Today will be six months since the U.S. Capitol building was breached following a rally supporting then-President Donald J. Trump. Since that event, which has been labeled everything from an insurrection to domestic terrorism, more than 50 U.S. citizens have been denied a bail hearing and are being held in a D.C. jail.
In what has the distinct odor of political incarceration, these Americans are living a nightmare.
Deplorable Conditions for the ‘Deplorables’
Speaking out on The Nation Speaks – The Epoch Times’ online news program – two lawyers for the accused and one father described deplorable conditions that can only be termed as reminiscent of a Third World country. Having to filter black water through a sock to make it drinkable, being forced into solitary confinement for 23 hours a day, access to legal counsel restricted – these are but a few of the conditions experienced by these prisoners.
Then there’s ”the hole” – solitary confinement – where detainees are sent if a relative dares to talk to the media about what is happening inside the lockup. “Anything that they do, or if anybody speaks up on their behalf, all of a sudden, they get targeted even further and then get put into a dangerous, unsanitary condition,” according to defense attorney Steven Metcalf II.
John Pierce, who represents several accused, said the prisoners are being held under the 1984 Bail Reform Act, which permits pre-trial detention if the judge thinks the accused are “a threat to the community or a flight risk.” Metcalf added that “being released on pre-trial bond is the norm” and insisted the Bail Reform Act has been “expanded and reinterpreted” for such a time as this.
“I think what a lot of Americans are seeing is a dual system of justice whereby the rioters who were burning down Kenosha and Minneapolis and Portland and Los Angeles simply are not receiving the same treatment, not facing the same charges,” Pierce opined.
Profoundly disturbing information came from the father of Jake Lang, who is being held in “the hole”:
“He [Jake] has no access to when Steve [his attorney] goes down and talks to him … he has no access to a private interview with an attorney. It’s like you’re in a Third World country; it’s unbelievable. From what he’s telling me and what I’m hearing, it’s solitary confinement 23 hours and one hour out a day. It’s horrible.”
One detainee has cancer and, in the six months since his incarceration, “has not been permitted to see an oncologist.” Another was viciously beaten by a corrections officer and sustained “crippling injuries which will last for the rest of his life,” including being blinded in one eye and losing the use of one arm, according to Pierce, who added it is conceivable that one or more of these defendants may die before going to trial.
To punctuate the point, Metcalf said:
“The conditions in the D.C. jail, in particular, are getting to a point of not only being unconstitutional and violating every single basic human right — but they are getting to a point where people have to speak out, and they have to know what’s going on. There is a level of fear that is being instilled throughout all of these inmates.”
Liberty Nation’s Legal Affairs Editor Scott Cosenza discussed the constitutionality or lack thereof regarding the situation:
“It’s scandalous that these people who pose no threat to the public are being detained. The taxpayers are paying to keep them confined; it seems solely to punish those with the wrong political views. Progressives try to burn down the federal courthouse every single night in Portland, and authorities can’t seem to make a single case against anyone. Juxtapose that to a one-time political event whose sole fatality was when an unarmed protester was shot at close range by a Capitol Police officer. Justice demands that they be set free — with tracking devices if required — until they can defend themselves in a trial.”
No matter their political stripe, Americans should be outraged that such a situation is allowed to continue unfettered in the nation’s capital. Will one of those detained have to die in a D.C. jail before people stand up and take notice? Where is the right to a speedy trial? Where is the notion that one is innocent until proven guilty? Perhaps it is time to heed the words of James Madison: “The purpose of the Constitution is to restrict the majority’s ability to harm a minority.”
Read more from Leesa K. Donner.