This is how American Totalitarianism looks: The plight of America’s January 6 prisoners in pre-trial detention is an outrage.
BY GEROGE PARRY FOR THE AMERICAN SPECTATOR
On November 24, 2019, Kathleen Landerkin, Deputy Warden of the District of Columbia Jail, tweeted the following public service announcement: “F–k everyone who supports Trump.”
This was but one of her many informative tweets regarding President Trump, his supporters, and Republicans in general. For example, consider the following representative sampling of Ms. Landerkin’s deep thoughts as culled from her Twitter account.
“Replying to @realDonaldTrump Give it a f–king break. White men are more dangerous than immigrants.”
“Replying to @realDonald Trump How many Americans have been killed by white American men? How about a story on alt-right killers and hate crimes? How did the idiots of this country fall for your bulls–t?”
“Replying to @realDonaldTrump What the f–k is it with you and size. Must be the mushroom dick?”
“To the two old white racists who felt the need to flip me off tonight, right back at you. If you’re more offended by my free expression than u are of Trump today, the problem is you! I can’t wait until you’re all extinct.” (Emphasis added)
“Trump is doing more damage to this country then (sic) foreign terrorists ever have.”
“Replying to @GOP His [Trump’s] corrupt staff and family met with the Russians how many times before the election? How many times did they lie about a meeting with Russians? How many are in prison? Schiff is a hero.”
“Replying to @SecPompeo And with that they should throw you in jail.”
“Replying to @realDonaldTrump We know Obama did nothing wrong! You, on the other hand, are corrupt and are running scared because you know Mueller is coming for you!”
“Replying to @realDonaldTrump You’re a traitor. You don’t get to determine what’s patriotic. Leave the people [Antifa] engaging in a peaceful protest [Portland riots] alone. Why the hell are you involved in stirring a s–t pot for your deplorables? You’ll be in jail soon.”
“Replying to @GOPLeader He [Trump] didn’t win the popular vote. Abolish the electoral college.”
Regarding Brett Kavanaugh, she approvingly retweeted, “After Kavanaugh’s confirmation [to the Supreme Court], we know one thing for sure. Sexual predators will always have a safe space in today’s Republican party.”
In another tweet she declared, “I am one of many white females who work for social justice.”
In regard to the jailed January 6 Capitol Hill protesters, she approvingly retweeted, “Every prison needs a MAGA wing.” And, in response to the tweet “DC Jail is run by DC Govt agency. Id bet good money no fox news is being shown,” she tweeted “Nope. No Fox News.”
There’s more, but you get the idea. The foul-mouthed Deputy Warden Landerkin appears to be one angry social justice warrior.
So, imagine what must have been her near orgasmic delight when scores of those Trump-supporting January 6 Capitol Hill protesters were lodged at her very own DC Jail. She and her like-minded colleagues would at long last be able to physically instruct those white racist Republicans in the error of their ways.
Which brings us to what a Congressional delegation found during their recent visit to the DC Jail.
On November 4, 2021, Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA-14) and Louis Gohmert (TX-01) and their staffs toured the DC Jail’s Central Detention Facility (CDF) and Central Treatment Facility (CTF). The purpose of the visit was to inspect the conditions at these facilities and to determine the treatment and status of the January 6 protesters held in the CTF.
The delegation published its findings in “Unusually Cruel — An Eyewitness Report From Inside the DC Jail.” What follows below is taken from that report.
On November 2, the U.S. Marshals Service had released a report regarding its surprise inspection of the DC Jail. The report declared that the CDF did not meet the Marshals’ “minimum standards of confinement.” Approximately 400 CDF inmates would be moved to a federal prison in Pennsylvania. However, according to the Marshals Service, the conditions at the CTF were not bad enough to require moving the January 6 protesters to another facility.
On the morning of November 4, Representatives Greene and Gohmert personally delivered a letter to the DC Mayor’s Office signed by Greene, Gohmert, and Representatives Matt Gaetz and Paul Gosar. Addressed to Mayor Muriel Bowser, the letter expressed the signatories’ “continued frustration with your office’s repeated denial of access” to the DC Jail. It also stated that, on July 29, Deputy Warden Landerkin had charged the congressional delegation with “trespassing” and on multiple occasions had avoided and evaded their questions and forcibly locked them out of the facilities.
The Mayor’s Office did not respond to the letter until 6:16 p.m. when it offered Rep. Greene “the option of attending a tour [previously arranged] for the D.C. City Council set to begin at 6:30 p.m. With less than 15 minutes before the tour (supposedly) started, Congresswoman Greene and her staff raced to the facility, as did Congressman Gohmert and two staff members.”
In the CDF, they saw a variety of jail populations and conditions which were “cramped,” “fetid,” and “atrocious.” But they also observed a group of “well-behaved young men (‘Young Men Emerging’) … accessing educational resources and practicing moot court” under the tutelage of a Georgetown Law Center student. Members of the Young Men Emerging said that they were “reading books which emphasize the unusual cruelty of the American justice system and intend to study materials which promote the view that the United States perpetuates a racial caste system.”
In the CDF’s common areas, they found reading materials which promoted the Nation of Islam and Critical Race Theory.
But when the delegation sought entry to the CTF none other than Deputy Warden Landerkin once again blocked their way. This led to a “heated confrontation” by the delegation with a representative of the mayor’s office who was on the tour.
Rep. Greene threatened to go to the media. Rep. Gohmert told Deputy Warden Landerkin, “You understand, we can also make an appearance before the U.S. judge, and I intend to take action.”
But Landerkin did not relent until the mayor’s representative finally and reluctantly instructed her to open the door to the CTF.
The barred door swung open, and the delegation entered. Here, taken verbatim from the report, is a summary of what they found:
Notwithstanding the warm welcome from the inmates, the physical conditions in which they are held could only be described as inhumane.
For example, cells in the January 6 wing of the CTF were extremely small, composed of a single toilet, sink, and a small bed cot. The walls of the rooms had residue of human feces, bodily fluids, blood, dirt, and mold. The community showers were recently scrubbed of black mold — some of which remained. The interior walls of the common area were also freshly painted. According to the inmates, the U.S. Marshals had recently visited the area just days before, which caused a flurry of activity by guards to clean up the January 6 area while the U.S. Marshals were inspecting another area.
Inmates explained that they did not have access to their attorneys, families, or proper nutrition from the jail. Shortly after entering the January 6 wing of the CTF, inmates assembled for their daily salute to the American flag and singing of the national anthem. Following almost an hour of personal interviews with January 6 detainees, all in attendance — except the DC jail staff — gathered in a circle while Congresswoman Greene closed the group in prayer. At approximately 10:15 p.m., Members and staff exited the facilities.
It is also important to note that the DC jail facility has an area designed for meetings between attorneys and clients with plexiglass and phones as they face each other through the glass. Use of that facility should not result in 14 days of solitary confinement simply for meeting with an attorney.
Now that was the summary. But, to get the complete picture, read this full account, taken verbatim from the report, of what the delegation saw and heard as they visited with the January 6 detainees.
After exiting the elevator and turning right, the delegation of approximately 15 people filed into a narrow hallway which led to a secluded area in the back of the CTF. This area was noticeably different: the January 6 detainee wing was a much older part of the jail that had not been updated in many years. One inmate claimed that this section of the jail had once been used as a psychiatric ward that had been decommissioned before the January 6 inmates were assigned there.
DC DOC [Department of Correction] staff opened a door and allowed Reps. Greene and Gohmert to enter a large, white, artificially lit room with approximately 40 inmates in orange scrubs scattered throughout the room. Inmates began to pour out of the rooms and approach the delegation of Representatives and staff. The wing had two floors, with cells along the walls of both floors. The center of the room contained a few scattered chairs and tables, but largely open space. The remainder of the room had an aged electronic panel controlling the cell doors, and a common shower area with 3 individual showers with curtains.
Moments after Reps. Greene and Gohmert entered the room, the inmates broke into excited yelling and triumphant shouting, astounded by a visit from two sitting Members of Congress. The inmates were overwhelmed with emotions: some crying, almost all emotionally shaken. One inmate asked to hug Congresswoman Greene. Except for the January 6 detainees, no other inmates in any part of the jail cried during the visit. Many January 6 inmates had not seen their families in some time and expressed a sense of hope after such a long period of isolation from the outside world.
As inmates gathered around the representatives, chants of “U-S-A! U-S-A!” rang out. Inmates began to form a line to shake hands with Reps. Greene and Gohmert and their staff. Congresswoman Greene began by asking questions of the inmates:
Rep. Greene: Are you able to see and speak with your attorneys?
Rep. Greene: Are you able to talk to and see your family members?
Inmate: No! I haven’t seen my family since April.
Inmate: I haven’t seen my family’s faces since all year!
Rep. Greene: If you have long hair, is that by choice?
Inmate: Unless you’re vaccinated you have to use Nair.
Rep. Greene: Do you feel like you’re being treated fairly?
Inmate: No! Absolutely not. We only get five hours a day out of our cells. Which is better than one hour. We were held for 23 hours a day when we got here.
Rep. Greene: Do you go outside?
Inmate: Twice a week.
Rep. Greene: How many times a day do you get meals?
Inmate: Three. Define meal.
Rep. Greene: How often do you get mail?
Inmate: Whenever they [jail guards] feel like it.
Rep. Greene: Do you get to be included in any kind of educational classes or training?
Inmates: immense sarcastic laughter
Rep. Greene: Tell me about religious services. Are you allowed to have religious services?
Inmate: No. We do our own.
Rep. Greene: Do you have a Bible?
Inmate: Yes ma’am.
Inmate: They said the only way to get Communion is to get vaccinated.
Inmate: They sprayed all the cells with bleach before the Marshals came.
As the discussion continued, the inmates assembled for their nightly singing of the “Star- Spangled Banner” at 9 p.m. Following the singing of the national anthem, the congressional delegation began to mingle and have individual discussions with inmates.
Staff for Rep. Greene’s office were shown the conditions inside of cells and community showers. Recently removed mold, dirt, and other stains were clearly visible. Inmates claimed that the Marshals Service had come through their area days before and cleaned it up, in addition to painting the walls (or having them painted). Some inmates disclosed that when they arrived in the area, the cells were crawling with rats and bed bugs. The air circulation in the individual cells is so minimal that human feces and other smells begin to fester and pollute the air.
But the physical conditions of the area were just the start. Inmates were only allowed out of their cells for five hours a day, a small mercy. Prior to this relative freedom, inmates were kept in their cells similar to the maximum security inmates: 23 and 1 (23 hours in the cell, 1 hour out), 22 and 2, (21 and 3), etc. One inmate, who had been detained since February 3, 2021, explained that he had been subjected to “23 and 1” for four months, followed by two months of 22 and 2. This inmate stated that he had gone through 200 days of solitary confinement. This type of treatment is being used against inmates who are all pre-trial. They have been convicted of nothing.
Despite remaining innocent until proven guilty under the law, the January 6 inmates are allowed few, if any, basic human needs. For example, to supplement their lack of nutrition from the jail, inmates must buy food from the commissary with their own money, limited to once-a-week with a maximum of $125. Inmates cannot receive a haircut unless they are vaccinated. They cannot receive communion without being vaccinated. Many have been reduced to using Nair to chemically burn their hair off to keep themselves partially groomed. Most cannot speak to their families. Some are not even sure whether their family members know they are alive or their condition.
One elderly inmate, 71-year-old Lonnie Leroy Coffman, was in such poor condition that his lower forearm had turned purple and his thumb, black. Inmates claimed Lonnie could be in danger of losing his lower arm and has been denied medical treatment. Multiple inmates argued that if there were a way to get any inmate released, it should be Lonnie.
Many inmates suffered from a variety of health and dietary issues: one with a broken finger, another from celiac disease. The inmate with celiac disease must go days without eating because the jail will not accommodate his dietary needs. Other inmates claimed that the jail inserts chemicals and pubic hair in their food. Some inmates keep crackers or peanut butter in their cells to supplement their diet.
The severe treatment of these inmates within the facility cannot be overstated. These men have no access to a law library to work on their cases. Some are forced to represent themselves pro se, drafting dozens of pages of legal motions on notebook paper. Inmates stated that they are only allowed outside twice a week. They cannot go to religious services in the main CTF area because they are not vaccinated.
Representatives Greene and Gohmert continued to talk with the inmates, sign their Bibles and Constitutions, and listened to their stories. Staff received information from many of the inmates on the status of their cases, conditions in the January 6 detainee wing of the CTF, or requests to contact family or attorneys.
One inmate provided Representative Greene with a longer explanation of how the January 6 group of inmates were being treated in the months leading up to the visit:
Congresswoman Greene, I want to talk to you about September 18th. Remember they had the big rally in support of us at the square in Washington [D.C.]?
They [DOC] woke us up prisoner-of-war style in the dawn, at 7:00 in the morning. [They] made us grab our mattresses in our hands and didn’t tell us where we were going, what was happening, how long we were going to be gone. They marched us down single file out of here, we started singing the national anthem; I got punched in the gut for singing the national anthem by a guard here as retaliation.
They pulled us down into a random part of the jail and kept us there for 9 hours where there were no sinks, no bathrooms, or anything. We didn’t know what was happening to us. It was literally how you treated prisoners-of-war to keep them disoriented and not let them know where you’re going and everything — it was a travesty. They did that to us about at 8:00 in the morning to about 6:00 at night.
Inmate 2: That was the day the rally happened. I saw him get punched by the officer.
Inmate 1: For singing the national anthem I got punched in the gut!
Another conversation involved inmates singing “God Bless America” in their cells in early June 2021, and the retaliation from jail guards:
Inmate: On June 1, 2021, we [the inmates] sang “God Bless America” at 11:45 p.m. and Corporal Holmes, who was not normally stationed there, into their area and told us to “shut the f–k up.” We replied that we were singing “God Bless America” and the guard replied, “f–k America” and then went up to one cell, turned his camera off and said he would ‘beat his ass’ (referring to the inmate). The guard came back at 4:30 a.m. on June 2 taunting and harassing us… We wrote multiple grievances about this officer, and they were all returned by the guard himself.
The delegation’s report contains much more, and I urge you to read it in its entirety.
Landerkin recently tried to make her Twitter account disappear, but nothing on the internet ever goes away. The above Tweets were retrieved and re-published by cyber sleuths.
As for Rep. Greene, she just posted this tweet addressed to Landerkin: “Good morning Deputy Warden @awkathjo, How’s the DC Gulag this morning? You are responsible for human rights violations in the DC Jail and torture and abuse of pre-trial defendants. It’s clearly bc of your extreme political views. But you’re not alone, many are guilty too.”
In their letter to Mayor Bowser, the delegation called for the termination of Deputy Warden Landerkin. So far, that hasn’t happened, and, given the prevailing political orientation of the DC government, rather than being fired, it is more likely that Landerkin will receive a raise and a “Department of Correction’s Employee of the Month” award.
Meanwhile, as Merrick Garland’s Justice Department slow walks the Capitol Hill “insurrection” prosecutions, Deputy Warden Landerkin and her like-minded colleagues have ever more time to sadistically re-educate the white, Republican, and Trump-supporting January 6 pre-trial detainees in the ways of social justice.