Lawyers don’t call for a contract; say proposed prison contractor “compared blacks to dogs” | News | Pittsburgh
A group of criminal justice advocates calls on Allegheny County officials to vote against a draft Allegheny County Jail contract that involves a company that a leader says has “compared black people to dogs”.
Joseph Garcia is the head of the Corrections Special Applications Unit (C-SAU), a company that provides military-style training for security companies, police, jails and prisons. On July 27, Allegheny County awarded $ 400,000 in non-tender contracts to C-SAU, as well as Lightfield Less Lethal Research, for military-style training and less lethal weapons for correctional officers. from Allegheny County Jail.
Before the vote on this proposal, scheduled for the Prison Supervisory Board hearing on Monday, September 20, a coalition of advocates held a press conference on Wednesday, September 15. urging Allegheny County officials to reject the contract.
Representatives from the Alliance for Police Accountability, the Bukait Bail Fund, the Abolitionist Law Center and others spoke from the portico of the City-County Building in downtown Pittsburgh, criticizing the offer to hire C-SAU and citing the company’s track record with regard to death of an incarcerated person with mental illness, and the prison’s already high rankings of correctional officers using force and suicides of incarcerated persons.
Jonas Caballero of the Abolitionist Law Center also says he believes any business associated with Garcia should be a non-starter for Allegheny County. He called Garcia a “racist, fanatic and trigger-happy pal”. As Pittsburgh City Paper reported in August, Garcia claimed that after George Floyd’s death there would be race riots in prisons targeting correctional officers, which never materialized.
At the press conference, Caballero went on to say that Garcia even “compared black people to dogs.”
This is an apparent reference to Garcia’s appearance on the Conversation podcast, which is a trade fair around the firearms industry, according to his website. On the podcast, which was released on August 28, 2020, Garcia criticizes the Black Lives Matter movement and then pokes fun at it, saying he prefers “Dogs Lives Matter”. Garcia trains and uses Giant Schnauzer dogs as part of C-SAU training.
“I call BLM a small organization. If people really realize where their money is going or if people have done their homework on BLM, it’s just a Marxist organization itself, ”Garcia said on the August 2020 podcast.“ Personally, I like it. DLM. I don’t know if you’ve heard of it, you know Dogs Lives Matter. I support this organization. Just remember that. Dogs. Lives. Question. Guy.”
Allegheny County Jail Director Orlando Harper released a statement saying the prison asked a contractor to comply with the recently passed referendum banning the use of chemical agents, leg chains and chairs of duress, and said the decision to work with C-SAU was to complete training for correctional officers to comply with these new rules. Harper said the prison does not make decisions based on someone’s personal history.
“The details of Mr. Garcia’s resume, his work history, or his financial or legal history are matters for him,” Harper said. “We do not make procurement decisions on the basis of statements or comments, including indication of a person’s political affiliation or personal beliefs, made by those with whom we pass to be responsible for ensure that correctional officers who are trained continue to meet our stated goals. ”
C-SAU did not return a request for comment.
MAN-E, an advocate for the BUKIT Bail Fund, also criticized Garcia for his past comments and urged officials to reject the contract with C-SAU. He said the prison is currently in too precarious a situation to work with a company that has a leader with such extreme views.
“We want to treat incarcerated people like human beings, not like dogs,” says MAN-E.
In addition to comments on “Dogs Lives Matter,” Garcia also praised former President Donald Trump, contempt for the media, downplaying the COVID-19 pandemic, and apparent references and support for the theory of QAnon plot.
In August 2020, he referred to the COVID-19 pandemic and called it a ““ cam-demie ”and“ comedy-vid-19. ”Garcia also said COVID was“ no more worse a cold or the flu. ”As of August 28, 2020, more than 930,000 people worldwide have died from COVID.
Garcia said he loved Trump and claimed Trump could bankrupt CNN. He also spoke about alleged sex trafficking and “child exploitation” on Facebook and said he wanted the social media company to put more emphasis on this. Later in the podcast, he used language mirrored by followers of the QAnon conspiracy theory, who mistakenly believe Democrats run underground sex trafficking rings and eat babies.
“The people of Trump and the supporters, the people who have their eyes open and understand this truth. You can’t stop this guy, and that’s the problem, ”Garcia said. The term “eyes open” is often used by followers of QAnon.
The following Meeting of the Prison Supervisory Board is at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, September 20, where board members will discuss the proposed C-SAU contract.