UPDATE: FBI CALL-IN --ON HOLD---
Deaths in Custody: Hate, Justice and the FBI.
PHOENIX FBI: 623-466-1999
On July 3, 2010, Dana Haywood Seawright was beaten into a coma by the West Side City Crips at Lewis state prison in Buckeye, AZ. He died four days later, at the age of 26.
Dana was bi-sexual and anti-racist, and had a Mexican boyfriend in prison, for which he was murdered. The Arizona Department of Corrections collected evidence of this hate crime, obtained eyewitness statements, and identified likely suspects with defensive wounds on them.
Once they determined why Dana was killed and by whom, the DOC investigator then told Dana's mother: "if it's any consolation, they didn't mean to kill him - they just meant to teach him a lesson." They proceeded to close the case, unsolved, never filing charges - not even taking disciplinary action - against anyone.
Since there's question of DOC officer complicity in the beat down (his dorm was left unsupervised and unchecked for an hour while they assaulted him and cleaned up evidence), one must wonder if there isn't a concern about government agent corruption regarding this case as well.
Dana's mother, Kini Seawright, appealed last fall to the Phoenix FBI's lead agent, James Turgal, to open her son's homicide case as a hate crime or gang crime investigation. The FBI has thus far refused to do so. Now, six weeks after she went in person to press his office on the matter, the FBI agent she spoke to didn't even bother to get back to her to tell her they had no intention of following up. He told her that only when she called again to inquire about the status of the case.
When state and local law enforcement fail to investigate hate crimes - and when there's question of their complicity in the violence or in a cover-up, it's the duty of the Federal Bureau of Investigation to pursue it. Please call the Phoenix FBI and tell them that Dana's murder was a hate crime, and the people of this state expect them to investigate it fully.
Dana lost his life for his defiance of racism and hate - despite his criminal convictions, he was a good man who didn't deserve to die that way. Help his mother convince the FBI that Dana's was no less valuable because he was a poor, black, bi-sexual prisoner than if he'd been a wealthy white businessman with ties to the Governor. Call the Phoenix FBI office at 623-466-1999, then note here that you did so to help us track community response.
See our letter to the FBI earlier this year at http://
August 10 is recognized internationally as Prisoner's Justice Day. Please help us pressure the FBI to open Dana's case as a hate crime investigation before then.
For more information about this and other violence against Arizona state prisoners, go to http://