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Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel Won’t Seek A Third Term. These Movements Are A Big Reason.

Protesters blasting everything from punitive prosecutors to police brutality should be remembered for their role in upsetting the Windy City's political status quo.

A demonstrator protesting in 2015 over the fatal police shooting of Laquan McDonald in Chicago. Former Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke was charged with murder in the 2014 death of 17-year-old McDonald.
Photo illustration by Anagraph/ Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel Won’t Seek A Third Term. These Movements Are A Big Reason.

Protesters blasting everything from punitive prosecutors to police brutality should be remembered for their role in upsetting the Windy City's political status quo.

On Sept. 4, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that he would not seek re-election. Many local activists and organizers celebrated the news. But with a race dominated by establishment candidates, including former Chicago police superintendent Garry McCarthy and Paul Vallas, a former CEO of Chicago Public Schools who is a veteran of New Orleans’ racist charter school system and a longtime advocate of school privatization, others insisted the celebrations were premature.  

I was among those celebrating, because, for Chicago’s grassroots organizers, the moment was well-earned. Though I would be troubled that in the days afterward many of the key stories behind Emanuel’s downfall were being clipped from the public narrative, despite strong, continuing evidence of their impact.

There are movements that should not be forgotten when the history of Emanuel’s Chicago is told: the Mental Health Movement, which fought Emanuel’s devastating attacks on public mental health care; the Dyett hunger strikers, who prevented a local high school from being shuttered; parents who occupied their children’s schools in the battle against Emanuel’s mass school closures.

Movements against state violence also had a tremendous impact on the Emanuel administration. Conservatives have seized upon Chicago’s often-exaggerated murder rate as a signifier of “Black on Black” crime, but for those who live here, intra-community violence is part of a larger continuum of harm, and cannot be separated from violence imposed by the state. It is therefore impossible to understand the story Emanuel’s two terms as mayor without examining protest movements that challenged the violence of his police force.

As an organizer and a movement journalist, I contributed to these moments and also worked to document them. Given that perspective, I believe that these campaigns and movement moments should be preserved for the historical record.

‘Reparations now’

Between 1972 and 1991, over 100 Black men were tortured by the Chicago police under the infamous leadership of Commander Jon Burge, who died at the age of 70 on Sept. 19. The city has paid $120 million to settle claims related to torture allegations against Burge and his officers, but a true tally of those affected may never be known.

In 2010, a group called Chicago Torture Justice Memorials began organizing to seek justice for the survivors of police torture and to memorialize their suffering. In 2012, the group drafted a reparations ordinance including demands for financial compensation for victims as well as specialized counseling services and free tuition at city colleges for survivors and their immediate families. The document also called for a monument to survivors of police torture and an addition to the public school curriculum that would reflect the experiences of torture survivors. It seemed like an impossible set of demands—but as organizer Mariame Kaba stated at the time, it was “a transformative document” worth fighting for.

The campaign for reparations dogged Emanuel as he campaigned for re-election in 2015, turning the lobby outside his office into a pop-up art exhibit about police torture and interrupting his day-to-day activities. One activist ambushed him while he was enjoying some ice cream. Organizers also staged mock votes on city trains, in which voters chose between Emanuel and reparations. Politically vulnerable, and hampered by the scrutiny of the media and his opponent, Jesús “Chuy” García, Emanuel could do little to defend himself.

On a cold night in February that year, a group of protesters amassed outside Emanuel’s home, lifting a large, lighted message that read “REPARATIONS NOW.” There was a visible reaction inside the home. Blinds were closed and lights went out. After Emanuel’s decision not to seek a third term was announced, a source close to him claimed that protests outside the mayor’s family home were a major stressor and a serious consideration as he pondered a re-election bid. It has also been noted in the media that Emanuel would most likely face another runoff if he sought a third term—a prediction that probably troubled Emanuel, given the beating he took from activists during his runoff against Garcia.

The strongest crusaders for the ordinance were, of course, the torture survivors themselves. Their stories were nightmarish, moving and profoundly articulated. Darrell Cannon was subjected to three mock executions with a shotgun before his genitals were shocked with a cattle prod. A plastic bag was placed over Anthony Holmes’s head while he was subjected to electric shocks from a crude device that Burge operated himself. Students and artists, moved by their narratives, created and exhibited work that fueled a moral reckoning. By the time the city agreed to a negotiated version of the ordinance, a narrative had been forged that could not be undone—one that has now been written into the curriculum of Chicago’s city schools.

With the early momentum of the Black Lives Matter movement at its back, the reparations campaign saw victory in 2015, after leveraging Emanuel’s vulnerability in a mayoral runoff. On May 6, 2015, the Chicago City Council passed the reparations ordinance which established a $5.5 million fund for Burge’s victims and provided free tuition at  city colleges for survivors and their families. In May 2017, the Chicago Torture Justice Center, which “seeks to address the traumas of police violence and institutionalized racism through access to healing and wellness services,” opened on the city’s South Side as part of the reparations package.

‘16 shots and a cover-up’

In October 2014, 17-year-old Laquan McDonald was shot 16 times by Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke. Over a year later, video of McDonald’s killing was released. Emanuel along with other officials, including then State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, withheld the video from the public until after Emanuel had secured his second term. In a hotly contested race, many questioned whether Emanuel could have defeated Garcia if the images of McDonald being killed—as he was walking away from Van Dyke—had been broadcast during the campaign. Garcia has continued to ascend politically, and is currently running for U.S. Congress in Illinois’ 4th District.

The court-ordered release of the video of McDonald’s death gave rise to massive demonstrations led by Black youth that electrified the city for weeks. During one protest, participants shut down the city’s most popular downtown shopping destinations, including Macy’s, on Black Friday in 2015, costing retailers 25 to 50 percent of their projected sales on one of the busiest shopping days of the year. “Today, there is no shopping on Michigan Avenue,” said one protester. “Because Laquan McDonald won’t have a Christmas.” Unsatisfied by the first-degree murder charge filed against Van Dyke on the day the video was released, most protesters also echoed demands for the resignations of Emanuel, then-police superintendent Garry McCarthy, and Alvarez, chanting “16 shots and a cover-up”—a refrain that follows Emanuel to this day.

A week after the video McDonald’s death was made public, Emanuel, who had previously defended McCarthy, fired him in an effort to stem public outrage. And now Van Dyke is on trial in a Cook County courtroom, in McDonald’s killing. Chicago activists have held vigil outside the courthouse where the trial is taking place and say they will continue to do so until a verdict is rendered.


In early 2016, a coalition of young Black people organized the #ByeAnita campaign to hold Alvarez responsible for her role in the cover-up of McDonald’s killing, for her complicity with police violence, and for her aggressive prosecutions of Black people for acts of self-defense such as Naomi Freeman, who was charged with first-degree murder after she ran over her abusive partner with a minivan. Back then, most incumbent prosecutors were either easily re-elected and or ran unopposed. But protesters were undeterred because as Tess Raser, who worked on the #ByeAnita campaign, told me at the height of the effort, Emanuel “conspired with State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez during his own re-election campaign to cover up the police murder of Laquan McDonald—a life that to Emanuel, Alvarez, and [Hillary] Clinton did not matter—and any politician who supports him is implicated in it.”

The #ByeAnita campaign was characterized by relentless confrontation. Alvarez’s movements were tracked online through the hashtag #WheresAnita; her campaign events also faced repeated interruptions. On election eve, 16 banner drops highlighting her harms against the community were staged throughout the city—one for each bullet that struck McDonald.

“People need to be aware that Anita Alvarez argues for maximum penalties against young people, in juvenile court, as a matter of policy,” organizer Kaleb Autman, then just 14 years old, told me, “and people need to understand the effect that has on children and on our communities.”

Operating on a budget of less than $1,000, young Black organizers from groups like BYP 100, Assata’s Daughters, and Fearless Leading played a pivotal role in bringing down Alvarez, who was defeated by Kim Foxx in March 2016. Particularly pionering was the #ByeAnita campaign’s focus on accountability for prosecutors, rather than endorsing Foxx. “Kim Foxx did not win this campaign,” Raser said. “Anita Alvarez lost this campaign because we pushed this city to see what Anita Alvarez has been doing to this city and its people.”

In the last year, as young activists have squared off with Emanuel and the City Council, they have warned “Don’t believe us? Go ask Anita.” Indeed, the specter of Alvarez’s ouster, and the relentless nature of the campaign to remove her was most likely on Emanuel’s mind as he decided whether to run for a third term in a race that would unfold as McDonald’s killer was being tried, reopening the wounds that led so many into the streets.

The #ByeAnita campaign resonated far beyond Chicago as incumbent prosecutors and other establishment candidates are now being challenged—and defeated—across the country, often on similar issues that drove Alvarez’s loss, such as police shootings.

The culmination

Organizing against police violence in a city like Chicago is a complex project. “It was the combination of sustained and varied resistance against every single attack against the community waged by Rahm,” Black Lives Matter Chicago organizer Aislinn Pulley told me, “that collectively made it politically infeasible for Rahm to run for a third term.”

Some of those attacks included the killing of Rekia Boyd by an off-duty police officer in 2012 as she made her way home from a party—a case that helped seal Alvarez’s fate; the 2014 police killing, just days before McDonald’s death, of Ronald “Ronnieman” Johnson, whose mother has led a fight for justice; and Emanuel’s attempt in 2017 to spend $95 million on a new police academy while his austerity policies continue to punish Chicago’s most vulnerable communities, spurring the #NoCopAcademy movement.

Emanuel hoped that the story of his tenure would not be written by such protests. But every attempt he made to shape his history was interrupted by the storytelling of movements that would not allow the violence of his policies to be erased. The most impactful of these efforts drew clear connections between Emanuel’s austerity measures, police violence and the intra-community violence incubated by conditions that city officials help cultivate.  

In July, Emanuel boasted “I made a few phone calls” after a highway was shut down for a peace march led by his longtime friend, the anti-violence activist Father Michael Pfleger. The event was framed as civil disobedience but Emanuel’s comments revealed it to be effectively a protest managed by the state. At the time, some activists believed that Emanuel was attempting to co-opt protest as a means to gloss over his past harms to protesters and perhaps even pave the way for a third-term mayoral run. In hindsight, however, it seems more likely that the event was yet another example of legacy shaping. The image of Father Pfleger, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, and Emanuel’s current police superintendent marching arm-in-arm, amid a large crowd, made for a picture-perfect protest moment. But a week later, Emanuel’s police gunned down a South Side barber, Harith Augustus, launching yet another rebellion by the community.

“McCarthy resigned, Jason Van Dyke was indicted and on the eve of Van Dyke’s trial, Mayor Emanuel decided not to run for re-election,” Frank Chapman, director of the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, told me.  “One doesn’t have to be a political analyst to connect the dots here. Rahm knew that what he managed to hide in the last election would be staring him in the face in this one. Being the political coward that he is he chose not to run.”

Emanuel recently announced that after leaving office he will be writing a book called The Nation City: Why Mayors Run the World for the prestigious New York publishing house Alfred A Knopf. His publisher says the book will focus on “effective governing in a time of historic gridlock”—a curious theme, given his dismal track record on everything from criminal justice to education. But while Emanuel pens a post hoc effort to reclaim his own story, Chicago organizers will be working hard to prevent another mayor like Emanuel from taking office.

NYC Prosecutors Are Stoking Fear About the Mass Bailout, But Their Arguments Don’t Add Up

District attorneys’ comments belie the true purpose of bail in New York and ignore the safety risks of jail itself.

Rikers Island
U.S. Geological Survey

NYC Prosecutors Are Stoking Fear About the Mass Bailout, But Their Arguments Don’t Add Up

District attorneys’ comments belie the true purpose of bail in New York and ignore the safety risks of jail itself.

Throughout October, the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights foundation will be working to bail out hundreds of people from New York City’s jails. The organization originally planned to target two facilities in the city’s sprawling Rikers Island jail complex: “Rosie’s,” or the Rose M. Singer Center, which detains women, and the troubled Robert N. Davoren Complex, which had held boys ages 16-17. As of Monday, the city had moved the teens to a juvenile facility to comply with the state’s “Raise the Age” law, although they appear to remain as eligible for bail as before. That leaves roughly 250 women who are eligible for bail in Rosie’s, and fewer than 100 teenagers who are eligible in the new location.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, law enforcement officials quickly assailed the proposal. The president of the Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association, Elias Husamudeen, immediately raised the specter of those released committing crimes while on bail, as did four of the five elected district attorneys in New York City (Michael McMahon of Staten Island weighed in later). The prosecutors all suggested that the bailout was jeopardizing witnesses and victims, with Queens DA Richard Brown simply saying, “It is clearly a threat to public safety.”

Such an aggressive response by law enforcement to what is ultimately a small-scale proposal is completely predictable. Their arguments, however, are deeply problematic.

Let’s just start with the fact that New York is one of four states in the country where prosecutors and judges cannot take a defendant’s likelihood of committing another crime into account when setting bail, which is intended solely to ensure appearance at trial. So when Mayor Bill de Blasio’s spokesperson says the mayor supports bailing out those who “don’t pose a public safety risk,” she is essentially admitting that the mayor’s office is okay with using a defendant’s poverty to circumvent the state’s bail law.

Now, to be clear, Bronx DA Darcel Clark is correct when she says that there could be some public safety risk from releasing someone from Rikers without any sort of re-entry plan. But the solution is not to capitalize on defendants’ poverty and use bail to (illegally) lock them up—not only because doing so violates New York’s bail statute, but because Rikers is itself a dangerous and violent place.

At the same time, it is important that any solution not be counterproductive. Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez, for example, is encouraging witnesses and victims to get orders of protection against those being bailed out. But as public defenders are quick to explain, such orders often fail to reflect the messy, intertwined nature of violence in the city, and they can push defendants into homelessness and unemployment, which might actually make things riskier.

There are two other conceptual problems with the prosecutors’ decision to stoke people’s fears of more offending. To start, all the people who the foundation will bail out were eligible for bail in the first place. Had each of them made bail at their arraignment and left the courtroom, one by one, over the course of weeks or months, no one would have said anything. It would have been the system working as it is designed to. So why is the release of a small number of them in a short window of time suddenly a cause for alarm? The most plausible explanation seems to be that each defendant making bail at arraignment was not actually the goal, that the purpose was to use unaffordable bail to ensure systematic confinement—even though New York State law requires judges to consider a defendant’s ability to pay bail and provides up to nine ways judges can release defendants to ensure poverty alone doesn’t trap them in Rikers.

And let’s be clear: The action taken by the foundation, while laudable, is relatively minor in total scope. Rikers currently releases approximately 50,000 people every year, so the few hundred that the foundation will help leave jail constitute less than 1 percent of the total number flowing out of Rikers every year. It seems unlikely that a 1 percent increase will lead to any noticeable increase in crime. (And contrary to what some law enforcement types have said, evidence indicates that people bailed out via bail funds are just as likely to show up as those bailed out by family or friends.)

Finally, any risk to victims or witnesses has to be balanced against the risks to those detained in Rosie’s and at the Horizon Juvenile Center, where the teens formerly incarcerated in Davoren are now housed. Rikers Island is a violent, dysfunctional place. The city’s own independent commission that looked into conditions on Rikers quoted family members of detainees calling the place “Torture Island.” Rikers operated under a “code of violence,” the commission reported, and life there was defined by “brutal treatment” and “inhumane conditions.” In fact, the commission noted that those conditions were particularly dangerous and antithetical to re-entry for women and juveniles—the very populations the bailout targets. And Horizon is currently facing a federal investigation into the claim that the children detained there were sexually abused by staff for years.

By talking about the harms to victims and witnesses but ignoring those faced by the people on Rikers and at Horizon—people who retain the presumption of innocence, though that should hardly matter when talking about treating people with basic human decency—the prosecutors are reinforcing the dangerous politics of punishment. Criminal justice decisions often operate under fear of the “Willie Horton Effect,” which means that any act of leniency is politically risky, since the person out on bail could commit a crime that gets sensationalized attention. Needlessly keeping someone locked up, meanwhile, remains relatively riskless for politicians, since the costs are borne by a population mostly out of sight and whose harms aren’t considered relevant in the first place.

Even if New York’s prosecutors ultimately do not impede the foundation’s efforts, their rhetoric is disappointing. Much of criminal justice reform is about making the general public think more carefully about the needless, preventable, and often counterproductive harms that the system creates, and the prosecutors’ reactive “what about public safety?!” proclamations directly undermine such efforts, and only serve to strengthen the public’s willingness to continue to cage women and teens.

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‘Worse Than Guantánamo’

Dozens of former detainees at the Gwinnett County jail in Georgia claim they were subjected to brutality at the hands of its Rapid Response Team.

Outside the Georgia Diagnostic Prison in March 12, 2002, in Jackson, Georgia. British national Tracy Housel was executed by lethal injection that day at the prison. Housel was given the death penalty for a 1985 murder in Gwinnett County.
Photo illustration by Anagraph / Photo by Erik S. Lesser/Getty Images

‘Worse Than Guantánamo’

Dozens of former detainees at the Gwinnett County jail in Georgia claim they were subjected to brutality at the hands of its Rapid Response Team.

During a night out in northern Georgia, Keven Goodwin didn’t expect to be subjected to trauma that would rival his experiences serving four years on active duty in the army.

When he was arrested in 2012 for a traffic violation and found to have a blood alcohol level above the legal limit, officers took Goodwin to the Gwinnett County jail where he was placed in a cold, empty holding cell. He remembers tapping on the glass, trying to get a deputy’s attention. His shoes were outside the door, and his feet were becoming filthy.

But help never arrived for Goodwin. Instead, a team of officers wearing helmets, masks, and full riot gear entered his cell, shot him with a pepper ball gun, jumped on Goodwin and pinned him to the ground, and then put him in a restraint chair where they left him shackled for four hours.

“This is worse than a third-world country,” the 45-year-old remembers thinking. “This is worse than Guantánamo.”

He pleaded with the officers to stop assaulting him. He said he had muscle issues because of his military service, and the restraints were causing serious pain.

“I was trying to tell them, ‘Hey, I’m a disabled vet,’” he said. “‘I have injuries to my legs and I need to move around.’ But that didn’t work.”

(In court filings, attorneys for the Gwinnett County Sheriff admitted that Goodwin was placed in a restraint chair, but denied that he was shot with a pepper ball gun).

Goodwin is just one of dozens of pretrial detainees who claim they have been subjected to excessive force by Gwinnett County Sheriff R.L. “Butch” Conway’s Rapid Response Team (RRT). Located about 30 miles from Atlanta, Gwinnett is home to nearly one million residents and is Georgia’s second most populous county; its jail houses nearly 3,000 people. The RRT was created around 2001 to provide a tactical response in the event of a riot or other emergency within the jail; it has since come to be used to exert control over incarcerated people deemed to be disruptive.

According to a lawsuit originally filed in a federal court in 2013 which has 12 plaintiffs and names Sheriff Conway and Lt. Col. Carl Sims as defendants, the RRT’s use of excessive force is “frequent, pervasive, and well documented.” The detainees claim they knocked on the glass, yelled for help, or created some other minor disturbance when the RRT deployed excessive force against them, including applying pressure points on their bodies “for the purpose of inflicting pain” and placing them in a restraint chair for hours. They say that they were not acting violently or posing a threat to officers, other inmates, or the jail property.  “It’s disgusting, disturbing, and an abuse of power,” Goodwin said.

Though a federal judge in Georgia denied the plaintiffs’ request for class action status in May, the court reopened the case in late August after an amended complaint was filed. The case will most likely go to trial in the coming months. Craig Jones, a Washington, Georgia, attorney who represents the detainees, says the sheriff instructs the RRT to violate both the department’s policy against excessive force as well as the civil rights of people incarcerated at his jail. When the RRT is called to respond to an inmate, Jones says, they subject detainees to gratuitous, punitive, and sadistic pain in retaliation for alleged noncompliant behavior.

“A lot of it is just a matter of de-escalating the situation,” he said, “but once they call the Rapid Response Team, they’ve basically pulled a switch and there’s no going back. They’re not trained in de-escalation techniques. They’re trained in making a tactical entry and then a takedown. A dynamic entry and then scaring the shit out of people. And occasionally they hurt them—hurt them badly. They always inflict some kind of pain.”

Deputy Shannon Volkodav, public information officer for the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office, declined to comment on pending litigation. But in February, the office did respond to a specific complaint from a detainee who said she didn’t receive adequate medical treatment in the jail. “If you don’t like the way we run the Gwinnett County Jail,” Volkodav wrote in a Facebook post, “stay out of it.”

Many of the plaintiffs, however, including detainees with disabilities and medical conditions, say officers ignored their pleas for medical help. Most of them claim to have lasting physical, mental, and emotional trauma because of their encounters with their RRT. Goodwin said the incident elevated the severity of the muscle issues he experiences in his legs and that he continues to be in physical pain. Similarly, another plaintiff, Coleman Martinelli, alleges that when he was booked in a 2013 DUI, the RRT violently dragged from a patrol car to a holding cell where they strapped him to a restraint bed for several hours and placed a biohazard mask on his face even after he told officers that he had PTSD from his military service.

After his arrest, Goodwin thought that his experience was an anomaly. But then one night, he turned on the news and saw video showing the RRT tackling and restraining other detainees. He called the attorney he saw on in the news segment and said he wanted to join the lawsuit.

“It brought tears to my eyes, watching video of what actually happened,” he said. “They showed me, ‘It isn’t just you.’”

Grzegorz Kozlowski said he escaped the communist Polish People’s Republic, but experienced the worst abuses of his life while detained for the night in at the Gwinnett County jail in 2013. “I had a very hard life. I was beaten and I run away,” the 60-year-old said. “What happened in the Gwinnett County jail, I never, never believe it would happen in America.”

Kozlowski says that he ended up in the jail because of a misunderstanding. A non-native English speaker, he became frustrated and angry when employees at a Sears store could not understand him as he tried to buy a pair of shoes. Store security called the police who then arrested him for disorderly conduct.

“I am right now 33 years in America,” he said. “I am not troublemaker. I grow up a good citizen. I was never criminal in Poland. I was never criminal in America.”

At the jail, Kozlowski was brought into a holding cell, where he began screaming for help. He suffers from diabetes and high blood pressure, and was barely conscious when the RRT entered his cell, pulled him to the floor, jumped on him, and threw him in a restraint chair.

“They treat me worse than I treat my dogs,” he said angrily.

Years later, he “would awaken in the middle of the night several times per night, several times per week,” according to the complaint. He also continued to have problems with the parts of his wrists and ankles where he had been shackled.

“I am not criminal but doesn’t matter,” he said. “Criminal, not criminal. You’re not supposed to be treated like that. No way. That’s not normal.”

The number of such claims against the RRT are growing. After a judge rejected a motion to bring the lawsuit as a class action in late May, Jones said he sent a mailer to all 1,300 people who have been the subject of a use of force report by the RRT since 2011. 

Like Goodwin and Kozlowski, most of the detainees who have come forward to recount experiencing excessive force by the RRT have only been to the jail once, Jones said.

“The vast majority of the people who get subjected to this are not criminals,” he said. “They’re not people who have been in the jail before who know the deal. Most of them are like, drunk kids or loudmouths or people who are mentally ill.”

As the litigation proceeds in federal court, the family of Chris Howard, a 23-year-old who died in 2017 as a result of being in the Rapid Response Team’s custody has filed a lawsuit, demanding $10 million for the “negligent, reckless” actions of the officers. On Feb. 15, 2017, Howard, who was on probation because of a drunk driving accident, was booked into the Gwinnett County jail after he failed a drug test. He had a pre-existing genetic disorder that can lead to dangerously low blood sugar levels; when he fell to the ground because of an apparent seizure, officers refused to get him medical attention.  After officers finally agreed to take him to the infirmary, Howard went into cardiac arrest. He died two days later.

A federal grand jury has also opened a criminal investigation into the sheriff’s office. Because the investigation is not public, Jones said it’s not clear if it is focused exclusively on Howard’s death or the RRT’s use of force in general. In August, a week before the grand jury investigation was revealed in court filings, an RRT deputy was arrested and charged with battery for allegedly punching a female inmate in the head. Last week, the Atlanta-Journal Constitution reported that in 2015, Gwinnett County Sheriff’s deputy Robert Todd Garmon was arrested and charged with child cruelty after shaking his infant son with such intensity that his skull was fractured. Garmon returned to work as a jailer within two weeks of his arrest; he resigned from the department this summer after he entered a plea deal in the case.

Though it appears that only one detainee has died at the hands of the RRT, Goodwin says he wouldn’t be surprised if stories about other fatalities emerge.

“Anything could have happened to me in there,” Goodwin said. “I could have not come home at all.”

He said he hopes the lawsuit can put an end to the RRT before others are emotionally and physically harmed.

“I hope they’re held accountable,” he said. “I feel like my civil liberties were violated, and I know from watching the tape that they’ve done this time and time again to other people. … I don’t want this to happen to anybody else.”

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