Commander-in-Chief of the American worldwide genocidal killing machine, because whether Americans realize it or not, they, each citizen, has a portion of citizen co-responsibility for the crimes of their fellow Americans ‘serving’ as soldiers following criminal, and therefore illegal, orders.

Yemeni children, victims of U.S.-backed Saudi war.

Those Americans voting, who believe the lies their criminal corporate media pours out daily and are therefore gung-ho proud of Americans killing media-designated ‘bad guys” everywhere and anywhere, believe US democracy makes them and all Americans to be above the law — above all law.

On the other hand, that substantial amount of Americans voting, who know they have been frightened into voting for what they hope is the lesser of two evils, are well aware of their tacit complicity in the crimes against humanity in other people’s countries. Some more modest amount of Americans voting, or refusing to vote, realize that they have already been prosecuted in the court of public opinion and in the hearts of parents of children blown to pieces or starved to death by the actions of Americans. Hopefully, this is what people overseas, especially in nations under American attack, understand.

At the same time a multitude of Americans vote, other Americans have been fueling, arming and target selecting for the Saudi airstrikes for five years. Already back in November 2017, Save the Children reported that 130 children were dying every day, with 50,000 children already believed to have died in 2017. The U.N. officials said more than 20 million people, including 11 million children, are in need of urgent assistance, with 7 million totally dependent on food assistance. The U.N. has called it the “worst humanitarian crisis in the world.”

President Donald Trump meets Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the Oval Office at the White House on March 20, 2018, in Washington, DC. Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images

US CIA controlled media is so sure of the headlock it has on the American public, its mainstream media can even inform of Yemeni children dying from bombs and starvation knowing its captive audience will not turn against their American killing machine.

Even the most eye-rebounding photos  published in wars supporting New York Times Yemen Girl Who Turned World’s Eyes to Famine Is Dead (Published 2018) and seen on PBS television channels did not put a dent in American solidarity with its government’s and military’s genocidal actions in Yemen – prosecutable genocidal crimes against humanity.

During the current presidential election campaign criminal war promoting news and entertainment networks are making no mention of President Trump’s veto of a bipartisan Congressional resolution that would have forced an end to American military involvement in Saudi Arabia’s civil war in Yemen a year-and-a-half ago.

In One American Ear and Out the Other

The late Rev. Jeremiah Wright was formerly Pres. Barack Obama’s pastor. Obama disassociated himself from Rev. Wright during his first election campaign.

In 2008, for two weeks the major networks telecasted as humorous, Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s cry, his finger pointed to the sky, “God bless America? No, no, God damn America for her crimes against humanity!”

In 2012, prime time news during the Republican debates of presidential candidates, candidate Rep. Ron Paul was heard denouncingall US bombings and invasions beginning with those in Korea as illegal, unconstitutional and a horrific loss of human life.”

But nothing seems to effect a change in American dedication to their military and its military’s heritage (of gore, death and destruction).

American film maker Michael Moore castigates his fellow Americans as

“sick and twisted violent people that we’ve been for hundreds of years, it’s something that’s just in our craw, just in our DNA. Americans kill people, because that’s what we do. We invade countries. We send drones in to kill civilians.”

In one American ear and out the other.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a revolutionary who used mass civil disobedience to overturn an unjust system.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. made bold headlines in newspapers throughout the world with, “The greatest purveyor of violence in the world today is my government. In Vietnam we may have killed a million already, mostly children.”

King cried out, “Silence is treason!” but at home extremely few Americans spoke out in agreement,  many spoke against him, most were silent, and King was shot to death within the year.

This archival research peoples historian activist is convinced that no change will be coming from anywhere in the American led First World, especially now as it is hard pressed losing its hegemony to a future multipolar world with China’s economy now the largest.

Some of us work to somehow make this Americans killing millions of children come to be a topic of conversation in the Third World for the children’s lives that could be saved once enough people became enraged enough to demand prosecution and justice.

Once USA-EU loses world economic hegemony and can no longer sanction, the many nations that have seen their children murdered by Americans and their European allies will demand justice in the courts of a reconstituted and reorganized democratic United Nations. In the meantime let’s have faith that the astounding intelligence witnessed in the miraculous achievements in outer and inner space will eventually manifest itself in ending the five centuries of European and American genocide for money and power.

Thorstein Veblen, Douglas Dowd, 1966. []

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Jay Janson

Jay Janson, spent eight years as Assistant Conductor of the Vietnam Symphony Orchestra in Hanoi and also toured, including with Dan Tai-son, who practiced in a Hanoi bomb shelter. The orchestra was founded by Ho Chi Minh, and it plays most of its concerts in the Opera House, a diminutive copy of the Paris Opera. In 1945, our ally Ho, from a balcony overlooking the large square and flanked by an American Major and a British Colonel, declared Vietnam independent. Everyone in the orchestra lost family, “killed by the Americans” they would mention simply, with Buddhist un-accusing acceptance.

Jay Janson can be reached at: tdmedia2000@yahoo.comRead other articles by Jay.

Related Articles:

https://voiceofdetroit.net/2011/09/02/u-s-nato-guilty-of-war-crimes-in-libya-says-cynthia-mckinney/

https://blackagendareport.com/confronting-bipartisan-repression-and-us-led-axis-domination-beyond-election-day

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ONLY 64% OF PEOPLE ELIGIBLE TO VOTE IN U.S. ARE REGISTERED; OTHER COUNTRIES DON’T REQUIRE REGISTRATION OR HAVE 90%+ REGISTERED

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FORMER PRES. BARACK OBAMA CAMPAIGNS AT BELLE ISLE IN DETROIT OCT. 31: VOTE FOR JOE BIDEN, NO MORE TRUMP

Darryl Woods Sr. with U.S. Senator Gary Peters. D(MI)

DARRYL WOODS, SR. , WHO ATTENDED RALLY FOR BIDEN WITH TROY RIENSTRA ON BELLE ISLE IN DETROIT OCT. 31, TOOK THE VIDEO ABOVE.  VOD downloaded video from  Facebook to its YouTube channel in order to feature it here. Woods and Rientstra each spent decades  in the Michigan Department of Corrections, are now activists for criminal justice reform, among other issues.

Complete C-SPAN video of event is below.

https://www.c-span.org/video/?477559-1/joe-biden-president-obama-hold-rally-detroit

 

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