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Thursday, April 2
Welcome to Leon's Plea for Justice Blog
This is my families’ testimony of truth:
On September 18, 2008, our family had to endure what we refer to as our family's “911”; our family received a call from an inmate using an illicit cell phone at McNeil Island Corrections Center (MICC), informing us that Leon was being air lifted off the island for medical reasons originally thought to be a heart attack. He also said that Leon had been caught with contraband (cell phone) and placed in segregation hours prior to this. We immediately began calling the facility to see what had happened. In a panic and search for answers regarding Leon's status, we as a family, were left in the dark by DOC. We were never contacted directly nor given any detailed information regarding Leon when we contacted the facility. They never once informed his emergency contact or immediate family about his condition. The only thing they told our family was to call his wife, which was in contact with us and also unable to get any straight answers regarding what was happening. We got the complete run-around. We were eventually told, after numerous phone calls, that Leon was being airlifted off of the island to a surrounding area hospital; mind you, because he had suffered a "heart attack".
It was not until later that evening that we began to hear rumors of a possible suicide attempt. My brother was 12 years into and 20 year sentence; in-other-words, he had made it through the most difficult time 10 fold.
With so many questions looming and Leon's fate in hanging in the balance, we were devastated and at a complete loss.
We were not told until the following day what hospital he was at, so for the first day Leon was completely alone in the physical. The next day, upon family arriving, we were each denied visitation with Leon because he was in custody of the WA St DOC; the exception of his "alleged" wife, Rene Matthews, who was allowed to visit for only two hours a day. Imagine, the majority of us having flown across the country, walking into an Intensive Care Unit with a family member in a critical state and receiving no answers as to how these injuries occurred.
Leon was on life-support but shackled and handcuffed to the bed with a 24-hour bedside guard.
Our family has suffered many civil rights violations as well as inhumane treatment courtesy of the WA State DOC and McNeil Island Corrections Center. Our family was made to feel like prisoners throughout this entire ordeal. The Corrections Center (MICC) continues to give our family half truths leading us to believe with that, in addition to others factors that they are directly responsible for my brothers’ serious medical injuries and are involved in a cover-up.
One inmate(who would like to remain anonymous but will stand behind his disclosure)accounts, in detail, what he saw in a letter written to the family; he states that he witnessed WA DOC’s “lack of urgency” in assisting Leon during the emergency situation. He accounts that he and other inmates heard the helicopter turned on and
then off again. He saw the paramedics slowly walking to attend to Leon. He also, at one point, saw Leon sitting up; all at the same instance the guards were saying he was “dead”. Now if they are pronouncing him "dead", is that how DOC handles a dead man; propping him in an upright position instead of respectfully laying him down and covering him? If they announced on more than one occasion he was dead that means Leon started his fight to live amongst the very people that don’t want us to know what truly happened to him. As his family we don’t know if they really tried to save him but one thing for certain is that once we started calling around 11:45 – 12noon PST they finally decided to take him off the island to receive proper care; his suspected "heart attack" was around the hour of 10 am. Why did it take upwards of two hours to transfer him to a medical facility? It is our belief if DOC would have taken him out for medical care immediately he wouldn’t be in the condition he is in now.
Either way we look at this, these injuries were parented while in the care and custody of the Washington State DOC (McNeil Island Corrections Center). In the beginning we were told he had a heart attack, this story as I stated was later changed to an attempted suicide by hanging, which to the family and friends is unbelievable because of the lack of evidence to support his want to die and also various stories we have been given by both inmates and staff of the correctional facility. The bottom line is, as well as fact, that McNeil Island Corrections Center has attributed the events of September 18, 2008 to “bad apples”. They have failed to accept any responsibility or dig deeper for the truth so that those having participated in illegal activities resulting in Leon Toney becoming medically incapacitated can be brought to justice.
How can you admit knowledge of illegal contraband being smuggled into the prison and illicit goods brought in by guards and correctional employees, but say no foul play has been involved? If they wanted to stop contraband from coming into a prison they could. This system is about the economy of the participants; the intentional creation of a criminal class that law abiding citizens will fear as the result of our lack of positive law enforcement; they are guilty of corrupting the very law that they are appointed to uphold.
The Federal Bureau of Investigations, as well as Washington State Patrol and Washington State Department of Corrections, has been investigating this case for six months. To date, one corrections officer has been arrested and convicted following the investigation into illegal activity at the prison.
From the beginning of this investigation our family was told by the DOC that no foul-play was involved; even prior to a review of the surveillance tapes.One quote from a Federal Bureau of Investigations agent was, "all we want or care about is the dirty prison guards nothing else”. That is a pretty insensitive statement regarding a situation in which a man almost lost his life. Are we supposed to believe that all of these state agencies are truly conducting thorough independent investigations?
I'm sure you all know the old adage saying - You can tell of a society by how it treats its weakest members. I’m not proud to be a part of a society that allows prisoners to be murdered or harmed in prison, or a society that doesn't protect the mentally ill.
We are diligently working towards getting the word out against these sorts of injustices and are most certainly open to any and all suggestions or assistance that may be available to us. Thanks for all the prayers, phone calls and efforts to speak out against prison abuse!!!!!
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Leon Plea For Justice
Leon Plea For Justice