Tuesday, September 13, 2011
I refrained from writing about this incident for a few weeks because my passion was too strong and I could not trust myself to give an impartial account of the events. After many troubled days I am now calm enough to relay the facts to my readers.
This post is about the vicious attack on an old man by some sadistic correctional officers during the panic and confusion of New York's recent earthquake. Do earthquakes (like hurricanes) even have names? I don't think so but let's name this one. We will call it CHAOS because that is exactly what it caused here at M.D.C. Brooklyn. I don't know if it is because we are on the east coast and earthquakes are common on the west coast... so no one on east coast was prepared. Whatever!
It was evident that no inmate, no correctional officer (or most brass) knew what to do nor were we prepared to do it. The fear of the men was readily displayed on their faces in the way that they clung to any object that seemed secure. Some of the guys are hardened criminals and won't show fear at the sight of Satan but on CHAOS day they shit their pants. So when the cell block was invaded by scores of just as terrified officers it really was chaotic. We were hearing of evacuations and aftershocks. The stench of fear was everywhere. The gleam of madness was in everyone's eyes. Then to be told that we must be locked in our cells was like the smell of fire to wild animals. The men refused.
They said we were the only floor to create a problem, but we are on the 8th floor and we felt it more than the lower floors. The height affects the sway the way the treetop moves more than the roots in a strong wind. The 8th floor was like a rowboat in a rough sea. No one wanted to die trapped in their cells.
It was a long few minutes before a quick-thinking Assistant Warden assured us that if we returned to our cells we would not be locked in. He understood what we were displaying was not defiance--IT WAS FEAR! So his wiser head prevailed and we returned to our cells.
So when on the following day I heard that the other block on the 8th floor was locked down, I was a little surprised. Then when I heard that a 77-year-old man was shot with a riot gun (shoots "non-lethal bullets" meant to be used for long range hits to suppress rioting which can cause serious injury and sometimes death) 5 times at close range in the back, once in the wrist, and had a tear gas cannister explode at his feet; I was astonished! Why had this happened? How could this happen? Where was the Assistant Warden who had retained control of my cell block? Was he even there? Who gave the order to fire? Was it an accident? Was the old man the target?
For a 77-year-old man to be a threat when he is facing you is questionable but when his back is to you he cannot be a threat! So for this extreme coward empowered by the federal government, the gun, and the gray hair of his grandfatherly target---to pump not one, not two, not three, not four, but FIVE bullets into this old man's back is repugnant and vile. For this thug to wear a badge and work for the government is perverse.
This is the kind of psychotic behavior displayed by the cops in New Orleans who executed innocent men in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. This is the type of behavior that was displayed at the riots of Attica prison. This is the type of behavior that was on display at Kent State. It is the type of behavior glorified in the autocratic countries around the world. This is the behavior that is rampant in our justice system; the "might makes right" attitude of the government, politicians, judges, prosecutors, and their underlings. They do oppressive and unjust things because they are intoxicated by the wine of power and drunk on the total control of their citizens. They will continue to do so until they are stopped by the will of the people and our American way.
How ironic that the 77-year-old Great-Grandfather target was Andrew Russo; an Italian American who has been a target of the federal government for over 50 years. So you decide... target or accident?
For all of you who are truly concerned I want you to know that after being locked in his cell suffering from the wounds that the rubber bullets left; Mr. Russo was finally taken to an outside hospital the next day and seems to be recovering from the vicious attack.