Free the Pendleton 2: A rally for justice!

Friday, April 12
6:30 pm
Monument Circle

Get ready for a week of action to free the Pendleton 2, two political prisoners who were sentenced to over 200 years in prison for intervening to save a fellow inmate’s life by stopping his attempted murder by jail guards who belonged to a white supremacist organization!

The week starts off this Saturday, April 6, with an activist workshop to prepare placards and protest signs at the Liberation Center. Then, on Wednesday, April 10, pull up for a film screening of “The Pendleton 2: They stood up” at the Madam Walker Theater that features a discussion with the documentary makers TOO BLACK and THEKINGTRILL.

Two days later, on Friday, April 12, put your knowledge and preparation into action with a rally to free the Pendleton 2 on Monument Circle!

Who are the Pendleton 2?

On February 1, 1985, jail guards affiliated with the “Sons of Light,” a Ku Klux Klan splinter-group, started a prison rebellion at the Pendleton Correctional Facility (which was then called the Indiana State Reformatory) by attempting to murder a prisoner. Their target was Lokmar Abdul Wadood Yazidi (or Lincoln Love), a jailhouse lawyer who helped other inmates with legal proceedings and was organizing for basic sanitary conditions. The guards entered his cell, handcuffed him, and beat him even after he was unconscious.

John “Balagoon” Cole and Christopher “Naeem” Trotter went with other prisoners to the Captain’s office to stop the vicious attack. They, in turn, were attacked with bully clubs. Knowing the guards intended to kill their fellow inmate, Cole, Trotter, and others were forced to take several guards hostage. After a standoff that lasted almost a day, they negotiated a peaceful settlement, saving the life of an innocent man. Despite the fact that inmates successfully achieved a peaceful outcome to a violent outburst by prison guards, it was the former who were charged and convicted. Cole was sentenced to 84 years and Trotter to 142 years.

During the 1987 trial, Michael Richardson, one of the guards whom Cole stabbed in the incident, testified under oath that this wasn’t the first time the guards beat and tortured Lokmar or other prisoners. “Every beating that I’ve seen on any inmate in there has been totally uncalled for,” he stated. When questioned whether any guards belonged to racist organizations, Richardson replied:

“Sons of Light… It’s a group of Lieutenants, Captains, Sergeants that belong to this that use the KKK literature and the same type of rituals. They are a splinter group. They’re not affiliated, they don’t pay dues. It’s developed solely for the institution.”

The name has lineages in the Klan. In an early study of the racist terror organization, A story of the original Ku Klux Klan, notes “that members of the Klan occasionally referred to themselves as the ‘sons of light'” [1].

Richardson’s damning testimony, however, was never used as a basis for further investigation and the guards faced no consequences. In reality, Cole and Trotter are heroes and the guards are the real criminals.

Free the Pendleton 2! Learn more and get involved at the Pendleton 2 Defense Committee!


[1] William Bethel Romine and Mrs. William Bethel Romine, A Story of the Original Ku Klux Klan (Pulaski, TN: The Pulaski Citizen, 1934), 3.