Retiring Arizona Prison Watch...

This site was originally started in July 2009 as an independent endeavor to monitor conditions in Arizona's criminal justice system, as well as offer some critical analysis of the prison industrial complex from a prison abolitionist/anarchist's perspective. It was begun in the aftermath of the death of Marcia Powell, a 48 year old AZ state prisoner who was left in an outdoor cage in the desert sun for over four hours while on a 10-minute suicide watch. That was at ASPC-Perryville, in Goodyear, AZ, in May 2009.

Marcia, a seriously mentally ill woman with a meth habit sentenced to the minimum mandatory 27 months in prison for prostitution was already deemed by society as disposable. She was therefore easily ignored by numerous prison officers as she pleaded for water and relief from the sun for four hours. She was ultimately found collapsed in her own feces, with second degree burns on her body, her organs failing, and her body exceeding the 108 degrees the thermometer would record. 16 officers and staff were disciplined for her death, but no one was ever prosecuted for her homicide. Her story is here.

Marcia's death and this blog compelled me to work for the next 5 1/2 years to document and challenge the prison industrial complex in AZ, most specifically as manifested in the Arizona Department of Corrections. I corresponded with over 1,000 prisoners in that time, as well as many of their loved ones, offering all what resources I could find for fighting the AZ DOC themselves - most regarding their health or matters of personal safety.

I also began to work with the survivors of prison violence, as I often heard from the loved ones of the dead, and learned their stories. During that time I memorialized the Ghosts of Jan Brewer - state prisoners under her regime who were lost to neglect, suicide or violence - across the city's sidewalks in large chalk murals. Some of that art is here.

In November 2014 I left Phoenix abruptly to care for my family. By early 2015 I was no longer keeping up this blog site, save occasional posts about a young prisoner in solitary confinement in Arpaio's jail, Jessie B.

I'm deeply grateful to the prisoners who educated, confided in, and encouraged me throughout the years I did this work. My life has been made all the more rich and meaningful by their engagement.

I've linked to some posts about advocating for state prisoner health and safety to the right, as well as other resources for families and friends. If you are in need of additional assistance fighting the prison industrial complex in Arizona - or if you care to offer some aid to the cause - please contact the Phoenix Anarchist Black Cross at PO Box 7241 / Tempe, AZ 85281.

until all are free -

MARGARET J PLEWS (June 1, 2015)


ANTICOLONIAL zines, stickers, actions, power

Taala Hooghan Infoshop

Kinlani/Flagstaff Mutual AID


The group for direct action against the prison state!

Black Lives Matter PHOENIX METRO

Black Lives Matter PHOENIX METRO
(accept no substitutions)



PHOENIX: Trans Queer Pueblo


AZ Prison Watch BLOG POSTS:

Monday, September 24, 2012

Scottsdale PD and the Wrongful death of John Loxas.

-----------from the American Civil Liberties Union-----

September 24, 2012
CONTACT: (212) 549-2666;

PHOENIX -   The family members of John Loxas, Jr., who was killed instantly after being shot in the forehead while holding his infant grandson, today filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the City of Scottsdale and the Scottsdale Police Department. The 50-year-old Scottsdale man was shot in February by Officer James Peters without warning and despite having no weapon and posing no threat.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Loxas' daughter, Alexandria Loxas, and his father John Loxas, Sr. They are being represented by attorneys with the Chicago-based law firm of Loevy & Loevy and the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona. The plaintiffs seek an unspecified amount of damages.
"My father was my best friend," said Alexandria Loxas, 23, whose son, Neo, now 14 months old, fell to the ground after her father was shot. "I felt safe knowing I had him in our lives because he was always there to protect us, and now he's gone forever."

In addition to listing Officer Peters as a defendant, the lawsuit also names Scottsdale Police Chief Alan Rodbell, arguing he failed to implement adequate policies to hold the City of Scottsdale and abusive officers accountable.   Officer Peters was involved in an unprecedented seven shootings over the past ten years - six of them fatal. A Scottsdale Police Department official acknowledged that Peters' history of shooting civilians was "an anomaly in our department, and in most departments." Peters also had a long history of excessive use of force against civilians, including dozens of incidents involving Tasers; he was the subject of four separate citizen complaints in the three months leading up to the fatal shooting of Loxas.

"There may well be no other police officer in the country who has been involved in more fatal shooting incidents over this time period," said attorney John Loevy of Loevy & Lovey. "Our lawsuit alleges that the Department had no business trusting him with a gun after he had killed so many other Scottsdale residents."

The incident that led to Loxas' death occurred shortly after 6 p.m. on February 14th, when police officers showed up at his house after he got into a dispute with his neighbors who called police.  Several Scottsdale police officers arrived at the house and confronted Loxas while he was standing in the doorway of his home. He was unarmed and holding his grandson in his arms. Without any warning, Officer Peters shot Loxas in the forehead with a scope-equipped rifle, killing him instantly. None of the other officers at the scene fired a weapon.

There is no indication that since starting as Police Chief in 2003, Defendant Rodbell has ever determined that a   shooting by a Scottsdale officer that resulted in death was improper or outside of police department policy.  The complaint outlines the inadequacies in the city's internal review process for officer-involved fatal shootings, including the failure to obtain testimony from civilian witnesses and the reliance on the involved officers' self-serving version of events.

For example, on November 7, 2008, two SWAT team officers shot David Hulstedt in the back, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down.  Despite the fact that Hulstedt - like Loxas - was unarmed and holding a child in his arms, Rodbell found the shooting justified and "within policy."  A federal court judge later concluded that "no reasonable officer could have believed that shooting David without warning, while he calmly walked back toward his house with the young child over his head, was a proper means of protecting [the child's] safety."

"What we have here is the total absence of meaningful review by the Scottsdale Department and City of Scottsdale even for deadly shootings done without warning and involving unarmed civilians," said ACLU of Arizona Legal Director Daniel Pochoda. "The clear message to Scottsdale officers, including Peters, has been: there will be no consequences, no loss of gun privileges, no matter how questionable or illegal the nature of the shooting."

In addition to Loevy and Pochoda, the plaintiffs also are being represented by Elizabeth Mazur and Elizabeth Wang of Loevy and Loevy, and Kelly J. Flood and James Duff Lyall of the ACLU of Arizona.
Click here to read the complaint that was filed today.

police brutality protest in Old Town Scottsdale
February 25, 2012