Strait_v1n11_1972-03

BILL:There was one incident that took place when I first got to the hospital where the five prisoners were lying on stretchers in the corridor. One of the prisoners was moving himself around on the stretcher like he was trying to make himself comfortable . So I went up to him to see if I could help. He had been in shock when he brought in because his feet were elevated. He was Puerto Rican. As I bent down to put my hands under his shoulders to move him, from out of his pocket fell a red book into a puddle of his blood on the floor. It was English translation of Mao.

Bl LL: Whenever we approached an in- jured person we had to fill out a report form describing the extent of the injury. And that is supposed to be used as an official record . Then when the doctors receive a patient, they look at the report and they know exactly what to do with them. So 300 or so should have been the official count.

(continued from page 9) The guard called to me to get a stretcher and I got three other medics to • lp me. We walked in there and picked the guy - he was so big that the four us had a hell of time getting him on the stretcher. To carry him away was a real task. He had to go to surgery. He was bleeding in the skull; he was in real bad shape. That was the only visible wound he had from the beating al- though I'm sure there were other wounds. As we were carrying him in for treat- ment, the guard who I think was a supervisor walked with us and never once took his eyes off the prisoner. Burning holes in him with his eyes. And that shotgun was ever so close to him. I'm sure that if the inmate had ever tried to make a move that he would have had it. When you see that look in someone's eyes that means murder, kill - there's no mistaking it. I had never seen death in anyone's eyes until that day. sTR A IT: Did you see anyone delivered a threat like that and then get shot or beaten for disregarding it? BILL: No. There was another point later on that day where I was standing out- side the hospital and from a distance I f ld see two prisoners being escorted the hospital by four state troopers. e of the prisoners was wounded somewhere above the shoulder becasue the blood was trickling down his arm. It was fresh blood, so I think he was going for treatment. Apparently they weren't ready to accept these two prisoners into the hospital so they had them stand out- side the door for about five minutes. While they were standing there, there was one trooper on each side of each prisoner with clubs in their ribs. And any move that the troopers felt was some kind of provocation, they would jab them in their sides. Finally someone gave the OK sign to the trooper. And one of the two pris- oners was escorted into the hospital. As they got to the stair, there was a prison guard who had a long nose thirty-eight pistol and he pointed it at his forehead and said, "Make one fucking move and you're dead." Then he said something like: "I'd like nothing more than to shoot you right now." JOHN: Other medics told me that there was a prisoner in for treatment of a cut or something like that, nothing serious. The guards took him off to solitary and • a few hours later the same guy back completely bashed to pieces ana the guards said he fell down the stairs. And that guy had it.

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When you see that look in somone's eyes, that means murder, kill - . And that guy had . lt.

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STRAIT : When you were carrying out the inmates were any of them talking; was there any communication amongst themselves or with your men; was there any.communication of any kind at all? JOHN : The few men who were able to speak were really scared. They said things like: "Don't hit me," "Don't hurt me," or "Don't shoot me" but there weren't many of those. Most were completely un- conscious or were muttering somethiny that you couldn't hear or understand. How many white prisoners were there that you saw or treated? JOHN: There weren't many that I saw. Bl LL: I personally saw in the hospital up- wards of a hundred blacks and only one white, and one oriental. JOHN: And they received the same kind of bullshit from the guards as everyone else. Only irlstead of calling them black bastards they were called Nigger lovers. STRAIT : Did you see any of the hostages at all' JOHN: I saw their bodies arid I did see one guy as he first walked out of the cell- block. That was a pretty scary sight. He wasn't hurt a bit. Not physically abused or anything. He was an old guy; he didn't look right at all. I don't know what was going through his head, but he was in bad shape. STRAIT:

He was looking at me as I opened the book and on the cover page were the words, ''Whatever happens, we will win." I wanted to keep the book but it wouldn't have been fair to him so I put it back in his pocket and he gave me a little smile. As soon as I put the book back in his pocket, a prison guard came storming up to me and pushed me in the back - almost knocked me down and said,"Get the fuck away from him ." JOHN: Most of the beating and stuff didn't go on in the open. They tried to hide the brutality. They didn't do a very good job though. They didn't do it right out in the open but the thing was that you knew that there was a lot of beating going on because all around you could hear cell doors opening and then beating and screaming. STRAIT: What were your orders when you went out there? What specifically were you supposed to do? Bl LL: They told us we would go in and .that we would be evacuating prisoners from D block. First, though, we would evacuate hostages and other wounded personnel. STRAIT: How many people would you say, other than the people injured severely, were injured in the seige?

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JOHN: The official published number was I think around 102 or 100, but the records that we had said around 300.

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STRAIT Z3 MARCH 1972

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