Dekalb Jail Escalates Abuse on Prisoners, Protesters

By: Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee
DECATUR, Ga. - May 16, 2019 - PRLog -- On Wednesday evening, four people were arrested at a protest in front of Dekalb County Jail. Police officers physically attacked protesters who were peacefully demonstrating against the abusive conditions inside the jail. At least one of the arrestees was observed with blood running down his face after being struck by a police officer, and another was heard screaming as officers hit him and dragged him across the concrete to arrest him.

At 10:45 Thursday morning, approximately 14 hours after the protesters were arrested, jail officials stated that none of them could be released for at least another 24 hours because the arresting police officers had not yet submitted warrants. Although activists hope it may still be possible to post bond today, they're concerned that this delay in processing could be intentional and punitive. "The arrested protesters may not be receiving necessary medication and first aid for their injuries during arrest," says Adele MacLean, an IWOC volunteer who has been working to arrange bail for the arrestees. "If the protesters are being treated like everyone else inside the jail, we have grave concerns about their health and safety."

The treatment of protesters both outside and inside the jail demonstrates the inhumane treatment that people incarcerated in the jail have been experiencing. Prisoners have reported being brutally attacked by guards, being denied food, water, and medicine, and being placed in solitary confinement for extended periods.

During the protest Wednesday evening, several people inside the jail sent messages about the abuse. One wrote a note on a sheet of paper and held it in his window so protesters could read about a prisoner being strangled by guards while his hands were handcuffed behind his back. Another prisoner shouted desperate messages to the crowd through a crack in his window. "We need help!" he said. "There's mold in my cell! We don't have food!" Activists fear this person may have been punished for his attempts to communicate with the outside world. The last message he shouted was, "They're about to spray me!"

Activists plan to hold another noise demo outside the jail every night till the protesters are released. Protesters will meet at 7 pm tonight at Kensington MARTA station and march to the jail to demand an immediate end to the abuses.

Video of Wednesday's protest can be viewed here:

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