Rob Will was gassed 3 times using military agents by a 6 man riot team in response to a totally nonviolent protest. These men weigh around 250lbs each! It’s not nice to watch, but this is what happens on Death Row in Texas.
Wednesday (Wooden's Day), afternoon:
The protest has begun! I’m sitting here in a cell coated in military-grade crowd-control riot gas. I’ve been completely stripped naked and my body is on fire. All I have in this cell is a mattress saturated with chemical agents and the toilet is broken and filled with feces and urine. I was barely able to squeeze a pen and some paper under the management door just now.
Yesterday, Tuesday, 6-1-05, I jacked the handcuffs coming back from the shower (i.e. after I was in my cell, I stuck my arms out of the food slot to be un-handcuffed. When the officer unlatched one cuff I quickly pulled them into my cell). Then, I immediately began suiting up. I put my clothes on and my homemade gas mask, then rigged up my door to where it couldn’t be opened.
All of the ranking officers came including the Captain and the Major. They started their propaganda amongst themselves: "yeah, I guess Will just wants to get his ass whooped. I think we need to see how many cans of gas it takes before the whole cell turns orange". Blah blah blah. One interesting thing: Major Nelson told me that she read an open letter addressed to the staff here which I wrote about a week ago. In the letter I basically stated that I’m a peaceful person and asked that the staff not be assaultive and cause things to get out of hand. Ms Nelson said that she read my propaganda and added in a threatening manner: the team will be here in a few minutes and we'll see how much your letter mattered! She obviously ordered the C-O’s on the team to be excessively assaultive. This system always reacts violently and sadistically to peaceful protest.
A few minutes later the 5-man team arrived in full riot gear: helmet with steel face mask, heavy bullet-proof/shank proof vest, gas mask, leg and feet plates that look like a baseball catchers and the lead man had a riot shield. Lt. Bryant was giving the orders and Sgt. Poole had the gas canister. The new gas can they have is like a small all black fire extinguisher. I was told its called Top Cop LE-10 Crowd Control. It's way worse than the old stuff.
The team lined up at my door Gestapo fashion. Another officer focused the video camera in on the ranking officers and Lt. Bryant yelled, "offender Will, give up the hand restraints and submit to a strip search or chemical agents and a 5-man team will be utilized". I braced myself for the blast, held my sheet up, Bryant gave the order again, then Sgt. Poole squeezed the trigger. Even though I had my face covered up and had a sheet to block some of the gas, it still took my breath away.
It took me a few minutes to gain my senses back, then I went up to the door and tried to talk but I couldn’t get out what I wanted to say; I was still a bit dazed. So, I stepped back behind the shield I made with my sheet and prepared for the second blast. Sgt. Poole fired again, this time emptying the entire container. This isn’t a small can of mace or pepper gas, this is a big canister of crowd control riot gas, the same kind the military uses.
Right after the second blast I went to the door and yelled, "Give Jaime Elizalde Jr. and Tony Egbuno Ford an immediate stay of execution and I'll come out". The team tensed up and Lt. Bryant yelled in a fury, "Roll the door!" No one has ever said anything like that before so I surely made him mad. These officers are so completely indoctrinated that they loose all sense of self-control when a person challenges this system.
The electric gears on the door turned but they couldn’t open it. I thought Lt. Bryant was going to have a stroke! I don’t think anyone has ever locked a cell door on him like that before. They started beating, banging, kicking and shaking the door like schoolyard bullies throwing a fit because they couldn’t reach the kid they wanted to beat up. They kept ordering me to come out but I wouldn’t.
The gas began getting to my eyes, then I went to the door and told Poole that I was coming out peacefully and that this was a non-violent. Bamm!! I heard Lt. Bryant give the order and before I could finish saying "protest" and move, Sgt. Poole gassed me right in the face. The force of the blast caused my head to jerk back and I was temporarily blinded. I stumbled back a little then wiped the thick coat of gas that felt like lava off my face. I waited a few more minutes then I told them that I'd come out peacefully in a non-violent manner. I put the handcuff key in the security tray slot. Then I put my clothes in the slot, which is procedure before a person leaves his cell. I took my gas mask off and was immediately blinded and I couldn’t breathe at all. I doubled over and began choking and gasping for air. It felt like someone had tied a hangman’s noose around my neck and left me hanging. My lungs were on fire and I thought that I was going to die right then. Everything went black and all I could think of was air: I need to breathe, I need air, air, I need air, I need to breathe!
The officers were yelling something but I couldn’t understand them; I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t see and I couldn’t hear. I tried to open my eyes but it was impossible. After gaining some of my senses back through the choking and coughing I managed to get the handcuffs into the food slot with the rest of my clothes. I was handcuffed, I unlocked the door and I came out gasping for air.
Though they’re supposed to allow us to decontaminate they just led me to the shower, pressed the button twice for about a total of 1 minute then took me back out onto the run. I gained enough oxygen to where I could talk so I addressed the camera between dry-heaving and coughing: This is a direct action in protest of the pending execution of Jaime Elizalde Jr., Tony Egbuno Ford, and all others with execution dates!! This is a direct action in protest of the inhumane conditions were forced to live under on a daily basis!!
As they were dragging all of my property out of my cell through the gas I continued to address the incident camera in a calm but loud and firm voice: We stand in solidarity with all anti-death penalty groups in the free world in demanding an immediate end to capital punishment. Completely naked, blinded, coughing and choking I kept on until they put me back in my cell on the gas soaked floor.
I was being held down by three officers so I couldn’t move. They un-cuffed me and left me in the cell naked, covered in gas and gasping for air. They couldn’t shut the door all the way so they moved me over to 84 cell. So, here I am, completely naked in this cell, still burning up from head to toe. I tried to pull some boxers in the cell but they wouldn’t fit- the cell is too sealed up. All I could fish in were this pen and a piece of paper.
Egbuno just left out to an attorney visit. He hollered at me to let me know that he’s going to conduct a one-person sit-in in the hallway and refuse to move. That will be his start on the protest. Everyone else participating is housed at the opposite end of this 500 man building but I heard them call the ER team down there so I know they kicked it off! Nothing like this has ever been done before and its a beautiful thing!
With strength and love in the struggle: