Texas Prison Officials Obstruct Disabled Veterans Path to Justice — Literally

HuffPo wouldn’t publish this. Please help spread the word!

by justin adkins and Comrade Keith ‘Malik’ Washington

With the rest of the world, I was appalled when I heard about the abuses, conspiracy and obstruction in the Los Angeles and Denver Sheriff Departments. I was appalled, but not shocked. My friend, Keith “Malik” Washington had been telling me about similar abuses and obstruction in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

On May 14, 2015 the FBI announced that:

A federal grand jury yesterday returned a five-count indictment against Tanaka and Carey, who allegedly participated in a broad conspiracy to obstruct the investigation, a scheme that started when the sheriff’s department learned that an inmate at the Men’s Central Jail (MCJ) was an informant for the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI). Tanaka and Carey allegedly directed, oversaw and participated in a conspiracy that last year resulted in the conviction of seven other former LASD deputies. […]‘The allegations in the indictment include cover-ups, diversionary tactics, retribution and a culture generally reserved for Hollywood scripts,’ said Assistant Director in Charge Bowdich

On May 29, 2015 CBS Denver reported that Brent Miller was fired by the Denver Sheriff Department for not covering up a civil rights violation. CBS4 reported:

Personnel at Denver Health Medical Center felt the inmate had been subjected to inhumane and degrading treatment by being forced to walk nude through the hospital hallways so they filed a complaint with the Denver Sheriff Department. The complaint was assigned to Miller. On May 11, Miller and a second investigator traveled to Denver Health Medical Center to obtain a copy of hospital videotape showing Colbruno in the hospital.
When he returned to his office with the tape, Miller said he was approached by Captain Paul Ortega, who leads the Sheriff Department’s internal affairs bureau.
‘He asked me if I had uploaded this video yet and I told him I had not and told me,’good, don’t do that because they’re making that go away, it’s not going to be a case anymore.’

Last week Mr. Washington wrote me about what happened to Richard A. Dunsmore Jr. in Texas. The following is Mr. Washington’s firsthand account.

—–

Los Angeles County Sheriffs and jail officials are certainly not the only criminal justice employees violating the civil and constitutional rights of prisoners in their care, they just had the “misfortune” of getting caught. Somehow the authorities in the State of Texas keep alluding the national media spotlight as they continue to blatantly violate the US constitutional rights of prisoners housed in facilities operated by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Let’s meet “Tap-Tap”

Richard A. Dunsmore Jr. aka “Tap-Tap” is a 55-year-old white male who happens to be a disabled US Army veteran currently incarcerated serving a 7 year sentence at the C.T. Terrell Unit located in Rosharon, Texas. Rosharon is a small Texan town, home of a couple Texas state prisons operated by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ). Rosharon, Texas is located in Brazoria County.

In prison terminology Mr. Dunsmore is known as a “writ writer.” Which means he utilizes his keen understanding of the law to hold TDCJ prison officials accountable when they violate prisoners civil or US constitutional rights. Prison officials make it a point to harass, abuse and retaliate against successful writ writers as is evident in the following chain of events.

Toward the end of April 2015, Mr. Dunsmore was notified by the clerk of court in Brazoria County that he had a court date: May 6, 2015 at approximately 1pm. This actually was exciting news for Mr. Dunsmore as the judge was prepared to decide to consolidate his lawsuit into a class action lawsuit.

The defendants in the case are Brad Livingston, the Executive Director of the TDCJ, William Stephens the Director of the Correctional Institution Division and Rissie Owens the Chief Commissioner of the ultra corrupt Parole Division.

Mr. Dunsmore has done an excellent job exposing high level corruption within TDCJ.

Mr. Dunsmore claims that TDCJ artificially inflates the actual need for drug and alcohol treatment for Texas prisoners in order to obtain large amounts of federal funding. However, not only is TDCJ bilking the Federal Government for millions, they keep prisoners locked up longer.

Mr. Dunsmore and many other elderly and disabled prisoners noticed that the parole board was continually denying their release citing they were not meeting requirements in their Individual Treatment Plan (ITP). Many of their ITP plans stated that they must attend an in-patient therapeutic substance abuse program prior to being granted parole. Many of these men, as Mr. Dunsmore puts it, “Haven’t smoked a ‘doobie’ in decades!” But what added insult to injury was the fact that many, if not all, the drug program units in TDCJ have no accommodations for disabled prisoners! So how are they supposed to make parole or obtain the treatment they allegedly need?

Nevertheless, this is one of the many schemes TDCJ uses to sabotage the freedom of prisoners – but it still gets worse!

On or around Friday, May 1st, 2015 prison guards at the C.T. Terrell unit where Mr. Dunsmore is housed, placed him in lock-up. He was not told why. Later, he was told that in light of his upcoming court date on May 6th, 2015 the prison administration decided it was in the interest of “security” to lock him up prior to his court date. At first Mr. Dunsmore, who was housed right next to me, was denied all property, including the crucial legal work for his case.

It really looked like a blatant act of retaliation, and it was. However, all came to light on the day of Mr. Dunsmore’s court proceeding. On the morning of Wednesday, May 6, 2015 Mr. Dunsmore alerted the TDCJ employees working in lock-up that he had a court appearance that afternoon. Nobody seemed enthused or interested at all.

At 12pm an African-American male Sergeant came, named Sergeant Amos. Sergeant Amos handled Mr. Dunsmore in an extremely rough manner, jerking and dragging him out of his cell. Remember, Richard Dunsmore is a disabled US Army veteran. He is blind in one eye and must use a crutch to walk, because of a leg injury he suffered in the army.

At approximately 5pm, Mr. Dunsmore returned from the Brazoria County Courthouse frustrated and depressed. The TDCJ employees got Mr. Dunsmore to court an hour and a half late. The judge was angry and reset the court appearance for July 2015 when the temperatures in this area regularly surpass 100F.

Do you see the blatant injustice in all of this? What collusion is happening in order to obstruct this disabled human beings path to the courthouse? How high up does this obstruction go?

US Senator John Cornyn, a Texas legislator, has been stumping for criminal justice reform within the confines of congress in Washington DC. What we, the people who are trapped in TDCJ prison facilities are saying is, “Get your own house in order Senator! Before you go preaching to your fellow US legislators – Texas has problems! – Fix ’em.”

I am not a disgruntled prisoner fabricating lies. I too am an incarcerated US Army veteran who is tired of being mistreated, degraded and abused by TDCJ prison officials. I humbly request any citizen who believes in the US constitution and who believes that those who served their country should be afforded those rights set forth in that constitution, to contact Brian D. Buehler United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, and request the Department of Justice do a full and thorough investigation of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Thank you – and please keep hope alive!

——

Brian D. Buehler United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division 601 D Street, N.W. Room 5421 Washington, DC 20004 202−353−1100 Fax: 202−514−4883 Email: brian.buehler@usdoj.gov

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