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)


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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Watching cops: Scottsdale - another man dead.



This is so wrong. All this poor guy had was a cell phone in his pocket, and the cop shot him in the head when he turned away from him. And look at this guy Peters' record - more than just him is responsible for his belief that this would be a "justified" kill, too. His department has backed him up every other time he's left another person dead. He even got a Medal of Valor for killing a man, so why wouldn't he - and just about every other cop - think this was okay?

John Loxas and grandson
photo lifted from my buddy's blog at OP-NAT Eye -

John Loxas, smiling above with his grandson, is the murder victim, by the way. Apparently you don't even have to have criminal intent to kill someone to be charged with some degrees of homicide in Arizona, so there is a lot of room for how Peters can be charged. Lots of people go to prison for negligent homicide or manslaughter - some even second degree murder - without having had any "criminal" intent at all. The taking of a life is that grave of a business to us here...though we empower virtually anyone to run around with a concealed weapon here - our legislators want them in the schools and bars, even.

Scottsdale Police Officer James Peters

Officer James Peters, shown above in uniform, will probably never be charged with homicide for killing John Loxas. He won't be charged with a thing, is my bet. He probably won't even lose a day's pay. This will go down as an unfortunate but nevertheless "justified" kill. They justified it already by virtue of the type of information released to the media about John's run-ins with his neighbors and the police before. Please remember as you read this stuff that the state is in control of these press releases; the victims of the state have already been silenced, in cases like this, and his survivor's voices will likely never be amplified louder than the suggestion below that even though he wasn't carrying a gun or threatening the cops, he somehow deserved to be shot.

Our condolences to John's loved ones. Feel free to contact me if you want to connect with other families who have survived the loss of a loved one to police or prison violence, either for mutual support or to help change things. 

In any case, please make sure you sue them for this, and go after that cop's state certification

 My name is Peggy Plews (480-580-6807). 

You can call any time, or email me at

-----------from the Arizona Republic-------------- 

Arizona Republic

The Scottsdale police officer who shot and killed a man holding a baby Tuesday has been involved in seven shootings since 2002, six of them fatal, police said Wednesday.

Officer James Peters shot 50-year-old John Loxas on Tuesday evening after police were called to a house in the 7700 block of East Garfield Street, near Hayden and McKellips roads.

 Neighbors had called 911 earlier and said Loxas had threatened them with a handgun.

Peters, a former member of the department's SWAT team, was one of six officers who responded to the call. The 12-year police veteran is on administrative leave, which is standard after any police shooting, said Sgt. Mark Clark, a Scottsdale police spokesman.

According to the 911 call, the neighbors said Loxas was pushing his 9-month-old grandson in a stroller and walked over and kicked a neighbor's trash can into the street. When another neighbor went to pick it up, Loxas returned with the baby in his arms and started yelling, "You got a problem with that?" the caller tells the dispatcher. "The guy pulls out a gun, cocks it and aimed it at him."

When officers arrived, Loxas had returned to his house, but came to the door with the baby in his arms, police said. Peters and another officer told investigators that they saw a black object in Loxas' hand. Loxas turned to go back inside when Peters, who was standing 18 feet away at the edge of the driveway, shot him in the head with his patrol rifle, police said.
"(Loxas) was holding the baby in his left arm in front of his upper body and face. Moments later, he reached down to his right, lowering the baby, clearly exposing his head and upper body. Officer Peters responded to the movement with a single shot (to) the suspect's head.

The suspect fell to the ground and the baby was rescued by officers. The suspect died instantly," Clark said.

Peters "felt he had to prevent him from re-entering the house," Clark said. "The intent was to rescue the baby." Investigators later determined that Loxas was not carrying a gun but had a cellphone in his pants pocket.

A search warrant recovered a loaded pistol "a few feet from where the suspect fell inside the residence," Clark said. "It was wedged between the arm and cushion of a chair a few feet away from where he fell." It is the same pistol believed to have been used to threaten neighbors, he said. A loaded shotgun also was found near a chair a few feet from the pistol, Clark said. In addition, police found at least eight "Airsoft" type rifles and pistols, as well as "a functional improvised explosive device," he said.

Loxas lived in the house alone and babysat his grandson often, police said. The home was filled with garbage and clutter and a city inspector determined the home to be uninhabitable Wednesday, Clark said.

In 2010, Scottsdale police were called to the house because Loxas was threatening neighbors with a pistol, police said. He has been arrested at least once, police said. The 911 caller told the dispatcher that this wasn't the first time that Loxas had pointed a gun at neighbors.

On Wednesday, several neighbors said that house parties were frequently held at the man's home, often lasting until 3 a.m. or later. Residents of two nearby homes said they had filed noise complaints with police.

Scottsdale police Chief Alan Rodbell said he is confident that the external review by legal experts will "leave the community with the same sense of confidence that I have in my officers, my detectives and oversight in this very serious incident."

Lyle Mann, executive director of the Arizona Peace Officers and Training Board, a state law enforcement panel, said that he couldn't comment specifically about Peters, because he didn't know the circumstances of the seven shootings. But he said "some are functions of assignment."

"If you are out chasing armed felons every day, there's the probability that they're going to be bad people. While it feels like it clearly is an anomaly in terms of this person being involved in this many discharges, I wouldn't read anything into that," Mann said.

Each of Peters' previous shootings have been determined justified through an internal investigation as well as an external investigation by the Maricopa County Attorney's Office.

Peters' previous fatal shooting occurred in March 2010, when Peters shot and killed a man suspected in a string of bank robberies. At the time, The Republic reported that the city had settled in 2009 with the family of one of the people involved in a different fatal shooting for $75,000 but denied liability.

In another case, Peters was honored for his actions in responding to a hostage situation and the hostage thanked the officer for saving his life and shooting the suspect.

Peters also was involved in these previous shooting incidents, police confirmed:

Nov. 3, 2002: Peters was one of three SWAT officers who fired at Albert Redford after a nearly four-hour standoff at his north Scottsdale home. Officers had been called out for a report of domestic violence. Officers fired a total of seven shots, striking Redford three times.

March 25, 2003: Peters shot and killed disbarred lawyer Brent Bradshaw, 47, of Scottsdale. Officers responded to shotgun blasts at Bradshaw's home. Three hours later, police found Bradshaw wandering along the Arizona Canal at Miller and Chaparral roads, carrying a shotgun. Officers tried unsuccessfully to get him to put down the gun.

Oct. 10, 2005: Peters shot and killed Mark Wesley Smith, a burglary suspect, during a confrontation outside an auto-body shop near Hayden and McKellips roads. Smith was smashing car windows in a rage outside the body shop. Autopsy reports would later show that he was high on methamphetamine.

April 23, 2006: Peters shot and killed Brian Daniel Brown, 28, who took a Safeway employee hostage after he hijacked a Krispy Kreme delivery truck in Peoria. Peters received a Medal of Valor for this incident in June 2007.

Aug. 30, 2006: Peters and Officer Tom Myers fatally shot Kevin Hutchings after Hutchings fired at least one round at police outside his northeast Mesa home. Scottsdale police were trying to contact Hutchings about a Scottsdale assault earlier that evening with a longtime acquaintance of Hutchings. Hutchings' family sued the city and eventually settled out of court for the $75,000, city officials said.

Feb. 17, 2010, Peters and Scottsdale Detective Scott Galbraith shot Jimmy Hammack Jr., 46, after Hammack drove his truck toward detectives who were investigating him as a suspect in three Scottsdale bank robberies and two in Phoenix. Hammack later died from his injuries.

This is the second time in less than three weeks that a Scottsdale police officer shot and killed a man.

On Jan. 28, Jason Edward Prostrollo, 25, was shot dead after officers were called to the north Scottsdale home of Prostrollo's acquaintances. Police were called in the early morning by a 35-year-old woman saying Prostrollo, a guest in her home, was drunk and fighting with her 50-year-old boyfriend, and had a knife.

Prostrollo, a former Marine with two tours of duties in Iraq, came out of the house with pieces of a pool cue in each hand, police said. He ignored commands to drop the cues and stop walking, police said. A K-9 officer released his dog and a bite from the dog didn't deter Prostrollo, who kept walking toward officers.

That's when Lt. Ron Bayne shot Prostrollo and killed him.

Prostrollo's family and friends have questioned the police department's use of lethal force.

Reporter John Genovese contributed to this article.


 Roosevelt Street Artwalk: Phoenix
(June 4, 2011)

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