Friday, October 16, 2009

The Assassination of George Jackson -- an interview with Colonel Nyati Bolt

PHOTO: Colonel Nyati Bolt in his cell at Angola Prison in 1973. A "Free the San Quentin Six" poster is on the wall behind him.

Angola 3 News is excited to release the third interview in our new video-series focusing on the Angola 3 and the many issues that are central to their story, like racism, repression, prisons, human rights, solitary confinement as torture, and more.

This new interview features Colonel Nyati Bolt, who was an inmate at California’s San Quentin Prison at the same time as George Jackson (Sept. 23, 1941 - Aug. 21, 1971), the legendary Black Panther Party Field Marshal, and author of two books written behind bars: Soledad Brother and Blood In My Eye. The story of George Jackson and his legacy today will be the focus of many of our upcoming videos.

Bolt remembers the day of Jackson’s assassination in 1971, when Bolt was working in the medical unit. He explains that he was ordered to bring gurneys down before he’d heard any gunshots, leading him to believe that the guards’ shooting of Jackson was planned. When Bolt arrived outside and began to approach Jackson’s body to provide medical attention, he was shot at by guards, who forced him to retreat.

Please stay tuned for part two of our interview with Bolt, talking about his experience later at Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola. As Bolt recently told National Public Radio, he walked from his cell to the cafeteria with Albert Woodfox, of the Angola 3, and was in the cafeteria with him on April 17, 1972, when a prison guard was killed at another part of the prison. Woodfox and co-defendant Herman Wallace would both be wrongly convicted of murdering the prison guard, and have now spent over 36 years in solitary confinement.

Bolt was immediately put into Closed Cell Restriction (CCR) solitary confinement on April 11, 1972, officially because he was under suspicion for involvement in the prison guard’s death. A few months later he was questioned by prison guards, where he told them that he’d been with Woodfox during the time period that the prison guard was killed. After questioning, Bolt was sent back to CCR, where he spent the next 20 years in continuous solitary confinement, until his release in 1992. Prison authorities officially justified continuing his CCR status on the original grounds that he was suspected of involvement in the prison guard’s death. Bolt believes that the continuous CCR was actually in retaliation for his statement to prison authorities that provided an alibi for Woodfox, which he would later testify to at Woodfox’s trial, and maintains to this day.

For more information about the Angola 3, please visit as well as our You Tube page for the latest in our new video series, including our two previous releases: an interview with author J. Patrick O’Connor about death-row prisoner Kevin Cooper and an interview with author Dan Berger about prison movements in the US. Angola 3 News is an official project of the International Coalition to Free the Angola 3.

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