Prison Strike Leader Beaten By Officers Fears For Life After Retaliation
Kinetik Justice Amun, one of the incarcerated leaders of the Free Alabama Movement who was a prison national strike organizer, fears for his life after he was brutally beaten and maced by officers at Limestone Correctional Facility on December 2, 2016.
According to It’s Going Down, Kinetik was handcuffed and escorted to the shower. Two officers assaulted him. He was pushed to the floor and attacked before mace was deployed against him.
Kinetik was returned to his cell. It is unknown whether he received any medical attention after the attack.
Over 1,000 people signed a petition that was delivered to the Alabama Department of Corrections this week. It demands Kinetik be transferred out of Limestone.
His supporters also asked the public to “call now and call constantly” to demand Alabama prison officials release Kinetik from solitary confinement and transfer him to another facility.
“We are trying to get them to move him to a general population or either to St. Clair or Holman, a place that can receive him where he is in general population and treated at least fairly like any other inmate,” Pastor Kenneth Glasgow told local news outlet WALB. Pastor Glasgow is an outside spokesperson for FAM and the leader of the Alabama human rights group, the Ordinary People’s Society.
“We are mainly doing it now because we know this is retaliation behind him being one of the leaders in the national prison strike that went across 24 states and 40 to 50 prisons,” Glasgow said.
Kinetik, also known as Robert Earl Council, faced repeated retaliation for his outspoken advocacy on behalf of the prison strike movement, which formally launched on September 9, 2016. He was the second of three Free Alabama Movement leaders moved to Limestone in retaliation for activism over the past year.
He was previously incarcerated at the Holman Correctional Facility, where he was in solitary confinement for three years. According to one account, members of a riot squad stationed on his unit harassed him, and eventually, they got into an altercation when an officer demanded Kinetik bend over and cough.
Officials transferred Kinetik to the “bully unit” at Kilby Correctional Facility, which one prisoner described as a place “where inmates go who [correctional officers] deem to be problems that they have to iron out with brutality.” He launched a hunger strike upon his arrival at Kilby in October.
Kinetik and the Free Alabama Movement, like prison strikers in many other states, used contraband cell phones and social media accounts to document the inhumane living conditions at Holman Correctional Facility, as well as to communicate with supporters and journalists. They are among the first people to have put out a call for a national strike by incarcerated people against prison slavery, and have worked tirelessly and at great risk to educate the public about the degradations prisoners face daily.
Limestone, where Kinetik is confined now, is notorious among prisoners for its “behavioral modification program,” known as a “hot bay” dorm. Prisoners are forced to share a small, hot, and unsanitary solitary confinement cell with another person. Advocates say prison officials cut the water off to his cell in retaliation against Kinetik’s hunger strike.
It is hard to accurately gauge the current status of the prison strike. Prison officials have blocked mail, telephone, and email communication with prisoners and engaged in acts of retaliation and brutality to silence those, like Kinetik, who speak out.