For Kini Seawright, and all the other women who bury a loved one due to police or prison violence...

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Deaths in Custody: Deliberate Indifference to Ferdinand Dix.

For those of you who think that the health care in prison is free and guaranteed, think again. Medical co-pays can cost a weeks' pay, and the negligence one must contend with inside costs prisoners plenty. This is why the ACLU National Prison Project and the Prison law Office are about to sue the State of Arizona.

After receiving the following video, I asked the sender how she knew him:

"He was my brother.  I spent 36 hours watching him die in a hospital in Tucson, shackled hand and foot to the hospital bed, even though he was basically vegetative/comatose and had tubes coming out of every orifice – and I mean every one of them.  It was very sad and painful to see.  I just could not believe how he looked, with his belly so distended, filled with tumors in his liver.  I could not understand how anyone inside that Tucson prison could see a man, like my brother, walking around that prison complex looking like he looked and not instinctively known or felt like: "Hey, that inmate needs to see a doctor and get some serious treatment!"  I just can't believe that people like that exist.   Just where do they find these people who work within the AZDOC?  Did no one who examined him in the medical clinic think that his belly looked a bit odd?  Did they bother to touch it, particularly given his complaints about not being able to eat?  My mother was just now telling me how she remembers in some of his letters and phone conversations he would say, "Momma, I'm just so hungry and I can't eat anything."  Peggy, his liver was so big it had literally compressed his digestive organs and made it such that he could not eat.  Can you imagine a human being walking around like that, for Lord knows how long, feeling so hungry and feeling like nothing was being or could be done about it?"

video by Michelle Lependorf

Survivors of police and prison violence, abuse, and institutional indifference are often isolated, and may be vulnerable to state oppression if prisoners or their survivors try to sue for violations of their civil rights. Please, if you find yourself in that situation, contact me (Peggy at 480-580-6807 / I can put you in touch with other families for support, we can work on getting your narrative out there, so there's more than just a criminal record or mugshot telling your loved one's story, you can help in the larger fight against state violence.