An Alabama Department of Correction (ADOC) guard is being accused of encouraging incarcerated people to murder another incarcerated individual due to their activism, according to a newly filed complaint.
The complaint alleges that Lt. Jeremy Pelzer has encouraged violence against Robert Earl Council, aka Kinetik Justice, because of his activism and “lawsuits.” Council is one of the founder’s of the Free Alabama Movement (FAM) and has organized numerous actions advocating for prisoners’ rights including the Alabama prison strike in 2022 and has helped multiple incarcerated people file lawsuits against ADOC.
The suit is moving for a preliminary injunction so Council is moved from Limestone Correctional Facility and an evidentiary hearing is set for Nov. 30.
ADOC Commissioner John Hamm is the defendant in the complaint as the complaint alleges he is retaliating against Council by allowing Pelzer access to him at Limestone. “Plaintiff Council,” the complaint states, “seeks to prevent Defendant Commissioner John Hamm of the Alabama Department of Corrections (“ADOC”), in his official capacity, from retaliating against Plaintiff in violation of the First and Eighth Amendments by continuing to expose Plaintiff Council to a substantial risk of being assaulted or murdered by Lt. Jeremy Pelzer, other Limestone Correctional Facility (“Limestone”) officers, or inmates who act at their behest, and who have constant access to the solitary confinement cell where Plaintiff Council is housed at Limestone.”
According to the suit Pelzer has made statements attempting to incite prisoners to assault Council or the lieutenant has stated his own intentions to harm Council. Pelzer is quoted in the suit telling a Crips gang member that, “Even if y’all killed [Council] I’ll make sure nothing happens to y’all.” Another quote involves Pelzer saying, “I want Robert Council….I’m tired of this bastard and all his lawsuits,” and was said while Pelzer was allegedly choking another prisoner in 2019.
The lawsuit also alleges Council is at fear of retaliation from other correctional guards and wishes to be moved from Limestone and taken out of solitary confinement. Council has been in solitary confinement since Oct. 15, under the pretense of a fabricated disciplinary charge where he was pepper sprayed with a cell buster pepper spray, an extremely powerful spray, the suit states.
Council’s suit comes a year before Alabama is set to enter a trial with the Department of Justice over Alabama’s prison conditions, which includes the treatment of incarcerated individuals by correctional staff.