The FreeSpook Movement
Michael “Esé Spook” Armendariz was incarcerated in 2002 in the state of New Mexico for defending himself against attack by off-duty, intoxicated police and correctional officers. The State tampered with and excluded evidence, incarcerated and intimidated eyewitnesses, and saddled Michael with an incompetent public defender. A farcical trial concluded with Michael sentenced to life plus thirteen years, a 43-year prison sentence for defending his life and the lives of his friends. The FreeSpook Movement is raising funds to help Michael hire legal counsel for a habeas corpus and fight for his freedom.
Jails and prisons are designed to break human beings, to convert the population into specimens in a zoo – obedient to our keepers, but dangerous to each other.
– Angela Davis
The Prison-Industrial Complex is the 21st century manifestation of systemic racism. This network of State institutions, corporations and the criminal justice system has caused and is causing deep and long-lasting damage to people and communities of color. We, the organizers and activists in The FreeSpook Movement, share a common opposition to the Prison-Industrial Complex and come together to fight with Spook for his freedom. We come from varied backgrounds. Some of us are prison abolitionists who reject prisons and punitive justice as a premise, while others strongly believe in radical reforms to humanize the criminal punishment system.
Another closely tied anti-social phenomena that is plaguing our communities is that of Police Violence. The effects of this institutionalized violence are well documented in alternative grassroots media sources. Police brutality and unaccountability are evident in Michael’s case, as well, given who attacked him and his friend, given who botched his trial. Combating the Prison-Industrial Complex also requires a firm stand against police brutality.
We recognize that Michael is only a single victim of this racist network of oppression. So does Michael. However, in the struggle against the larger problem, where often the systems we are resisting become abstract entities, organizing and resisting along with actual victims of the system foregrounds explicitly the human cost of systemic racism, economic inequality, policing and punitive justice. Working with Spook transforms the Prison-Industrial Complex and the Police State from abstract entities to real dehumanizing, oppressive, anti-social forces.
The FreeSpook Movement is working with Michael and his family members to raise funds for legal counsel. While we recognize that fundraising is not a solution towards dismantling the Prison-Industrial Complex, Michael’s chance at freedom and justice hinges on it.