Hunger Strike Expands to 17 People as Sheriff Claims It’s Over
After failing to respond all week to the existence of a hunger strike at the county jail, Sheriff Dustin Heuerman told TV station WCIA that the strike was called off.
The sheriff’s hand was forced after an article I wrote, “There’s a Hunger Strike Happening at the Champaign County Jail,” was published by Smile Politely on Thursday afternoon. It’s been a week since the strike began.
I confirmed with the grandmother of one of the hunger strikers that the strike was still on and has grown to 17 people. I am still working to confirm the names of the 17, here is the list I was provided:
Jamonte Hill, Malik Chapple, Derrick Lambert, Henry Pettigrew, Jaesen Chi Warner-Uduebor, Dontrell Robinson, Rsarah Jenkins, Clifford Like, Derrick Humphery, Landon Hinkle, George Edwards, Malcom McGee*, Richard Frazier*, John Clay*, Jacob Hill*, Dominic Augustus Fortune*, Troy Carter*
*Original hunger striker.
Judy Borton, whose grandson is one of the strikers, got a call Friday night from the jail. She said the men at the jail were watching the news on their TVs saying the action was over, knowing full well they were still on strike.
I was with the family of Rajuan Williams, one of the hunger strikers, on Friday morning when we bailed him out of jail. On Thursday, his attorney got the bond reduced to $4,000, but the family still could not afford that amount. The Champaign County Bailout Coalition paid half the bail, and the family paid the other half.
When Rajuan walked out of the jail, he looked weak. I shook his hand, it was cold from sitting in a frigid jail cell. He said he had lost weight in the five days on hunger strike. I gave him twenty bucks to get something to eat. His mother took him to get fried chicken at Raising Cane’s on Green Street.
Surely, seeing Rajuan get out of jail, and watching the news coverage, has fueled the hunger strike.
Solidarity efforts are being organized on the outside. Stay tuned for more.
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