Strait_v1n11_1972-03

The few men who were able to speak were really scared. They said things like -

or (Don't shoot me.'

(Don't hurt me,'

almost all unconscious or bleeding pro- fusely . The troopers used deer slugs and they used sub-machine guns and high- powered rifles. Bl LL: When I was in the armory before going out there, there was no radio communication at all with the prison, except what we heard over civilian radio. The first report we heard - about 9: 30 was over civilian radio and the an- nouncer said that alot of people were dead in there : troopers, guardsmen .. .. When he said guardsmen, man I really didn't know...I was just ... I didn't know .. .my reaction was that I wanted to get out there and see for myself if guards- men were really wounded . When I got there I really expected to see guards- men, my friends, wounded and being treated. That wasn't the case. About 10 or 10:30 in the morning I got a call from one of the people out there saying they needed more medical supplies so I loaded up and went out there with another medic . I got there somewhere around 10:30 or 11:00. That was Monday morning the 13th. I was immediately taken by the number of en- forcement agencies that were there; the county sheriffs, Buffalo Police, other county and community law enforcement agencies. All of them had 30.06 rifles and other high-powered rifles and shot guns and they were waiting by the side of the road. When I approached the prison itself, I could smell the remnants of gas, tear gas. When I got into the prison, there were a lot of guardsmen in the periph- ery of the cellblocks, just milling. They looked strange to me, because they were just standing there or sitting down by trucks, like guardsmen usually do, not doing much. By the time I pulled up to the prison hospital, I then saw what really happened. There was a certain degree of shock involved. When I walked in to the hospital, the first thing I saw were a lot of patients

lying on stretchers. There were so many that there was no other place to put them but along the floors in the halls. There were prison guards and troopers - the prison guards all had shot- guns at a port or ready positon, walking around watching these injured prisoners on stretchers. The first thing that I did was just walk through the hospital to get a feel for the place. There was emergency sur- gery going on in some of the rooms by prison doctors and doctors from a civ- ilian in Buffalo had been summoned out . There were about a dozen of these . At one point I came to the corridors that lead to the cellblocks. In one on the right lay five prisoners. They all had interveinous bottles on them so they were either unconscious or loosing blood badly so that the treatment they were under was certainly life-saving effort. Opposite them were guards with bay- onets fixed , standing against the the walls. It looked really impressive. Mostly because the guys on the stretchers weren't going to move, there was no way they could physically. I walked down the line and looked at these five prisoners. One was dead, he had just died in the half hour. There was a doctor and some official in a suit and a prison guard in one spot and I heard the doctor saying to the other two, "He's going to die if I don't do something.. " and the guy with the suit said "Leave them alone, we'll get to them later." I learned later that those five people were the suspected leaders of the insurgency, and that if any treat- ment were to be given to them it would have to come after everyone else had been taken care of. STRAIT:During the time of the up- rising, the papers carried accounts of mistreatment of the inmates_ Did you see any of this sort of thing at Attica while you were there?

JOHN :I didn't see it, but when I got there there were stories floating around about a guy who was made to sit with shot-gun shells on his knees. The guard told him that if they fell, they were going to shoot him.The kind of stuff I saw was just plain old beating. A lot of beating. In the corridor in the hospital that leads to the D cellblock I heard some commotion going on and I looked down there and saw five prison guards and a black prisoner. They were pushing him around so I got a little closer to the bars of that cellblock so that I was about 15 feet from what was happening. The black guy was screaming, "Don't kill me, I didn't kill no cop," and one of the guards said," Fuck you, I'll kill you, you bastard. Say one more word and you're dead." All of a sudden, a scuffle started and about ten more guards appeared and everyone was swinging at him, so I got right up to the bars now and I saw the prisoner. He wasn 't bleeding when I first saw him and the next time I caught a glimpse of him he was on the floor and he had a huge gap in his forehead. But he was still quite conscious and still ueaming, "Don't shoot me." While I was working in the hospital, there was one prison guard about my size but he had a look in his eyes which was just frightening. He was wlaking around with a double barrel shotgun and I got the impression that he was some kind of supervisor for the prison guards, because the other guards seemed to take orders from him. So while I was watch- ing this scuffle with the black prisoner, this guard walked up and the bars swung open and he walked right in and directly up to this prisoner who was now lying on the floor bleeding. He pointed the double barrel shotgun right inot his face and said, "Say one more fucking word and you're dead." ( . d 73,, contmue on page Bl LL :

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STRAIT 23 MARCH 1972

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