ASSAULTED INMATE GETS HIS DATE IN COURT
By Isma’il Abdul Rahman
It’s been six years since Alexy Rosa, an inmate in the Texas Department of Criminal
Justice (TDCJ), was viciously assaulted by two prison guards at the Gib Lewis Unit, located 60 miles southeast of Huntsville, Texas, while a third prison guard stood watching.
“When these guards attacked me, my hands were cuffed behind my back, I felt helpless, unable to defend myself, I thought they were going to kill me,” said Rosa. “Now they have to answer for their actions in the court of law.”
An investigation conducted by the prison’s Office of Inspector General concluded, Rosa was traveling to the prison dining hall on December 16, 2004, when Lieutenant Lloyd Morvant, guards Adam Little and Matthew Phillips, begun their series of sadist, torturous and brutal attacks on Rosa. Accused of talking in the line, Rosa was ordered to strip off his clothes and stand completely nude in the frigid winter cold for over 15
minutes by these three guards.
After permitting Rosa to put his clothes back on, the trio of guards denied him the opportunity to eat, instead they ushered him back to his cell and forced him to watch them scatter and trample all his personal property, while they deliberately destroyed his family photos and Rosa’s legal material.
Lt. Morvant and Little placed Rosa in hand restraints and escorted him to a private, unoccupied room in the back of the prison, verbally and physically assaulting along the way. Upon arrival at this room, Lt. Morvant maliciously beat and tortured Rosa until he was knocked unconscious.
The Inspector general’s Office, forwarded their findings to the prosecutor’s office with the recommendations that criminal charges be pursued against Morvant, who had a long history of abusing inmates like Rosa and Michael Collins, whom Morvant beat and choked two days prior to the Rosa assault. Morvant was subsequently fired and eventually
prosecuted. Little was internally disciplined for failing to report Mor-vant’ s
assaultive behavior, and Phillips resigned.
The Texas Prison System, the second largest in the United States, has a long history of official corruption, physical and psychological abuse of inmates and is widely known for its detailed focus on cruelty and inhumane living conditions.
“Texas prison guards think it is their moral obligation to oppress inmates,” says Rosa, who is originally from New York. Noting his intentions to spotlight the brutality that exists in Texas prisons, Rosa took to the prison’s law library and committed himself to learning the essentials of pursuing justice through the courts, which led to the filing of a civil rights complaint in the Eastern District Federal Courts in Lufkin, Texas. His trial is scheduled to begin April 6th.
For an inmate to litigate a civil rights complaint this far on his own, is extraordinary, considering the lack of resources and training required for such a tedious and complex task. Combined with the unlimited legal representation the State of Texas, provided their wayward and corrupt officials, it’s practically unheard of that a case like Rosa’s would reach a trial.
Since Rosa filed his civil rights complaint, these three guards who abused him have all been vigorously represented by Attorneys from the State of Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s office. Although each guard was found to be delinquent in one capacity or
another, despite Morvant’s criminal indictment and subsequent prosecution for
brutally assaulting Rosa, Greg Abbott’s office has challenged Rosa’s civil rights complaint at every level.
“It’s insult to injury plain and simple,” says Rosa. “It sends all the wrong messages to all law enforcement that they can deliberately abuse their authority, assault humans in their custody, and the state will spend tax payers money defending their evil acts.”
Finally getting his day in court is not only refreshing to Rosa, but is encouraging and
raising eyebrows amongst other inmates in Texas Prisons. “Up until Rosa, we have
little to no hope of redressing these oppressive and violent prison guards like Lt. Morvant,” an inmate at the Robertson Unit in Abilene, recently stated. “We’re completely vulnerable, Rosa is our voice, our only hope like Ruiz,” referring to the jailhouse lawyer David Ruiz, whose 1972 lawsuit transformed TDCJ.
There are some inmates who don’t survive these brutal attacks to file a civil rights complaint, as was the case with Larry Cox. After being attacked by prison guard at the Estelle Unit in Huntsville, Texas, Cox spent two days laying on his cell floor in his own feces and urine, while experiencing excruciating pain from two broken vertebrae
before he was transferred to a hospital; Cox died two weeks later. The Medical Examiner ruled Cox’s death a homicide, but no prison official was charged.
Rosa seems to understand the significance of his civil rights complaint for his fellow inmates like Cox, and those could be victimized by these violent prison guards in the future.
“Abuse in any form is wrong,” he said. “Prisoners are humans also, and should be treated humanely. Modern decency in our society here in America demands this, we’re not in China, this is not Hitler’s Germany, this is America!!!”
These types of disturbing accounts have no place in our prisons. Anyone who is concerned with social justice, equality, and protecting the framework of the U.S Constitution, should stand alongside Rosa and support his efforts to send a message to corrupt officials everywhere, that official oppression and brutality will no longer be accepted. Let us provide our support for Rosa as a show of complete solidarity against anyone who thinks they can violate any person’s human rights and elude justice.
As Rosa so correctly asserts, “the outcome of the trial will gauge our society’s moral decency. It’s past time for us to send a message to these corrupt guards that their senseless brutality would no longer be tolerated.”
An injustice anywhere, is an injustice everywhere.
(Alexy Rosa, TDCJ-CID#1221898, civil rights trial is scheduled for April 6, 2010, in Lufkin, Texas. Cause No.# 9:05-CV-252. He needs supporters in the courtroom to provide moral support. Feel free to write him at: Robertson Unit, 12071 F.M. 3522, Abilene, Texas 79601.)
(Isma’il is a member of F.I.R.S.T., committed to eradicating inhumanities; F.I.R.S.T. is
a prison-based organization.
Sunday, April 04, 2010
ASSAULTED INMATE GETS HIS DATE IN COURT