Dec 4, 2009 UNION rally,

speech of Richard Thomas

I hope that what happened to Forest Gump when he spoke of Vietnam at a rally doesn’t happen to us. No audio, unplugged. I’m not here to point fingers, name names; I think I know who you are, you know who you are. I seek the truth from the guilty parties responsible for my brother Greg’s suspicious death and I am speaking out over the terrible way that we have been treated. Coincidentally two years ago my father died of suffocation, emphysema how unfitting and horrifying my baby brother died the same way. My brother Gregory Alan Thomas was nicknamed Sweetie Bird, by his mother; rest her soul.


He was that a bubbly boy always happy, always giggling. Always busy, my family recalls. Our family genealogy is impressive brilliant minds. Greg discovered his genius through music. He picked up guitar at the age of 13 in school. It was his love and escape. He formed a band in the late 70’s early 80s. Went to the Battle of the Bands in Hollywood, they won first place with the likes of Guns and Roses before Axel Rose joined, Rock candy, etc. He was a guitarist in prison band, every Sunday they would play. He wasn’t a bad prisoner. He wasn’t a mental case; he became one to stay out of the general population.

He wasn’t part of any gang. That’s how he survived all these years. Greg didn’t go to prison bipolar, but was released with affliction and slept with one eye open after serving 10 years rehabilitation …not even close. I respect from the top-raking officials down to the traffic police the pride; integrity, guts and bravery it takes in our world are not easy. Many others and I should agree. It’s instilled in all of us as children to be civil and good some are subject to bad parenting and many other factors as we grow. Hence, there is good and bad in everyone. In a past visit to Greg we discussed his parole date of 2017. He would get his own place and see his children. We talked of playing music together again. He was a grandfather of four.

Never once did he mention taking his own life. I told him an Uncle had died; a few minutes later he told me that he was a victim of sexual child abuse. By an unnamed person, he wouldn’t tell me, he said it doesn’t matter now. He kept this from everyone his whole adult life. Perhaps that and a childhood of as I endured and my brother Robert lived through weren’t perfect, but we survived. All of us accept Greg. He survived in prison for 10 years, was released and violated parole soon after he was convicted 3rd strike and received 17 to life. We always kept in touch. Packages, money, mail and phone calls to family every holiday, we would all say hello to him at family gathering he liked that. We developed, he and I how to let me know if anything was wrong through codes and I’m not going to make it was one I don’t know was another and on our last visit he said he would be transferred. He was denied the transfer. Lt. Allen said to me on the phone due to his physicality. He wanted me to send him a list of attorneys in Lancaster again, so he could get out of there.

We had sent him that list 6 weeks prior and he never received it. He first called me on July 10th asked if we sent it. We re-sent it on the 13th of July. He called me on July 14th talked for fifteen minutes, he asked for just one attorney name. I gave him one and then he called back 30 minutes later we talked another 15 minutes. He said tell me the name again, I’m not getting through at all. He called me again on July 15th and said, “he didn’t know what was wrong”, Rick. I’m not going to make it. Why I said, “he replied I don’t know.” Do you need me to visit you this Saturday? I don’t think I’m gonna make it. Why, what’s wrong? I don’t know, I don’t know, I’ll call you Friday and let you know about coming or not. If I don’t make it, tell everyone I love them and are they going to take my money. I said nobody’s going to take your money. Stop Greg, don’t worry about it. What’s going on, I don’t know again he said. See that you and my children get it. We hung up. I pondered then called the prison, reluctantly because I know that complaints are not taken well. But know our codes. I was transferred 4 times from the main number asking to speak to his counselor over 7 minutes. Then I left a message with Mrs. McCrary and she didn't reply back for two weeks, saying that she didn't know of this and wasn't in.

When I didn’t hear back I called again at 4:45 left another message to check in on Greg. The 16th of July I was contacted by a Lt. Allen. “Your brother is in the Antelope Valley Hospital, attempted suicide.” No I said, he wouldn’t do that, I just talked to him last night. “He is on life support, you need to get there.” I got there at about 8:00 p.m. and was told only I could see him by 2 guards; male and female. To my horror, brain dead. In phone calls over the years I said stay out of trouble, he said ever see a cat cornered; sometimes you have to get busy to save your life. He could take care of his self. We all know sometimes reality is stranger than fiction to witness unimaginable events that are unforgettable. He was a healthy strong man, no tattoos. In the hospital his hands were perfect guitar playing hands. No marks from defending himself. The left side of his face was black as coal. His right ankle shackled to the bed to hide the tethered marks on it. This was the work of more than one person. Was he double celled deliberately? I’ve called all parties in this case constantly for nothing.

Without a court order I was denied anything. In my first contact with Dr. Young County Coroner, I voiced my concerns about Greg’s face and other injuries. He said the small black eye. I gasped; half of his face was black by 8:00 p.m. In Antelope Valley Hospital, the records sent to me for $38.00. Were incomplete from the time I was contacted at 4:45 p.m. on the 16th of July, until he was unplugged at 8:10 a.m. on July 17th. I called the watch commander Lt. Cox and he said you know he was in a mental program, yes I said. I gave him the night to recover, god willing. I was contacted at 8:00 a.m. on the 17th of July that Greg’s condition had worsened, take him off and let him go. I was contacted by Lt. Peisel (?)an hour later, Greg’s at a mortuary.

Then again an hour later, he’s at the Neptune Society. Then again, he’s at LA County Coroner’s Office. We are sorry, these things happen. In another conversation with Dr. Young who performed the autopsy, with my wife on the other line. He said, “He was leaning toward suicide, but needs to confirm with the Chief who is on vacation. There is video footage of him in his cell and an eyewitness. When I emailed him back on the fact, he emailed me and said he didn’t know where he got that idea from. Cause of death is undetermined on the death of Greg. Our family left Greg at the coroners hoping we could get an independent autopsy. But he was cremated. Greg’s daughter received a letter of releasing for cremation. We said no, but where told 2 days after the fact he had been sent out for cremation on October 20th.

Leaving us helpless and crushed. This is a homicide investigation. Why would they destroy evidence? Their reply was we can’t let people pile up. You have run out of time. I’m not here seeking blood money, but restitution by the person or persons responsible for the life destroying death of my baby brother Gregory Alan Thomas. Someone please come forward out of hiding. Anyone involved in criminal activities, now should think twice or risk being put away in a living hell. Any retaliation in this matter will only add fuel to the fire. If my family or I are subject to that, I will only be incarcerated in the manner my brother left incarceration. I’m thankful for people like Cayenne Bird. Who shed light on what I was unaware of too late it seems.

I know that at last Greg is free from that bloodhouse, hellhole, if that doesn’t strike a cord to what’s happening in our prisons…what will. All of this during the last 5 months reminds me of movies we’ve seen, Cool Hand Luke, A Few Good Men, One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Brubaker. Where’s Brubaker? We need a super man like our great president Obama, to take notice to this problem, for every problem there is a solution. Now, I would like for you to join me in the serenity prayer. Now a moment of silence for those who still suffer in and out of our prisons.

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