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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Blog Archive - November 16, 2007 "The Beating of Kevin King "

I've noticed that when it comes to acts perpetrated by guards against prisoners, corporate media refers to these incidents as "alleged".  Conversely, if a prisoner is accused of anything, the accusation is accepted as the gospel truth and repeated as such.  So much for "Innocent until proven guilty."

An example of this is the beating of inmate Kevin King by corrections officer Takeo Clark, reported in the June 10th, 2007 issue of the Mississippi Clarion-Ledger.  According to MDOC Corrections Investigation Division : Report of Investigation 07-MSP-025, the beating of Kevin King occurred on February 13, 2007, the day following his discharge from the Mississippi State Penitentiary Psychiatric Hospital.  Kevin King was locked in one of the shower stalls in Unit 32 A-Building when officer Clark, without handcuffing or restraining King, radioed the control tower to open the shower door.  After the door was opened, Officer Clark stood in the doorway for a moment and then lunged toward King in the shower.  When they both came out of the stall, King's upper torso and head were covered with blood from lacerations to his scalp that were so deep that the crown of of his head appeared deformed.  In spite of this, the report concluded that, "Since there are no cameras in the showers, investigators were unable to determine what actually occurred inside."

Let's, as we say in the Pen, flip the script.  Had Officer Clark came out of the shower stall with his head beaten to a bloody pulp, MDOC Investigators would have had no problem determining what actually occurred inside, regardless of whether or not cameras were there to record it.  While the report made no findings as to whether excessive force was used, and in accordance with MDOC's brand of justice, King was still found guilty of a Rule Violation Report (RVR) for assaulting Officer Clark, despite Clark repeatedly lying about the incident and the photographic proof Clark had beaten King without any form of justification.  Clark resigned and will be eligible for future re-employment by MDOC.  MDOC-true to tradition.

In the June 10th, 2007 article, Commissioner Christopher Epps said "We investigated, and the Investigators reported to me.  We found the officer didn't do his job, and the officer resigned.  We policed ourself and got rid of that bad apple."  But what is Mr. Epps' definition of a bad apple?  An officer that beats a prisoner?  An officer that uses excessive force?  Or maybe, just probably, an officer that gets caught doing these things, crosses the line and becomes a bad apple.

Since MDOC is policing itself and getting rid of bad apples, maybe it's time Mr. Epps' involvement in a similar incident - the beating of inmate Larry Floyd while Mr. Epps was still a Corrections Officer - should be brought out and reexamined. This would facilitate a top-down approach to correcting the problem, as well as serving as an example that no one - not even the Commissioner - is above the law. Maybe Mr. Epps should tender his resignation, in the interest of MDOC and the public. It's a fact that one bad apple will spoil the whole barrel.

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About Steven

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Steven Farris is a prisoner who has been incarcerated since a month after his 16th birthday in 1998. Currently serving a life sentence without the possibility for parole, he is seeking to educate the public about the true nature of prison and the widespread and negative effects of the prison industrial complex. Steven has worked with both the National Prison Project of the ACLU, as well as the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund in furthering this effort.

You can contact him directly at:
Steven Farris #R5580
P.O. Box 1889
Woodville, MS 39669-1889

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