This is a second addendum to an article I circulated on October 26 and 31, 2004 and supplemented on January 1, 2005, entitled “Red Onion State Prison: an Expose – Racim and Brutality Equals Kind and Usual Punishment in Virginia.”
That article and January 1st supplement described continuous brutal and racist abuses of nonwhite segregation prisoners here at ROSP by white officials, and the persistent refusal of official
authorities to resolve the problem. What follows in a further account of such abuses as continue to
occur despite the circulation of that initial expose.
There is a housing using (C500 unit) next to the C400 superseg unit that remained empty for
several months prior to December 2004. On December 15, 2004, several new intakes to ROSP and a
few prisoners who’d already been housed at ROSP were moved into the C500 unit – ten prisoners total
– and all placed on the lower tier and leaving the 2 upstairs cells empty. These prisoners were immediately targeted with systematic intimidation by attacks and abuse. During the time that much of
this was occurring I had been moved to an unit on the other side of the building where I remained from
November 30, 2004 through February 2, 2005. The following accounts of abuses in the C500 unit were
relayed to me by Christopher Tinker #283653 who personally witnessed, recorded and suffered abuses
in the C500 unit.
On December 17 2004, A. Marshall #330439 was subjected to an unprovoked premeditated
assault during shower period, witnessed by Christopher Tinker. Tinker, who was housed in the cell next
to Marshall, was next in line to be taken to the showers, but was skipped by prison guards Reece and
Harr, who went to Marshall’s cell and cuffed and shackled him. As they were bringing Marshall to his
feet from the kneeling position, these guards rushed him to the floor inside the cell face first and began
beating him at length with firsts, digging fingers into his eyes and slapping him. He suffered
hemorrhages across the whites of his eyes, facial bruising and swelling. Prison guard R. Phipps rushed
into the unit and cell to join in the assault and prison guard R. Boyd stood bodily blocking the cell
doorway to obstruct view of the beatings from the unit surveillance camera and prisoners already inside
the showers. Nurse T. Phipps (wife of prison guard R. Phipps) ’checked’ Marshall and noted no serious
injuries. Marshall was put into ambulatory restraints and had all his personal property removed from
Later, while Marshall was in ambulatory restraints, lieutenant S. Harrison and sergeant J. Mahan
entered the cell with no video cameras around 11:15 AM under the pretext of giving him his lunch
meal, but both stood eating his lunch in his presence. Around 2:30 PM Harrison, Mahan, Harr, and R.
Phipps entered the cell again under pretext of giving him his supper meal. Wile in the cell each
demanded that Marshall state “Lieutenant Harrison is your daddy”, otherwise he would not receive his
meal. Marshall refused to make this statement and was denied his supper.
Tinker repeatedly spoke up on behalf of Marshall and others and tried to file emergency
complaints about the abuses, but each complaint except two involving threats to him were destroyed by
guards whom he’d delivered them to for processing. On that December 17, 2004 date Harrison remarked
to Tinker that he’d receive the same treatment as Marshall had because he spoke up about Marshall’s
On December 18, 2004 prison guard R. Boyd threw all of Marshall’s personal belongings that
were removed from his cell the day before into the trash. Boyd stood in full presence of the camera and
prisoners ripping up Marshall’s legal papers, personal mail, and photographs, etc. Marshall presently
has no property in his cell.
On December 19 and 21, 2004 Tinker was able to file two emergency complaints that guards
were threatening him with the same treatment as Marshall had received. (Emergency grievence log #s
66267 and 66265)
On December 30, 2004 another premeditated extensive assault was carried out against a prisoners Brian Farabee #331221, by lieutenant S. Harrison, sergeant D. Tate, sergeant T. McLoy and
prison guard Comer, who beat hm for several minutes while handcuffed and shackled. Farabee could be
heard screaming out in pain and repeated multiple blows heard landing on him through the unit.
Farabee was given no medical care.
Another prisoner – name and number unknown-who was housed in cell C507 since November 16th was also repeatedly threatened and harassed. Various ranking prison guards including captain K.
Chris, lieutenant S. Harrison, and others were repeatedly heard telling him to “go ahead and kill
yourself”. Feeling that his meals were tampered with and that the guards were trying to kill him, he
stopped accepting meals and began stating that he would in fact kill himself first. Tinker, in hopes of
helping this prisoner, sent a complaint to the ROSP mental health department, stating he believed the
prisoner was being pushed to the point of suicide. The next day mental health staff visited the prisoner
and he was moved out of the unit.
Most of the prisoners in the C500 unit were subject to harassment and threats by guards on a
Tinker was subsequently targeted for assault because of his persisting in speaking up and trying
to complain about the continued witnessed abuses and attacks of others and his writing affidavits for
them, and consistent with threats repeatedly made against him. Upon his being brought in off the
exercise yard on January 22, 2005, escorted by prison guards J. Salyers went into
Tinker’s cell and ripped down and tore up pictures he had on his cell wall. Tinker did not react but,
following this, knelt down allowing himself to be unshackled in front of the unit surveillance cameras as
the cell door was nearly completely closed, Salyers manually snatched it back open and bodily jumped
on Tinker’s back from behind while he was still handcuffed, driving him face-forward to the floor, and another guard S. Long kicked him. Salyers is some 6’4” tall, about 280 lbs., whereas Tinker is 5’4” tall
and 140 lbs. Tinker was put into ambulatory restraints and moved to an isolated cell in the superseg unit
(cell C401) where he remains til today.
In the 300 and 400 units of C-building the first two cells are punitive isolation cells which have
always been used as a retaliatory housing device against prisoners disliked by guards. These cells have
no desks or other writing surfaces in them like the other cells, they have no electrical outlets and have
restraint beds situation in them directly in the center of the cell, leaving little room for movement and
no room to exercise inside these cells.
The practice inside the C500 unit of using scare tactics of assaults and intimidation against new
ROSP arrivals spans back to 1998 when ROSP first opened. Nonwhite prisoners were then on a daily
basis shot and electricuted with tasers, beaten, and literally dragged naked through the prison (in front
of other prisoners and female guards) from the intake area to assigned cells. This was all recorded by
portable audiovideo cameras. This admitted practice led to an outcry by human rights organizations
and prisoners’ loved ones and, in addition to other similarly degrading and heinous abuses, earned
ROSP an almost instant and continuing national reputation for racist brutality. Despite the change of
ROSP wardens five times, conditions have not changed. The reasons why this is have been already
given in my original expose and January 2005 suppliment.
In obvious retaliation for my having exposed the abuses here in that expose and
supplementation, I was targeted, under supervision of sergeant D. Tate, with a malicious cell search. All
of my property was taken to the front of the unit and systematically ransacked, read through, thrown
about and much thrown away by seven guards (prison guards Middleton, Comer, McClellan, Smith,
Stanley, and O’Quinn). These guards systematically read through and removed documents from my
property and in fact filled an entire large paper bag with them. These documents were taken out of the
unit by D. Tate and I’ve not seen them again. Included in those documents were records related to
incidents of guard abuses, copies of the expose, supplement, etc. This was all done directly in front of
the unit surveillance camera. My stamps were also taken.
I immediately filed emergency complaints to have the unit surveillance camera tape preserved as
evidence to show what was done to my property and the blatant theft of my documents etc. My
complaints were evaded or disappeared. To falsely substantiate the treatment of my property, I was
issued a disciplinary report alleging contraband to have been found in my property which the camera
tape would obviously show never happened.
On January 31, 2005 I was finally able to get complaints filed about the January 17th incident.
The complaints were processed on February 1, 2005 by the very group of guards named in my expose
as involved in repeated assaults, viz. Prison guards R. Phipps, R. Boyd, and McCowan. I was subjected
to immediate abuse and had my belongings ransacked by them two days in a row and my television
taken. Phipps repeatedly questioned me during these ’searches’ as to whether I’d written any more letters
to the outside about staff assaults on prisoners.
On February 17, 2005 yet another shakedown was conducted, during which my belongings were
treated in a similar manner as before by prison guards R. Boyd, Wright, Mullins, sergeant A. Kilbourne,
and charges were again fabricated for contraband. Upon these same guards’ searching Tinker’s cell they discovered and threw away numerous affidavits and logs he’d written about the routine abuses occuring
while he was in the C500 unit.
On February 17, 2005 fermented feces could be smelled circulating through the C400 unit. A
large quantity of liquefied feces was found running out of the ventilation shaft in cell C401 where
Tinker is housed. The entire unit could hear guards R. Boyd, Wright, McCowan, and sgt. J. Mahan
taunting Tinker that he’d gotten what he’d deserved for writing statements against them. (About abuses
in C500 unit.) They admitted having placed him into C401 under a protective custody inmate, who is
used by them to antagonize other prisoners – the ventilation shaft runs directly form upstairs in that
prisoners’ cell into Tinker’s. They admitted knowing that the feces had been poured into the vent from
above Tinker’s cell, but wrote Tinker a disciplinary report saying that he’d done it to keep him in that
cell subject to having feces poured into his vent routinely.
The same abuses previously described in my prior expose and supplement continue. And those
abuses I’ve reported on are principally those occurring in ROSP’s C-building. This says nothing for what’s likely occurring also in the other three ROSP A, B and D buildings which I have no access to.