Trey Gowdy, a Racist Kidnapper                Demands the "Truth" on Benghazi, While       Concealing His Own Criminal Past 

     Trey Gowdy, the Tea Party congressman for the Fourth Congressional District of South Carolina, has risen in the ranks of the Conservative camp on Capital Hill. Gowdy will chair yet another committee to look into what happened in Benghazi, where Ambassador Christopher Stevens and others were killed by their Al Queda alleys in Libya. However, Gowdy has some crimes of his own to answer for, over a decade worth of them, numbering in the thousands of black and poor people he maliciously prosecuted and wrongfully imprisoned. I know, because I was one of them, only he did not maliciously prosecute me, he simply kidnapped and help hold me for nearly a year in South Carolina and Georgia. 

     I first encountered Trey Gowdy over the phone in 2001, this was shortly after he was elected prosecutor for Cherokee and Spartanburg counties. I had called his office, the purpose of which was to find out what had happened to the prosecution of charges filed against me in March 2000, for which I was made to pay over $3,000 cash to bet out an illegal detention. I had been stalked and illegally stopped on the interstate after I stopped to get gas in Spartanburg, I was traveling from Atlanta to DC, it was 4 in the morning. A white highway patrol officer followed me from the station and pulled me over a few miles away, seized me without any explanation, searched my car, had it towed away, and took me into Gaffney to the Cherokee County Regional jail/prison. Once there, in short order for entertainment purposes, I was strapped into a torture restraint chair, a hood placed over my head, and left for over an hour.

     By verbally getting into their heads, I managed to get the jailers to roll me out of their sight, into a cell, so that I might try to free myself from the device. I was able to free only my torso, the bottom of my legs were held tight to the chair by straps, and my ankles were double-cuffed to the metal-base. So, I rocked the device until I tumbled over, at which point all I could do was to use my legs to sling that thing against the wall as hard as I could. The jailers, six of them, ran in and pounced on my back, my hands were still cuffed behind me and my legs were still strapped and chained to the chair. Three of them sat on me, with one putting me in a choke hold. Pepper spray was shot up under the hood directly in my eyes and face, then I was dragged by still cuffed ankles to another cell and left laying in the middle of the floor with the hood on.  

   William "Bill" Blanton, the sheriff of Cherokee County, said to have close connection with redneck "hillbilly" meth producers in the region, he himself being a "hillbilly." Blanton was notoriously racist in the way he ran the sheriff's department and the jail, routinely arresting blacks in mass, then holding them in jail indefinitely without ever seeing a judge, without counsel, with the only way out being to plead guilty.                                                         

      I needed the jailers to either pull the hood off or go away so that I could do it, so I slowed my breathing down, giving the appearance that I was dying. The hood had gone from being damp to being soaked from my own tears and sweat, if I did not get off soon, I would suffocate. When it appeared that indeed I was suffocating, the jailers closed the cell door and walked away, at which point I rolled and got my hands to the front of my body and whipped that hood off. I then felt around in the darkness for the sink, and began running cold water over my burning face and eyes. Hours later the deputy sheriff opened the cell and was not happy to see me standing in the doorway, he then refused me medical attention or to call anyone. It was not until late the next night that I convinced a young jailer to let me make a call, up to that point no one knows where I am. Once people started calling the jail about me, charges were created and we were required to post over $3,000 cash for my release.

    When I got Gowdy on the phone in March 2001, he immediately demanded that I return to Gaffney that instant, simply because he commanded me to, which I told him was absolutely absurd. Gowdy began to angrily scream that I had better get there, or he would get a warrant for my arrest, which I told him to go right ahead and do. I told Gowdy that I would not be coming anywhere unless ordered to do so by a court of law, making an arrest warrant unnecessary and illegal. I remained calm the entire time, never screaming back at Gowdy, which infuriated him even more and he hung up the phone. Trey took one other call from me after that, where he again acted like a racist idiot bully, again screaming that he was going to get a warrant for my arrest if I did do as he commanded. To be honest, I was pushing Trey's buttons in hopes of forcing him to take some sort of action on what had happened, and he seemed to be the one suppressing it all, shielding the culprits.

      In June, Trey Gowdy mailed to me a copy of a motion he supposedly was letting me know that he planned to file, wherein he would illegally go after the assets of my main local contact, Rudolph Coleman, in my name. Coleman was the only black bail-bondsman in the region and the white power structure intended to put him out of business. Although I knew that there was no legal basis for it, I also knew that in rural areas like Gaffney, anything goes with the local white power when it comes to dealing with black people. Essentially, Gowdy was claiming that I had failed to appear, but never says what for, in what court, when, or anything else. No order had been issued rescinding my "bond" since no process was issued to prosecute the charges, so it was clear to me that Gowdy was planning some vindictive evil. . It would not surprise me if some illegal proceeding was held. I could see that Gowdy wanted either me or Rudolph, but I wanted Gowdy and the rest, so I showed up on the day Gowdy implied that he would make his move, no court had ordered me to appear anywhere.

    I wrote Gowdy a letter setting forth essentially what I stated above, and warned him against trying to illegally seize me, just for the record. At the time, I was caring for my mother,Mary P. Joy, who had just begun chemo for a spot on her lung. I left her in the care of my manic depressed sister, with a promise to return in a few days. I would never see my mother or sister again.  On July 23rd, 2001, as I walked into the Cherokee County courthouse, Gowdy had lookouts posted and as I walked down a corridor towards a courtroom, he exits out of side door with a small army of deputies. Gowdy orders them to seize and chain me, then to take me to the jail, where I was once again subjected to that torture chair, then taken to a cell in the maximum-security isolation wing.      


     The first week that I was back in the jail, I was allowed two phone calls,  each concerned the state of my mother, all of my calls were closely monitored. There after, Trey Gowdy and Bill Blanton knew that the situation was causing my mother to stress, by the third week the cancer began to spread. At that point I told them I would plead guilty and was almost immediately taken before judge Gary Clarey, my plan was to plead guilty so that I could get back to my mother and my life. I would attack the matter on the back end, Trey had already kidnapped and held me, that was a fact. I plead guilty to a misdemeanor assault, where they could not explain the "quick move," so they said that I gnashed my teeth and gave me time served. However, instead of releasing me, they simply took me back to the cell, closed the door, and did not say anything to me until the next day, when a jailer named Kenny Brown came to me with a waiver of extradition form. Brown told me that I was being held as a "fugitive" from Florida and that I needed to sign the waiver, or otherwise remain their captive until I did; that was September 5th, 2001, week six of my captivity.

    My mother was given the impression and hope that I would be returning, but when that did not happen, her condition took a more dramatic turn for the worse by the seventh week, the cancer spread to her brain. Trey Gowdy and Bill Blanton both knew that they had caused this to happen, knew that my mother's condition had gone to terminal as they continued listening in on every call. On September 15th, my mother passed, but still Trey Gowdy and Bill Blanton refused to end their illegal hold on me, and to abandon their plan to somehow illegally take me into Georgia. I was not allowed to tend to my mother's funeral and burial, everything I had was evaporating each day I was disappeared. For a while in mid-October they refused to allow me to receive or make any phone calls, and when they did around October 21st, the call I received informed me that my manic sister had committed suicide a week before on October 15th.

     I was not presented with any warrant from any court in Georgia, no charge, and no court proceeding, the same as I had treated in South Carolina. However, because I had filed to the federal court for habeas corpus, called and even tricked the FBI into coming to the jail, complained to the U.S. Attorney, and the state attorney general, they were not sure how to carry out their plot. The FBI and U.S. Attorney had signed on almost from the very beginning, but it was Terry Wooten, then a federal magistrate who was just confirmed by Patrick Leahy and the Senate Judiciary Committee as an Article III judge, who gave the green light. Wooten first sat on my petition for over a month, then without issuing any process, submitted a "report and recommendation" that the petition be denied on the basis that I was being held as a "fugitive from Georgia."

     On petitions for habeas corpus alleging illegal detention there is no magistrate, no "report and recommendation," that is the process for persons attacking state court convictions. Wooten issued no process on my petition, so even if he had applied the proper process, he could not submit a report or make recommendations without any one from the state explaining the detention. It then was clear that Wooten had conversed with Gowdy over the phone or by some other means other than by way of judicial process, or had engaged in extrajudicial communications. When I complained to federal judge Patrick Duffy, to whom the matter was assigned, he did not respond until late January 2002, by which time I had been in Georgia for nearly two-months. And indeed, Duffy admitted in his order that Wooten had acted inappropriately, but claimed that it did not matter since I was no longer in South Carolina. The fact that I was being, and had been, illegally taken across state lines and was being illegally held meant nothing to Duffy. Wooten's misconduct was never reported by Duffy and when I complained to the chief judge of the Fourth Circuit, he immediately rejected it without explanation.

     In March 2001, Gowdy and Blanton led a "drug task force" sweep of the poor black community of Gaffney and Cherokee County, arresting over 45 people in a dramatic early morning raid. Nearly everyone of those people were still in the jail when Trey Gowdy kidnapped me in July, none of them had seen a judge, and none of them had counsel. Every other week jailers would bring around what they called a "guilty plea list," with the warning that failure to sign meant longer detention. I learned that not one of the dozen or so people that I talked to, who had been picked up in that sweep, had any evidence against them that they sold any drugs. In case after case the only evidence Gowdy and Blanton had was some detective claiming that each person sold him drugs at some time over the year. 

    Gowdy and his assistants essentially arraigned each prisoner, showing them meaningless pictures of them standing on their porch, walking down the street, telling them that it was "evidence" and that it would be their word against the detectives. I cannot say that I know what happened to any of those people, but the outcome in this practice has already been found in Hearn and Tulia, Texas, and held illegal. In Tulia, the one most noted for the round up of about 38 people, was eclipsed by Gowdy and Blanton with at least seven more people. Those people were held in a severely overcrowded jail, where the staff was entirely white, save for one black, abusive and thoroughly racist. The judges down there allowed Trey Gowdy to call the shots when it came to convicting black people, and anything was legit. 

cook county

     I was turned over the sheriff and prosecutor in Cook County, Georgia, Charles Bryant and Robert "Bob" Ellis, who operated their district in the same racist criminal manner as Trey Gowdy and the white officials in South Carolina ran their district. I encountered the people in Georgia just 45-days before encountering those in South Carolina. Just as occurred in South Carolina, I was stalked, illegally stopped, illegally seized, taken to jail, made to for over $600, and everything then evaporated. Bob Ellis never made any effort prosecute on a single charge made, even though none of the charges were dismissed, they were just used to extort cash under the pretext of  being a "bond." In Georgia the most serious charge was that I had committed felony obstruction by supposedly telling the passenger in my car, who was not a suspect in any crime, of her First amendment right or for telling her that she did not have to talk to police. The pretext of the stop was to issue me a speeding ticket, but after the ticket was issued the two Cook County sheriff deputies kept looking for some excuse to seize me and finally settled on "obstruction."

     I was not tortured in Cook County, I was in the jail approximately 32-hours the first time, where I spoke to over a dozen prisoners and recorded their stories. I found that in Cook County, as I would find going on in South Carolina as well, black people were being illegally seized on frivolous and manufactured charges, as was done with me. They would then be held in jail for months on end without ever seeing a judge and without counsel, with only out being to plead guilty. In Cook County, one attorney who never spoke with a single client, never came to see a single client, never appeared in court with a single client, and had never been seen by a single client was the attorney for all 100 black prisoners held in the jail, which held 105 prisoners. The person in the jail who had been held in that manner the least amount of time had been there four months, with the person held there the longest in that manner having been there for over a year. Some of the people the sheriff leased out to local businesses, while at the same employed his "trusties" as dealers of seized drugs to the local black population.           

     At the time that I initially encountered both of these racist locals, I was working as the coordinator for the African American Environmental Justice Action Network, the pet project of the Southern Organizing Committee, so I actually worked for civil rights greats like Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth and Ann Braden. I used them to get the attention of the DOJ on these situations, even though it never addressed the more serious issue of the illegal seizures, false imprisonments, and illegal indefinite detentions. Still, the Clinton DOJ did begin to make inquiries, but was soon replaced by the Bush DOJ. One complaint that I made to the DOJ and members of Congress, concerned Jeb Bush, and we called on the criminal prosecution of him and other Florida officials for the violent crushing of black voters in Gadsden County in 1998. I was still pressing the casein 2001, in fact, appearing at the confirmation hearing of John Ashcroft with copies of the report and calling on Ashcroft to make it his first civil rights case. This is perhaps why Trey Gowdy took such an interest in getting me out of D.C. and was so emboldened as to engage in kidnap and interstate kidnap, I could get no protection from any where in the federal government.

    Once they had me back in Georgia, I was moved from jail to jail for the first three-months, this was because Charles Bryant did not want me back in jail, I filed a petition for the writ of habeas corpus on behalf a dozen guys I found there the first time. This, along with my complaining to the DOJ really angered those people. However, after a sheriff would agree to hold me in his jail for Bryant, he was soon telling Bryant to come get me, because I would start talking with prisoners in those jails about their rights. Soon, Charlie Bryant had no other jail in which to hold me but his own, where I was held for another four-months before being released after agreeing to plead guilty some frivolous misdemeanor. I was held in Georgia seven-months. 

    Trey Gowdy, along with Bill Blanton and the local judiciary were upset and concerned about my having DOJ attention brought to the sheriffs department and the jail, and then began using the bogus prosecution to expose the racist practices of the prosecutors and judges. I came across a similar situation just 45-days earlier while traveling through Cook County, Georgia, in almost the same exact manner as I came across the one in Cherokee County. I reported virtually the same identical practices of illegally seizing, indefinitely detaining, and falsely imprisoning black people. My having called on the DOJ and members of Congress for a criminal civil rights investigation of Jeb Bush since 1998, would come into play against me in 2001. to open a criminal case against Jeb Bush for his criminal and violent repression of black voters in majority black Gadsden County who were seeking to end white minority rule of the county. 

    I personally had no pull with the DOJ, but I worked for the Southern Organizing Committee, which meant that I worked for Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth, so it gave us an in to making complaints with the Clinton DOJ. The Clinton DOJ would at least make sure that FBI made some phone calls, asked some questions, which made locals nervous enough to effect some sort of positive change. Our complaint to the DOJ about the Cook County jail forced the county to build a new one, which was not really our goal, we wanted the DOJ to address the mass illegal detentions of black people. However, that outraged the really outraged the sheriff and prosecutor, because I also told the DOJ that the sheriff appeared to be running a major drug distribution operation out of the jail primarily into the black community using "trustees." I learned that there were other illegal operations the sheriff, prosecutor, and a couple of judges were part of, with phat bank accounts for the illegal money. I even learned that they had wife swapping parties, owned some condos in Miami, along with a couple of yachts. 

    I learned that black people were picked up and held in the filthy jail without ever seeing a judge, without counsel, indefinitely until they pled guilty. Connected to all of this other than providing grist for the prison mill, providing long term disenfranchised cash customers to probation companies, and also kept the person subject to re-arrest and further penalties. Like me, over 98% of the 150-200 men in that jail, with 192-195 being black, where not arrested for a real crime. I attempted to file a petition for the writ of habeas corpus on behalf of dozen men, but that was intercepted and foiled by federal judge in Atlanta who was a close friend of the sheriff.  

  Trey Gowdy, Bill Blanton, Gary Clarey, Robert "Bob" Ellis, Charles Bryant, Dane Perkins, and Brooks Blitch did act in concert to illegally seize, hold, detain, and transport me across state lines for the purpose of enslavement for a year. They were aided and abetted in their endeavor by the following state officials in South Carolina and Georgia - Charley Condon, James Hodges, and Roy Barnes. They were also aided and abetted in by the following federal agents or officers, James Lannamann, Scott Schools, Terry Wooten, Patrick Duffy, Sandra Ratley, Hugh Lawson, Richard Hodge, the Thomasville office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Department of Justice. 



The Hayes Compromise Becomes the Holder Compromise: 

Holder DOJ Maintains the Refusal to Investigate and Prosecute "Coon Hunting"

The practice of “coon hunting” goes back to the era of chattel-slavery when bands of armed White men patrolled the southern roads in search of Blacks attempting to escape slavery, they were called the "patti-rollers," today we know them as "police." After being militarily defeated, the Confederates switched to terrorist warfare against strictly civilian targets, Blacks and White liberals. By 1875, the Confederates had completely re-taken control of the southern state governments and were enacting "Black Codes," and the issue for the federal government was whether to accept or reject those governments. The presidential election of 1876 was too close to call between the Republican candidate Rutherford B. Hayes, and the Democratic candidate Samuel Tilden, with Democrats being dominated by White southerners. Rutherford B. Hayes was the first president of the National Prison Association, which today is the American Corrections Association, resigned the position to run as the Republican nominee. With the election being to close to call and the U.S. being unwilling to fight over the illegitimacy of the Confederate's retaking control of the southern governments, a deal was struck that became known as the "Hayes Compromise."

The deal was that the U.S. government would re-admit the Confederate controlled states back into the Union, pull out the remaining federal troops, and not interfere with the way the southerners decided to resolve their "colored problem" as long as they agreed not to attempt secession again. The Confederates agreed, they had already enacted "Black Codes" which essentially re-enslaved Blacks, making them subject to the same abuses they had been subjected to under chattel-slavery. In order to instill fear and compliance, Blacks were routinely lynched, beaten, burned alive, and raped. For the next 80-years the federal government did absolutely nothing to offer Blacks protection of justice, it was not until the rise of its competition with the Soviet Union and the advent of world television broadcasting that America even made a pretense of ending the abuses of the Confederates against Blacks. With the lynching of Mac Charles Parker in 1954, followed by the even more horrendous murder of Emmett Till in 1955, and Black folk beginning to engage in mass action for social justice; the whole world began to see the racist soul of America on the evening news. Only then did the federal government begin to work to change the appearance of Jim Crow. 

The federal government would then put on grand shows of investigating and prosecuting murders for which no one would ever be convicted or desegregating a school, but it really only sought to persuade White southerners to modify the system in order to save it. Eventually, White southerners caught on following examples in the northern and western states, along with financial incentives that came as a result of the "War on Crime" that began in the 1970s and the "War on Drugs" that began in the 1980s. Both were designed, in conjunction with the rise of the prison industry, to be the new solution to the age old "colored problem," which had become one of "Black Power." Southern police and sheriff's departments started receiving all sorts of financial and hardware support from the federal government, resulting in their expansion. The little county jail soon became transformed into a mini-prison, many members of the Klan took off the sheets and started wearing police uniforms and with essentially a bounty being placed on every drug arrest, they had even more of an incentive to lock Black folk up.  

In 2000, ITJ and the Southern Organizing Committee informed the DOJ Civil Rights Division that sheriffs, prosecutors, and judges of the Alapaha Judicial District of Georgia and the Seventh judicial District of South Carolina were falsely arresting, illegally and indefinitely detaining, and wrongfully imprisoning Black people living in or even passing through the areas. As lead advocate in trying to prompt a federal investigations, Kwasi Seitu was targeted by the officials in those districts for kidnap and in July 2001, Trey Gowdy lured back Seitu to South Carolina under the threat of maliciously attacking local contacts. When Seitu arrived in Gaffney, Trey Gowdy seized him, there was no warrants, no actual pending charges, nothing other than the naked violation of the law. During the course of this crime, Seitu made a point of drawing in the federal government by informing the U.S. Attorneys in both states, who instructed the FBI to investigate, but when told that the FBI was refusing to act against their “friends,” the U.S. Attorneys did nothing. Seitu also drew in the federal judiciary by filing for the writ of habeas corpus and helping more than two-dozen other persons illegally held to do the same. Each application was summarily denied, after the federal judges called the local officials so that they could take retaliatory action against each person. 

Top officials at the DOJ and FBI promised to conduct internal investigations into the failures and refusals of their personnel, but have failed and refuse to do so. While at the same time no action has been taken to arrest the practices reported going on in South Carolina and Georgia. Congressman John Conyers has finally agreed to sit down with ITJ to discuss these matters, including calling for a House Ethics probe into the past conduct of Trey Gowdy. The ethics probe would be in conjunction with a long-standing demand for congressional oversight hearings into the criminal collusion of the federal judges that were involved, along with the failures and refusals of the DOJ and FBI to enforce the law. The Holder DOJ has made promises to respond, but has refused to do so, this coming from the office of Tom Perez, the Deputy Attorney General for Civil Rights. Although his office claimed to have referred the matter to the criminal division, that division did nothing and referred it to another division, with no division ever having made any contact with Seitu or any other victim of “Coon Hunting.” 

ITJ Shoots for Congressional Ethics Probe of Trey Gowdy                                                                                                                                                                         

  Last fall Tea Party Republican Harold "Trey" Gowdy (pictured), glided to an  easy win to become the new congressman for the 4th Congressional District of South Carolina. Gowdy defeated incumbent and fellow Republican redneck Bob Inglis for the Republican nomination, and had no serious competition in the general election from candidates representing the Democratic, Green, and Libertarian parties. However, one factor that truly helps Gowdy and every other Republican candidate skate to electoral victories in South Carolina, is the ongoing scheme of "Coon Hunting" that results in the massive disenfranchisement of blacks as voters through illegal detentions and malicious prosecutions.

"Coon hunting" is a racist euphemism for the long-time practice of slave-catching, where back during the era of chattel slavery bands of armed white men would patrol the roads in order to prevents escapes and guard against revolts. After chattel-slavery those bands of white men put on sheets and patrolled the roads to keep black people in "their place," which meant no longer remaining subject and subservient to white society. Up until the late-1960s, these bands of white men were not necessarily part of the white law enforcement apparatus for the most part, but began to change in the 1980s, especially in the southern states. After the 1960s, the practice of "coon hunting" has been carried out by law enforcement, prosecutors, and judges.   

Coon Hunting in the 7th Judicial District of South Carolina  

Bill Blanton is the sheriff of Cherokee County in South Carolina and has been the sheriff there since 1998. Blanton is a local person, having grown up in the "hill country," or in other words, a "hill-billie." Upon investigation, ITJ learned that under Blanton local blacks were routinely subjected to arbitrary "arrests" and illegal detention on an indefinite basis. In 2000, ITJ found that out of 48 positions in his jail, he never employed more than one or two blacks, and that his deputy force was also 98% white. The Cherokee County jail holds around 300 prisoners and is nearly always overcrowded, with blacks comprising 99% of all persons held there at any given time. Persons are held without being taken before a judge or magistrate for months on end following "arrest." They therefore, are held without the benefit of counsel or due process, and are regularly encouraged to sign a "guilty plea list" if they want to see a judge.

In 2000, Harold "Trey" Gowdy joined Bill Blanton and the other white officials who run Cherokee and Spartanburg counties as the prosecutor. It was at this time that ITJ began to investigate the regular false imprisonment of blacks living or passing through those counties. ITJ reported the matter to the Department of Justice with hopes of prompting an investigation, however, it appears that instead of conducting an investigation, the officials there were merely warned of ITJ's efforts. Trey Gowdy then began attempting to intimidate Kwasi Seitu, the author of the complaint, demanding that he come to Cherokee County merely because he angrily commanded him to do so. 

In March 2000, Seitu was illegally stopped, seized, and tortured, which prompted the ITJ investigation. Seitu was charged with assaulting a jailer by supposedly making "a quick move," along with numerous other fabricated charges that evaporated after he posted a "bond."  The "bond" was actually a ransom, for there was never any subsequent process to prosecute, in spite of Seitu's insistence for such. The stop and the incident at the jail were video taped and a prosecution would require that they be made available to the defense, Trey Gowdy was not about to allow that, so never made any formal effort to prosecute. Over the course of a year, Seitu called the court in order to find out why no notice to appear had been sent to him on any of the charges, to which the court clerks informed him that no prosecution had been filed against him and that he would have to contact Gowdy to find out why. 

Seitu had already informed Gowdy from the very outset that he had a right to the production of the video recordings, to which Gowdy never responded. When contacted by Seitu, Trey Gowdy angrily demanded that he return to Gaffney merely because he commanded him to, and when Seitu informed him that he would return only upon receiving notice from the court to appear, Gowdy would scream that he would get a warrant for his arrest. Seitu would make him even angrier by retorting that if he proceeded with his prosecution, then that would not be necessary and that otherwise, he needed to return his money taken as bond. Gowdy then refused to talk with Seitu any more, and never made any effort to proceed to prosecute the bogus charges. Still, over $3,000.00 in cash was extorted from Seitu and he demanded the return of every dime, while at the same time continuing to press the DOJ to investigate. 

In 2001, threatening to use his office to inflict harm on local blacks with whom Seitu was working, Gowdy got Seitu to return to Gaffney, which Seitu knew was nothing but a ploy to lure him there so that Gowdy could grab him. Seitu, in fact, wrote Gowdy a letter warning him that what he was planning was a crime, kidnap, but that he was coming just to make sure that no harm was done to locals. Upon Seitu's arrival at the Cherokee County courthouse on July 23, 2001, he was confronted by Gowdy and surrounded a small army of deputies, who Gowdy ordered to seize him. There was no warrant, Seitu had not committed any crime, and Gowdy simply lacked any lawful authority to do what he did. Gowdy instructed the deputies to take Seitu to the jail, where he was again subjected to physical torture and then held indefinitely for the next three and half months. 

When the matter began it was the end of the Clinton administration and by time of the second seizure occurred the Bush regime was in place. Seitu and ITJ had since 1999 been pressing for the arrest and prosecution of Jeb Bush, who was then the governor of Florida. ITJ had taken part in an investigation of the violent suppression of black voters in Gadsden County, Florida, where Jeb Bush had illegally removed a black elected official from office. Seitu appeared at the last confirmation hearing for John Ashcroft as U.S. Attorney General, insisting that since the Democrats were rolling over to confirm based on his promise to make civil rights his top priority, that he make the case against Jeb Bush his first case. Seitu passed out copies of the report on events in Gadsden County to the assembled press, right in front of Ashcroft and Senator Patrick Leahy, which angered Leahy and surprised Ashcroft. Approximately two-weeks later, Trey Gowdy resurfaced with his threat of going after local people if Seitu did not return to Gaffney, up until then, it had been over a year since Seitu had heard from Gowdy.

When Gowdy seized Seitu and the FBI was contacted about the matter, it let it be known that it already knew about the matter and the agent, a James Lannamann, jokingly said that they were not going to do anything unless Seitu was "beaten worse than Rodney King."  Seitu was held in maximum security in order to prevent him from talking with other prisoners, but that effort failed as prisoners would rely information back and forth as they would be brought in and out of the wing. Seitu learned that a few months before his being seized there had been a big drug sweep of the black community in Gaffney, where over 45-people were seized on the pretext that they had all sold drugs at some point over a year to undercover officers. 

The basis of the raid and arrests was identical to that of the one that took place in Tulia, Texas, where in 1999 nearly the entire black community was rounded up under the pretense of having sold drugs to an undercover agent. Here, the situation was no different from that in Tulia, with the only evidence being single photos of people walking down the street, standing on their porches, or just doing everyday things which a cop was ready to say showed the person selling him drugs. Each and every one of those people had been held for nearly five-months and not a one, except for the few who could afford to retain counsel, had attorneys. None of them had ever seen a judge or even the inside of a courtroom. Instead, each week the jailers or Gowdy's assistants would appear at the cages and ask if any of them was ready to plead guilty, telling them that only by signing a "guilty plea list" would they see a judge, otherwise they would not get the opportunity until the next term of court six-months away.

People would be taken to court without counsel, and because they had agreed to plead guilty, the sole purpose was for sentencing. The judges there were not only well aware of all the violations committed by the sheriff and Gowdy, but forbade any of the prisoners from complaining or otherwise, have them quickly returned to the jail for continued detention. The judges also have no qualm in letting people know that they have absolutely no protection from them against any brutality the jailers might inflict and that, they are not above ordering it themselves.

 Since 2003, ITJ has had a formal complaint before the House Judiciary Committee to investigate the failure and refusal of the Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation to take action on this matter. In the complaint it is outlined how FBI agents refused to act not only because they were white and those being victimized are primarily black, but actually said that they were not going to perform their duties because the local white people were their "friends." The U.S. Attorney refused to take action against the FBI agents, even after they had referred the matter to them for investigation. And finally, federal judges refused to comply with, and follow habeas corpus process in cases of illegal detention.

Recently, in response to the continued passing of the buck by officials at the DOJ, ITJ sent a letter to Eric Holder renewing the demand for investigation and prosecution of all state and federal officials involved in the kidnapping and modern-day lynching of black people in South Carolina, including Trey Gowdy. We await Mr. Holder's response and will post it immediately.

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