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Sunday, July 25 @ 1:45 pm
MLK Center Green Space (Corner of 40th and Illinois)
The Indianapolis Liberation Center encourages its members and supporters to attend this important event organized by IDOC Watch
IDOC Watch and the family of Leon Benson invite you to join us at the Free Leon Benson! Clemency & Compassionate Release Now! Rally on Sunday, July 25 at 1:45pm at Tarkington Park in Indianapolis. This is the first public demonstration in the Freedom Now! Campaign for Mass Release, a larger campaign for decarceration that IDOC Watch is organizing.
This rally will be focused on the lack of Clemency in Indiana in general, and specifically on three cases of people who have submitted Clemency petitions to the Governor’s office: Leon Benson, Christopher Trotter, and Aaron Isby-Israel.
- Leon Benson has been incarcerated for 23 years for a murder that was actually committed by an IMPD informant. Learn more about his case at freeleonbenson.org. His family will be speaking on his behalf at this rally. Leon and his family called for this rally.
- Christopher Trotter, from Indianapolis, has been in prison for nearly 40 years due to his role in the 1985 rebellion against white supremacist guard brutality at Pendleton CF, for which he received a 129 year sentence in 2019 after winning a retrial to challenge his original conviction of 142 years in 1987. Learn about the 1985 uprising here. Mr. Trotter’s brother will speak on his behalf at the rally.
- Aaron Isby-Israel is serving two sentences for attempted murder as a result of being wrongfully thrown in solitary confinement in 1990 at Pendleton CF and then attacked in his cell by a cell extraction squad using mace, firehoses and dogs. In that altercation, a guard and a dog were injured, and Mr. Isby-Israel was charged with and convicted of attempted murder by a biased court in Anderson, IN. For the next 28 consecutive years he was held in solitary confinement, until winning a civil rights lawsuit in 2018 in which a federal judge ruled that the Indiana Department of Correction had violated his Constitutional due process rights by holding him in solitary confinement indefinitely. Mr. Isby-Israel was also a leader of the 1991 mass hunger strike at the Maximum Control Complex. Hopefully the guard who originally lied on Mr. Isby-Israel and got him wrongfully thrown in solitary confinement in 1990, and has since recanted and provided an affidavit in support of Mr. Isby-Israel’s petition will be there to speak on his behalf.
Clemency is a process by which people can be released from prison by executive order, either as a pardon or commutation of sentence. Clemency is granted at the discretion of the governor, but generally it is granted to people who have rehabilitated themselves, are very old or sick, or are incarcerated under laws that are no longer in place or considered just. In the recent past, Indiana Governors have granted many Clemency petitions: for example, Mitch Daniels pardoned 62 people during his 8 years in office. By contrast, Mike Pence and Eric Holcomb together have only issued 10 pardons in their combined 13 years in office.
We hope you’ll join us and the families of these freedom fighters in calling for their release and a general increase in Clemency petitions being granted!