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.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

ASPC-Tucson deaths in custody: Christopher Rankhorn, 31.

Last May, four young Arizona state prisoners died under suspicious circumstances all within a week or so of eachother. One of those young men was 31 year old Christopher Rankhorn. The media never followed up on the cause of his death - from what his family told me, though, it sounds like he overdosed on his psych meds and the ADC ruled it "accidental". 

Christopher's medication at the time he died was Neurontin (aka gabapentin), an apparently increasingly common drug in the state prisons. Originally developed as an anti-convulsant and marketed to alleviate some kinds of neuralgia, Neurontin is also being used as a pain management tool where narcotics are restricted or prohibited, and as a mood stabilizer in the treatment of manic-depression. And, what I've been seeing of late, Neurontin is still a major drug of abuse in the prisons, even though it's got a very low abuse potential out here. 

Why is it still being prescribed for everything under the sun in there, then? It's even been pulled from other prison systems because of the dangers of its abuse behind bars. There's also an ugly history of increased suicide risk with Neurontin - something the AZ Department of Corrections should be especially careful about, given that they've doubled in the past 3 years. In fact, all the off-label use of that drug should be questioned.

Since it's pushed as a pain-reliever, some folks may have expectations for the high they should get from it, and when it isn't forthcoming they increase their dosage until they get the desired effect. Neurontin is not the drug to do that with, guys! They're giving it to you precisely because it doesn't work that way - and because I think it's being used to treat some of you for mental illness without your knowledge or consent. 

I also suspect that Neurontin is being increasingly prescribed in prisons to see how it works as a behavior management tool on a broader population, so if you don't need it or know why you're taking it, question your doctor about the need to be taking it at all - and don't waste your money or resources buying this shit on the yard like it's a narcotic or something. All the drugs in there serve primarily to manage you for the state - especially the heroin: it keeps you too high and stupid to organize collectively against the powers that really oppress you. Be a real revolutionary and stay away from that stuff if you want to be free.

Our condolences go out to Christopher's loved ones.  

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

ASPC-Tucson Deaths in Custody: Ferdinand Dix.

Ferdinand Dix was given six years in Arizona's state prisons for drug crimes and forgery, but he suffered and died horribly from cancer over the course of his first two years behind bars. He died on Valentine's Day of last year. His mother narrates his suffering most poignantly in her lawsuit against the state of Arizona and ADC Director Charles Ryan for gross neglect...I'm only including the pertinent excerpts.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Dear Governor Brewer: Time to FIRE Chuck Ryan.

Many folks wonder what I do with the art I create, and why I bother chalking sidewalks when they just get washed off once I leave. The chalkings are multi-functional: they leave a message for the person or entity whose walk I'm chalking, and when I shoot them they deliver my message all over the world on Facebook and my blogs. I have a really cheap, crummy camera, so I learned to make the most of it by manipulating the colors to make these postcards with. I send them to decision-makers, allies, prisoners, media, etc. to raise awareness and show solidarity and struggle with those suffering the most. Feel free to download any of my art and do the same. I do this all with nothing more complex than the Windows image editing program that came with Vista.

We do still have a crisis in the prisons, by the way. The ACLU is about to sue over medical neglect, but the culture of contempt for prisoners and the pervasive despair and violence behind bars is unchecked. It's a poison that trickles from the top down. By far, those dying are the most vulnerable among us - not the vicious punks or molesters people think are the ones who get it in prison, and therefore don't care about. Those committed to protecting the rights of the mentally ill and developmentally disabled in the community should especially care about what's happening in the state prisons, because that's where so many are still heading.

This is what I did with the mural Kini Seawright and I did yesterday at the Herberger - her son was murdered for loving a Mexican. Brewer needs to be held accountable, too: All these deaths after all, are not only Chuck Ryan's - they're hers - and the longer she leaves him in charge the more culpable she is for the next suicide or homicide of someone's child, mother, brother, or friend in prison.

Anyone who is similarly moved to communicate with the Governor may want to do so in a public forum, so you can't be as easily ignored. 

The address for the Arizona Republic is: 

 Letters to the Editor
The Arizona Republic
P.O. Box 1950
Phoenix, AZ 85001

Letters may also be faxed to (602) 444-8933.Or contact them via the on-line form.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Fight Prison Violence: FIRE CHUCK RYAN.

My friend, Kini, and I went down to the Herberger Theater in downtown Phoenix this morning, and chalked a huge mural on their Van Buren Street sidewalk - which happens to be facing the Arizona Republic Building. We hoped it would get someone's attention there, but they tend to ignore me so as not to encourage my protests. It's okay - we got what we needed and left. I'll catch up with them via the US Mail.

Kini's son, Dana Seawright, was murdered in Lewis Prison in July 2010; chalking a memorial for her son and the other prisons who have died in the custody of the Arizona Department of Corrections under Chuck Ryan and Jan Brewer was pretty personal. We both agree that in order to stop this body count from climbing, Chuck and his henchmen must leave NOW. The poison, the contempt for prisoners and their families, begins there and trickles down.

Anyway, we set out on this morning's mission because this was Occupy 4 Prisoners day across the country. This is how our own small action turned out - it made for some awesome postcards about deaths in custody. 

Thanks to Patty at the Herberger today, by the way, for appreciating what we were trying to do and not washing it up as soon as we left. Sorry to leave you such a big job to clean up.

these were both shots taken of the sidewalk from the roof, courtesy of the good people at the Herberger.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

About John George Loxas, II


March against police murder on 


On Facebook tonight...people should know more about this murdered man than what the police want you to know. This is apparently from John himself...


"I am a student of life. I have packed 150 years of life into 50 years and I plan to pack in another 300 years of life into the next 50 years.. I have worked hard and I have played hard. I have a non-religious relationship with God. I am a Polymath. My greatest pleasure outside of love, is knowledge.

I have had the honor of single parenting my beautiful daughter, Alexandria from 12 months of age to adulthood. It has been my greatest joy... And then, she doubled that joy the day she gave birth to my first grandson, Neo Amani Loxas. He is a bright new star in my sky.

I believe we live in a UNIVERSE of abundance, yet the greed of a few absorb and control the abundance leaving many innocent hungry, lost and ill. Homelessness, hunger and disease should not exist. I am a strong advocate of TRUE EQUALITY AND BROTHERHOOD OF MANKIND.... a unity of LOVE is our salvation.. and MUSIC is the ambrosia of our spirits.

I believe that the World Bank/International Monetary Fund/Federal Reserve/IRS, mainstream media, corporatism, Zionism and GREED are the true axes of evil whether or not, they know or believe that themselves. Right or wrong, true or untrue; this is MY belief, and I firmly stand by it.

I am not afraid of the unknown; it exhilarates me. I am not afraid of the government. I fear NO man. I fear NO army. I am not afraid to speak the truth, no matter what personal consequences await me. I am not afraid of death. I am not afraid of imprisonment. I am not afraid of God; for no loving God would put fear in my heart and frighten me into believing or loving anything. Free Will baby!!!

My favorite aromas are the ocean's mist, desert rain, a woman's neck, orange blossoms, and any aroma which stimulates fond memories of my past. Thai food is perhaps my favorite food. My body feels its best after a Thai meal, more than any other food combination. The Sing-ha may have something to do with that... YUMO.

I am a fierce fighter, and a fierce lover. I am healthy and strong. I am quick tempered when anyone attempts to betray me. Yet, I am as patient as Father Time with those who are loyal. For I am a loyal man to my family and friends. I will cross mountains and swim seas for any of them.. No amounts of money, power, drugs, or women can buy me. I cannot be bought. I cannot be frightened. Although I am a loving and compassionate human, I do have a dark side... And if you love me, you will never have to see it. If you are my enemy, you will live it.

We must end all WARS... We must end all HUNGER... We must punish only TRUE CRIMES, where actual VICTIMS exist... We must encourage more of the ARTS and SCIENCES and exploration of the cosmos... We MUST allocate charity (not taxation) to our infrastructure so that we can progress.

I have optimistic faith for the future of civilization and humanity..We must unite in order to evolve our civilization.. Infinity awaits us all.

More to follow............ MUCH more."

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Scottsdale PD: Serial killer with a badge.


March against police violence


This is so wrong. All this poor guy had was a cell phone in his pocket, and the cop shot him in the head when he turned away from him. And look at this guy Peters' record - more than just him is responsible for his belief that this would be a "justified" kill, too. His department has backed him up every other time he's left another person dead. He even got a Medal of Valor for killing a man, so why wouldn't he - and just about every other cop - think this was okay? 

John Loxas, smiling above with his grandson, is the murder victim, by the way. Apparently you don't even have to have criminal intent to kill someone to be charged with some degrees of homicide in Arizona, so there is a lot of room for how Peters can be charged. Lots of people go to prison for negligent homicide or manslaughter - some even second degree murder - without having had any "criminal" intent at all. The taking of a life is that grave of a business to us here...though we empower virtually anyone to run around with a concealed weapon here - our legislators want them in the schools and bars, even.

Scottsdale Police Officer James Peters

Officer James Peters, shown above in uniform, will probably never be charged with homicide for killing John Loxas. He won't be charged with a thing, is my bet. He probably won't even lose a day's pay. This will go down as an unfortunate but nevertheless "justified" kill. They justified it already by virtue of the type of information released to the media about John's run-ins with his neighbors and the police before. Please remember as you read this stuff that the state is in control of these press releases; the victims of the state have already been silenced, in cases like this, and his survivor's voices will likely never be amplified louder than the suggestion below that even though he wasn't carrying a gun or threatening the cops, he somehow deserved to be shot.

Our condolences to John's loved ones. Feel free to contact me if you want to connect with other families who have survived the loss of a loved one to police or prison violence, either for mutual support or to help change things. 

In any case, please make sure you sue them for this, and go after that cop's state certification

 My name is Peggy Plews (480-580-6807). 

You can call any time, or email me at

-----------from the Arizona Republic-------------- 

Arizona Republic

The Scottsdale police officer who shot and killed a man holding a baby Tuesday has been involved in seven shootings since 2002, six of them fatal, police said Wednesday.

Officer James Peters shot 50-year-old John Loxas on Tuesday evening after police were called to a house in the 7700 block of East Garfield Street, near Hayden and McKellips roads.

 Neighbors had called 911 earlier and said Loxas had threatened them with a handgun.

Peters, a former member of the department's SWAT team, was one of six officers who responded to the call. The 12-year police veteran is on administrative leave, which is standard after any police shooting, said Sgt. Mark Clark, a Scottsdale police spokesman.

According to the 911 call, the neighbors said Loxas was pushing his 9-month-old grandson in a stroller and walked over and kicked a neighbor's trash can into the street. When another neighbor went to pick it up, Loxas returned with the baby in his arms and started yelling, "You got a problem with that?" the caller tells the dispatcher. "The guy pulls out a gun, cocks it and aimed it at him."

When officers arrived, Loxas had returned to his house, but came to the door with the baby in his arms, police said. Peters and another officer told investigators that they saw a black object in Loxas' hand. Loxas turned to go back inside when Peters, who was standing 18 feet away at the edge of the driveway, shot him in the head with his patrol rifle, police said.
"(Loxas) was holding the baby in his left arm in front of his upper body and face. Moments later, he reached down to his right, lowering the baby, clearly exposing his head and upper body. Officer Peters responded to the movement with a single shot (to) the suspect's head.

The suspect fell to the ground and the baby was rescued by officers. The suspect died instantly," Clark said.

Peters "felt he had to prevent him from re-entering the house," Clark said. "The intent was to rescue the baby." Investigators later determined that Loxas was not carrying a gun but had a cellphone in his pants pocket.

A search warrant recovered a loaded pistol "a few feet from where the suspect fell inside the residence," Clark said. "It was wedged between the arm and cushion of a chair a few feet away from where he fell." It is the same pistol believed to have been used to threaten neighbors, he said. A loaded shotgun also was found near a chair a few feet from the pistol, Clark said. In addition, police found at least eight "Airsoft" type rifles and pistols, as well as "a functional improvised explosive device," he said.

Loxas lived in the house alone and babysat his grandson often, police said. The home was filled with garbage and clutter and a city inspector determined the home to be uninhabitable Wednesday, Clark said.

In 2010, Scottsdale police were called to the house because Loxas was threatening neighbors with a pistol, police said. He has been arrested at least once, police said. The 911 caller told the dispatcher that this wasn't the first time that Loxas had pointed a gun at neighbors.

On Wednesday, several neighbors said that house parties were frequently held at the man's home, often lasting until 3 a.m. or later. Residents of two nearby homes said they had filed noise complaints with police.

Scottsdale police Chief Alan Rodbell said he is confident that the external review by legal experts will "leave the community with the same sense of confidence that I have in my officers, my detectives and oversight in this very serious incident."

Lyle Mann, executive director of the Arizona Peace Officers and Training Board, a state law enforcement panel, said that he couldn't comment specifically about Peters, because he didn't know the circumstances of the seven shootings. But he said "some are functions of assignment."

"If you are out chasing armed felons every day, there's the probability that they're going to be bad people. While it feels like it clearly is an anomaly in terms of this person being involved in this many discharges, I wouldn't read anything into that," Mann said.

Each of Peters' previous shootings have been determined justified through an internal investigation as well as an external investigation by the Maricopa County Attorney's Office.

Peters' previous fatal shooting occurred in March 2010, when Peters shot and killed a man suspected in a string of bank robberies. At the time, The Republic reported that the city had settled in 2009 with the family of one of the people involved in a different fatal shooting for $75,000 but denied liability.

In another case, Peters was honored for his actions in responding to a hostage situation and the hostage thanked the officer for saving his life and shooting the suspect.

Peters also was involved in these previous shooting incidents, police confirmed:

Nov. 3, 2002: Peters was one of three SWAT officers who fired at Albert Redford after a nearly four-hour standoff at his north Scottsdale home. Officers had been called out for a report of domestic violence. Officers fired a total of seven shots, striking Redford three times.

March 25, 2003: Peters shot and killed disbarred lawyer Brent Bradshaw, 47, of Scottsdale. Officers responded to shotgun blasts at Bradshaw's home. Three hours later, police found Bradshaw wandering along the Arizona Canal at Miller and Chaparral roads, carrying a shotgun. Officers tried unsuccessfully to get him to put down the gun.

Oct. 10, 2005: Peters shot and killed Mark Wesley Smith, a burglary suspect, during a confrontation outside an auto-body shop near Hayden and McKellips roads. Smith was smashing car windows in a rage outside the body shop. Autopsy reports would later show that he was high on methamphetamine.

April 23, 2006: Peters shot and killed Brian Daniel Brown, 28, who took a Safeway employee hostage after he hijacked a Krispy Kreme delivery truck in Peoria. Peters received a Medal of Valor for this incident in June 2007.

Aug. 30, 2006: Peters and Officer Tom Myers fatally shot Kevin Hutchings after Hutchings fired at least one round at police outside his northeast Mesa home. Scottsdale police were trying to contact Hutchings about a Scottsdale assault earlier that evening with a longtime acquaintance of Hutchings. Hutchings' family sued the city and eventually settled out of court for the $75,000, city officials said.

Feb. 17, 2010, Peters and Scottsdale Detective Scott Galbraith shot Jimmy Hammack Jr., 46, after Hammack drove his truck toward detectives who were investigating him as a suspect in three Scottsdale bank robberies and two in Phoenix. Hammack later died from his injuries.

This is the second time in less than three weeks that a Scottsdale police officer shot and killed a man.

On Jan. 28, Jason Edward Prostrollo, 25, was shot dead after officers were called to the north Scottsdale home of Prostrollo's acquaintances. Police were called in the early morning by a 35-year-old woman saying Prostrollo, a guest in her home, was drunk and fighting with her 50-year-old boyfriend, and had a knife.

Prostrollo, a former Marine with two tours of duties in Iraq, came out of the house with pieces of a pool cue in each hand, police said. He ignored commands to drop the cues and stop walking, police said. A K-9 officer released his dog and a bite from the dog didn't deter Prostrollo, who kept walking toward officers.

That's when Lt. Ron Bayne shot Prostrollo and killed him.

Prostrollo's family and friends have questioned the police department's use of lethal force.

Reporter John Genovese contributed to this article.


 Roosevelt Street Artwalk: Phoenix
(June 4, 2011)

Sunday, February 5, 2012


Julie Acklin, prisoner rights activist and mom, and Patti Jones (the aunt of former state prisoner Tony Lester), are interviewed on the Lou Show (February 5, 2012) about the abuse and neglect of prisoners at the Arizona Department of Corrections

Please take the time to listen now, then join us all at for the Stop Prisoner Abuse March at the state capitol on March 9 at 10am. 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

AZPOST WATCH: Police the police who police the police.

These are the folks who certify police and corrections officers in Arizona - it's my understanding that without their blessing, one cannot get a job as a peace officer in this state. 

Their meetings are held every 3rd Wednesday at 10am at the AZPOST office (2643 E. University Drive Phoenix, AZ 85034), if you want to see them deliberate on the de-certification of some very bad officers - or if you have anything to say for their public comment period yourself. Looking at the composition of this board, it seems like some of the main offenders I encounter are in the employ of these folks - all we're missing are the PHX PD and the MCSO. Nevertheless, AZPOST is who I've been advised to complain to if certain officers aren't upholding their duty to the rest of us, so let's hold them accountable. Here's the page that links to their de-certification decisions, called "Integrity Bulletins". 

Those of you who have been able to identify officers responsible for abuse or neglect resulting in harm to yourself or a loved one in custody should check out those archives to see if that officer was ever de-certified. Two weeks of unpaid leave for standing idly by while a young man bleeds to death, or for leaving a woman to burn alive in a cage,  is a travesty of justice, and should be rectified by this board - especially if it isn't satisfactorily addressed by the officer's employer or the appropriate county prosecutor. 

Perhaps if the public begins to turn out at these meetings to complain, some things will be more likely to be addressed. At the very least, they'll know we're watching them behind the scenes, too. Bring your comments for the "call to the public" in writing as well to give to the recorder who will be sure they get properly included in the minutes.

-----------------from AZPOST's website-------------
The Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board was created by an act of the 28th Arizona legislature on July 1, 1968 as the Arizona Law Enforcement Officer Advisory Council. The name was officially changed to its present form on July 17, 1994.


The Board was originally created to address the need for minimum peace officer selection, recruitment, retention and training standards, and to provide curriculum and standards for all certified law enforcement training facilities. The Board was also vested with the responsibility of administering the Peace Officer Training Fund.


In 1984, the legislature charged the Board with the added responsibilities of approving a state correctional officer training curriculum and establishing minimum standards for state correctional officers. Currently the Board provides services to approximately 170 law enforcement agencies encompassing over 15,000 sworn peace officers, 9,000 correctional service officers, and 16 academies.


The mission of the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board is to foster public trust and confidence by establishing and maintaining standards of integrity, competence, and professionalism for Arizona peace officers and correctional officers.


Our vision is to produce and maintain the most professional peace officers in America.

Board Members

Jim Duarte
Mr Joseph Duarte
Public Member
Board Chairman
The Arizona Peace Officer Standards & Training Board was originally comprised of nine members, appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate. The Board included two sheriffs, two chiefs of police, a college faculty member in public administration or a related field, the state attorney general, the director of the Department of Public Safety, and two public members.

In 1977, the statutes were revised to require one sheriff come from a county with a population exceeding 200,000 and one sheriff from a county with a population less than 200,000. Additionally, one police chief was to be from a city with a population exceeding 60,000 and one from a city with a population less than 60,000.
In 1984, Board membership was expanded with the addition of the director of the Arizona Department of Corrections and an administrator of a county or municipal correctional facility. The number of members serving on the Board rose to thirteen in 1991, when the legislature added two additional members holding the rank of patrol officer or sergeant. It was specified that one of the two new members was to be from a city police agency and the other from a sheriff's office.

Today, the composition of the Board remains as established in 1991, with 13 members.

John Armer

Sheriff John Armer
Gila County Sheriff's Office
Scott Decker

Dr. Scott Decker
Arizona State University
Robert Halliday
Director Robert C. Halliday
Arizona Department of Public Safety
Tom Horne
The Honorable Tom Horne
Arizona Attorney General
Kevin Kotsur
Chief Kevin Kotsur
Avondale Police Department
Wendy Larsen

Ms. Wendy Larsen
Public Member
-Charles Ryan
Director Charles Ryan
AZ Department of Corrections
Thomas Sheahan

Sheriff Thomas Sheahan
Mohave County Sheriff's Office
Robert Thompson

Sergeant Robert Thompson
Nogales Police Department