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, June 5, 2013

Settling John Loxas: $4.25MIL still doesn't buy Justice.

Previous posts about John Loxas are here.

 valley anarchists, phoenix occupiers, and other everyday people 
gather in Scottsdale  on February 17, 2012 to protest the murder of John Loxas.

James Peters should have been prosecuted for 2nd degree murder. Instead he was retired on a fat disability pension that citizens will have to pay for now, and other cops get the green light to do just as he did, once again.

Not that I would want to begrudge a noble policeman from his disability pension when he gets hurt on the job like that. It's so stressful, killing people...I wonder if it bothers Peters at all. I know better men than him spending the rest of their lives in prison who never even tried to take another life; that cop took six before he got to pass go and collect all that dough for his jobs well-done.

Most disturbing about this article below is the part that states John's murder was "justified", according to the Scottsdale PD. They also thought what their cops did to David Hulstedt was justified - the Scottsdale PD and the Maricopa County Attorney's Office arguably emboldened Officer Peters to execute John Loxas as he did by prosecuting David for his mental illness instead of prosecuting his attackers in blue. Perhaps if cops were held accountable for their actions more often John Loxas would be alive...and Danny Rodriguez, and Marty Atencio and Alex Wilson...and oh, so many more.

In any case, I hope John's family gets some measure of relief from getting this settlement behind them, and that David Hulstedt and his family are taken care of, as well, for all the hell they've been through. Thank you, ACLU-AZ, for stepping into these kinds of fights.

 Community activist Jeff Moses, after being prosecuted and fined for blocking traffic 
and upsetting Old Town Scottsdale, demanding "Justice for John!".
Shame on him. 
 Sidewalk Art by Peggy Plews.
(September 18, 2012)
-------------------from the AZ Republic----------

Scottsdale to settle police-shooting suit for $4.25 million

Another case involving retired officer who fatally shot 6 is ongoing

The Republic |  
Tue Jun 4, 2013 6:58 PM

A $4.25 million tentative settlement has been reached in a federal lawsuit over the fatal shooting of an unarmed man by Scottsdale police last year.

In September, the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona sued the city on behalf of the relatives of 50-year-old John Loxas, who had his grandson in his arms and was turning back toward his house when Scottsdale SWAT Officer James Peters shot him during a police standoff in February 2012.

The lawsuit alleged that Scottsdale fails to adequately investigate police shootings and promotes use of force because of a “tolerant environment.”

Loxas was the sixth person Peters had fatally shot in the line of duty since 2002, according to records.
“We think it ($4.25 million) is of an amount that will be a deterrent and cause the city of Scottsdale to look at the way that police shootings have been handled,” Dan Pochoda, ACLU of Arizona’s legal director, said Tuesday.

The proposed settlement “is clearly in the best interest of our client ... and I believe it makes sense for the city of Scottsdale,” Pochoda said.

Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane on Tuesday said the tentative agreement is “the result of discussions between the legal staff and the ACLU. It was brought to us as a settlement of the issue by the legal department as their best (solution)” to the lawsuit.

The Scottsdale Police Department found the shootings — including Loxas’ — justified after several boards reviewed the cases. Peters retired from the department on disability several months after Loxas’ shooting.
Loxas’ family originally sought $7.5 million from the city, according to Scottsdale City Council documents.
The council was scheduled to consider the proposal at a meeting Tuesday.

The Maricopa County Superior Court Probate Division also must sign off on the agreement, according to City Council documents.

Both sides saw the wisdom of settling before the case went into a full trial, Pochoda said.

Scottsdale is self-insured in the matter for up to $2 million. The settlement funding would come from the risk management operating budget and the city’s insurance carrier, according to the documents.

The city carries umbrella insurance in such cases, Lane said.

As of November, the City Council had authorized $1.7 million in legal fees for the Loxas case and for the case of David Hulstedt.

Hulstedt became a paraplegic after two Scottsdale officers shot him in the back in 2008 as he was walking toward his house carrying his 2-year-old daughter, according to court records.

Hulstedt was seeking $40 million in damages. The case is ongoing, Lane said.


Immigration and Customs Enformement Agency, Phoenix (2012)