FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday October 25, 2007
Incarcerated Six Nations Man Threatened by Institutional Staff
by Janie Jamieson
Skylar Williams, a Mohawk Wolf from Six Nations has been held without bail at the Hamilton Barton St. Jail since the illegal arrests at Stirling Street September 19, 2007. Today we held a rally for him outside the jail where he has been in the “hole” for two days.
We have reason to believe if Skyler is harmed in anyway, we know he is the target of planned and deliberate threats and violence by jail institution staff members.
A few days ago Skylar woke up to find the plumbing in his cell on range 5 was backed up. He notified institution staff on his range. He was accused by staff of backing up the plumbing. The mess was left. Skylar asked for a drink of water, he was told by staff to drink from the toilet. Skylar responded, “there’s sh*t” in there. The institution staff’s paid professional advise to Skylar was to “take the sh*t out and then have a drink.” Skylar refused and notified his lawyer of the situation. At this point Skyler was without clean water for approximately 18 hours.
Skyler’s lawyer then notified another institutional staff member with a higher ranking position. The plumbing was fixed. Skyler left his cell but at lockdown upon his return, Skyler discovered the plumbing was mysteriously backed up again. The higher ranking institutional staff attempted to solve the problem by moving Skyler to another cell.
After this incident Skyler was approached by an institutional staff member and taken to a room with two other staff. At this point Skyler was told by the one of the staff that that particular staff member referred to himself as being “GOD” at Barton St. Jail. He then threatened Skyler by telling him if he and his lawyer didn’t stop causing sh*$ for him, he was going to “fu*$” Skyler up. He also said he would have it arranged so Skyler’s lawyer would have no access to him.
This staff member went on to inform Skyler of his plan to “fu*$” him up. (There were 2 other staff present when this threat occurred.) According to the staff member Skyler’s fate is supposed to happen in three steps…
1. Skyler would be given a “misconduct” by the institutional staff.
2. Skyler would then be sent to the “hole” for 3 days.
3. After Skyler was done in the “hole” he would immediately be sent to the range 3 of the jail.
Range 3 is where the men who are waiting to be tried for rape, murder and other serious crimes are held. Some of these men have already been convicted of such crimes and are waiting to be shipped off to federal institutions.
This is where men who have nothing left to lose are sent. In this range the inmates do special favours for the institutional staff for as little as an extra meal or coffee. It’s a place where you simply do not “rat” on the institutional staff. Inmates are pitted against one another. It’s also a place where Skyler was told, there are men as big as 321 pounds that could really “fu*$” him up. (The jail staff asked Skyler how much he weighed just to verify Skyler would be quite smaller and at greater risk of being injured if sent to Range 3.)
Skyler was also told by the institutional staff the last guy they had “fu*$ed” up had to crawl to the jail cell door covered in blood. Skyler was told there were men in Range 3 “waiting” for his arrival. Skyler was advised by this paid government employee to “quit his bitc*ing” and “to take his lumps.”
Skyler’s lawyer spoke with the high ranking institutional staff and was told by him the only thing he could do to guarantee Skyler’s safety was to put him in isolation where he would be under 24 hour video surveillance, however Skyler would have to give up the staff members’ names who were threatening him.
Skyler’s lawyer has already filed a motion for “habeus corpus” to have Skyler physically present in court tomorrow for his bail review.
Skyler’s cell mate contacted his family this morning and informed them in the last 24 hours Skyler has been given a “MISCONDUCT” by staff and has been placed in “the hole” for 3 days.
The instituional staff member has kept his promise to threaten Skyler’s life and safety. This staff member’s plan is gone passed the first two stages.
Something needs to be done immediately to guarantee Skyler’s safety and security. If there is interference in Skylers safety and security or if his life is put at risk we believe it would be the direct result of mistreatment at the discretion of institutional staff. We believe they are abusing their authority to ensure Skyler’s life and well being is put at risk. We believe their attempts at intimidating Skyler are deliberate and being somewhat overlooked by senior institutional staff.
Let’s hope Skyler will gets out of Barton St. Jail safely with his life. His bail review is at the Cayuga Courthouse tomorrow at 9:00am.
Please forward immediately.
Accused native says he won’t submit to court
The Hamilton Spectator
CAYUGA (Oct 18, 2007)
A native activist arrested at a Caledonia building site last month has challenged the court’s authority to try him on criminal charges, including counts of mischief, assault police and robbery.
Skyler Williams, 24, is among a number of Six Nations Haudenosaunee people currently before the courts who believe Canadian criminal law doesn’t apply to them because they belong to a sovereign nation with its own laws and customs.
Irwin Ronald Gibson, 38, who faces robbery and assault charges in connection with an attack on two television cameramen, is the only person so far, however, to file a formal constitutional challenge. His case is still in the early stages but could affect other persons like Williams.
Wearing handcuffs and speaking from the prisoner’s box, Williams signalled his intentions in a prepared statement yesterday.
“The authority of the court to exercise jurisdiction over any Haudenosaunee person or Haudenosaunee land is currently being challenged with the governments of Ontario and Canada,” he stated.
While expressing respect for Canadian law, he stressed he wasn’t submitting to the jurisdiction of the court.
“I want to be clear,” he told the justice of the peace, “nothing that I may say or do … should be taken to mean I’m submitting to the jurisdiction of the Canadian courts.
“The respect, the courtesy and trustworthiness I offer to this court stems from my duty under my law to be honest and uphold the treaties (between Canada and his traditional government).”
Williams was one of nine persons arrested and charged when a heavily armed police tactical team removed a pocket of protesters from the Stirling Woods building site on Sept. 19.
He was charged with assaulting police to resist arrest and mischief in connection with the Stirling Woods raid. He also faces separate counts of robbery and assault in connection with an attack on two television cameramen in the Canadian Tire parking lot in Caledonia on June 9, 2006. He has been denied bail on these charges and was in Cayuga court for a routine appearance yesterday.
The eight other protesters charged at Stirling Woods were all granted bail and were in the courtroom when he read his statement. They applauded when Williams finished. Two young women were wearing traditional buckskin garb and carrying a large wooden sign that read “Prisoner of War.”
Williams and the other eight accused were all ordered to return to court on Nov. 7.
The others are:
Ronald Cook, 31, of Akwasasne, N.Y., charged with mischief and possession of a prohibited weapon.
Sheranne MacNaughton, 24, of Hagersville; and Teresa Jamieson, 41, of Ohsweken, both charged with mischief and assaulting police to resist arrest.
Francine Doxtator, 47, no fixed address; Stephen Powless, 42, of Ohsweken; Gregory Powless, 18, of Ohsweken; and June Jamieson-Maracle, of Ohsweken, all charged with mischief.
A 16-year-old girl was also charged with mischief but can’t be identified because she’s a young offender.
Last week, Toronto lawyer Stephen Ford — who represents Gibson in his constitutional challenge — tried to convince Superior Court Justice Alan Whitten to stop his client’s case from going to a preliminary hearing.
He argued that Ontario court justices, who normally preside over preliminary hearings, don’t have the jurisdiction to hear constitutional challenges. He submitted that a separate hearing should be held solely to thrash out issues such as sovereignty and jurisdiction.
In a written decision, Whitten has since ruled that he can raise the constitutional challenge during the preliminary hearing. Gibson was also ordered to return to court on Nov. 7.
Williams, who has been in custody since Sept. 19, will come up for an automatic bail review on Oct. 26.