Thursday, November 19, 2015

Keith LaMar on Block Report Radio

Minister JR of the Block Report did an interview with Keith LaMar today. Listen here: 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Join the Fight to #FREEKeithLaMar

Keith LaMar is wrongfully on death row. He recently ended his 9-day hunger strike against cruel restrictions at the Ohio State Penitentiary after the warden agreed to meet his demands.

But the much larger fight is still ahead of us. We are asking you to join the fight to #FREEKeithLaMar. 

We are launching a social media campaign to spread the word far and wide that Ohio hid the evidence that proves Keith's innocence. We must call for freedom not death. 

We ask you to join us in this fight by:
  1. Watching and sharing this 2-minute video calling people to join the fight to #FREEKeithLaMar:
  2. Helping us grow the campaign by posting your own #FREEKeithLaMar photo with a strong message on social media (watch the video to get a sense of the images we are going for or see below)
  3. Forward this email to your own network and contacts. 
Guidelines for taking a photo:
Please keep it a serious sign which includes a message and the hashtag #FREEKeithLaMar.

Some examples of messages include:
Keith = Ohio's scape goat

Freedom not death!
Ohio hid the evidence
State sanctioned murder

It truly will require a mass of people supporting him together to make the kind of impact he needs. Join us in this fight to #FREEKeithLaMar!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Hunger Strike Ends in Victory!

Tuesday 16 November:

"Great news! The hunger strike has ended! Keith expresses his heartfelt support. All the calls and messages made all the difference! Warden LaRose said they can keep all their books (25 in the cell at a time, the rest in storage), and CDs (50 in the cell at a time, the rest in storage). They can access that every month to swap out as they wish.
Also, he will be moving them to a different pod with lower security level guys (less tumultuous) very soon and there they will be able to access the kiosk (more ability to direct their own emails). He has asked them to take him at his word on this. So it's a victory!  Spread the word!"

On Sunday, before the strike was resolved, Keith sent this message of gratitude to everyone who called in and otherwise supported him during this protest:
"Hello Everybody:

Let me first take a moment to thank you all for calling and writing in; my heart is bursting with joy and determination, trust. I'm approaching the first full week of the strike, and it appears that things are due to get worse before they get better. Such is the nature of things. These people have no real notion of what it means to be human. And they're supposed to be "rehabilitating" me! They're the ones who need to be introduced to the fact that you cannot dehumanize someone without dehumanizing yourself in the process. When they finally learn that, maybe this world can elevate itself to a higher level of being. Be that as it may I am forever indebted to you all for the outpouring of support. It means so much, and I hope I can count on those of you who are able to attend the upcoming rally that is tentatively planned for next week. [note: with the resolution today, the rally is no longer needed] I think it's time we shed some much-needed light on this factory of human suffering and brutality. It's time to close this place down! They did it in California; we can do it here in Ohio. Human beings should not be made to suffer just so a handful of other equally poor people can feed and clothe their families. It's modern-day cannibalism!"

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Man in Solitary Goes on Hunger Strike After Ohio Prison Limits Access to Books, Music


Friday, 13 November 2015 00:00 By Jack Shuler, Truthout | Report
(Photo: Old Books via Shutterstock; Edited: LW / TO)(Photo: Old Books via Shutterstock; Edited: LW / TO)

Keith LaMar is being held in solitary confinement at the Ohio State Penitentiary (OSP) in Youngstown, a supermax prison. LaMar has been in solitary for over 22 years. For 19 of those years, he was not allowed to touch his visitors, including his friends and family.
Since November 9, LaMar has been on a hunger strike - along with fellow prisoner Jason Robb who joined him on the second day - because a new warden has decided to limit his access to music and books. Specifically, he will only be able to keep 15 books and CDs in his cell.
LaMar says this may seem like "petty stuff to people who don't know about solitary," but that the ability to read books and listen to music keeps him alive. Currently, he has amassed over 100 CDs and 30-plus books. Because the prison considers him a security risk, he has been denied access to JPay Players, digital devices that hold thousands of songs and offer limited email access.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Hunger Strike Update: Jason Robb Joins Strike and New Ways to Support

For the past 4 days, Keith LaMar has been on hunger strike, protesting cruel restrictions that are arbitrarily being put in place by the new warden, Chris LaRose, at Ohio State Penitentiary. Keith was joined yesterday on hunger strike by fellow death row inmate, Jason Robb. 

What are their exact demands?
1. To allow the 5A long-termers (Keith LaMar, S.A. Hasan, Jason Robb and James Were) to keep all their books—consistently with other death row inmates in Ohio—tools which are crucial to their surviving the rigors of solitary confinement.
Why? The new warden told the men that they would need to limit their books to 15. He told one caller today that they could rotate books for variety (send one out/ order a new one). This places an unnecessary financial burden on the men and their families. The warden’s rationale is that having too much property makes searching their cells too time-consuming.

2. To allow the 5A long-termers to keep their music, which is a necessary channel by which they cope with the 22.25 hours they are kept in solitary (sensory deprivation) every day.
Why? Music is one of the only ways the men are able to block out some of the constant banging, kicking and screaming.

Interview with Unicorn Riot.

Amy did a live interview with Unicorn Riot about Bomani's current situation.

Petition in Support of Keith's Hunger Strike

Please sign and share!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Support Keith LaMar's Hunger Strike

Keith LaMar is on hunger strike protesting conditions at OSP. Find full details of his demands here.

Things you can do to support the hunger strike.

1. Contact OSP Warden Christopher LaRose and his boss, The North East Regional Director Todd Ishee.

Script: "Hello, My name is _____. I am calling in support of Keith LaMar's hunger strike. Please meet with Keith and meet his very reasonable demands. It is unjust and inhumane to take away Keith's property like this, please do not do it."

Contact info:
Christopher LaRose
Phone: (330) 743-0700 ext 2006 *note: the warden's office is closed for the 11/11 holiday, and the extension doesn't accept voicemails.
Fax: (330) 743-0841

Todd Ishee
Phone: 330-797-6398
Fax: 330-744-3512

2. Write to Keith. Letters of support not only lift Keith's spirits at this time, they are also a tangible way to demonstrate to OSP staff how much support he has.

Keith LaMar

Monday, November 9, 2015

Keith LaMar on Hungerstrike Protesting Conditions at OSP

This morning, Keith LaMar began a hunger strike in protest to the newly announced, completely unreasonable, and terribly cruel restrictions being placed on just the level 5A inmates (him and the 3 others on death row) at OSP.

Please call Warden Christopher LaRose at OSP (330) 743-0700 and request that he meet Keith LaMar's demands regarding property allowances and access to life enriching materials.

In a nutshell, these four were told they will have to surrender their books with CDs in excess of 15. They are the ONLY prisoners held at the Supermax who have been told they'll stay there forever, all because of the State of Ohio's vendetta--there is NO END in sight to their suffering. They will NEVER be moved to Ohio's "real death row" in Chillicothe, and they will NEVER get their "level" lowered from 5A to one where they'd be afforded the same privileges as other inmates at OSP, such as the use of a handheld JP4 player (which would at least serve as a substitute for their music). It's not bad enough they've been sentenced to death--but then to force them to linger without the mental escape that music and literature provide them, too?! That is not something Keith is willing to accept without a fight.

Here is a letter he posted today to Mr. Todd Ishee, the NE Regional Director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections. He asked it be shared with you so you will understand his demands and present concerns:

Fundraiser for Keith LaMar

Now there is an easy no-fees way to donate to our efforts to get a lawyer for Keith LaMar, please give and share.

The State of Ohio is trying to kill our friend.

Keith LaMar is unjustly on death row and he is running out of time. His court-appointed lawyers failed to represent him adequately, and he recently lost his last federal circuit court appeal. If we do not replace them with lawyers who will really fight for him before January, the State of Ohio will give him an execution date, and then kill him.

This fund-raiser will generate enough money to pay the retainer on a lawyer and get them started. If we do not find a lawyer, or reach the goal, all money pledged will be returned to the donors.

In Defense of Keith LaMar

by Ben Turk

The state of Ohio is trying to kill my friend. On October 21st, Keith LaMar, who I know as Bomani Shakur, lost his final appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. He's got ninety days from the 21st to convince The US Supreme Court that his case should be part of the one percent of cases they will hear. After that, the State of Ohio is free to give him an execution date. While few of us are optimistic about finding justice within the US Prison System, Bomani's friends and family were actually struck by the Circuit Court's rejection of Bomani's appeal.

Many of us went to the courthouse last December to hear attorneys argue his case, and the spectacle was absurd1. The man pursuing Bomani's death, State's Attorney Stephen E Maher, spent most of his time arguing a technicality about the timing in which Bomani's state-appointed attorneys filed paperwork. He was trying to claim that the lawyers should have anticipated coming shifts in precedent and adapted their actions. We packed the courthouse, overflowed it, and this man stood in front of us, a hundred outraged and terrified people, and said he should get to kill our loved one because Bomani's lawyers (who were appointed by the state) didn't predict the future.