A January 6 political prisoner who was recently released from the D.C. jail, said that he was not allowed to shave or get a haircut unless he took the COVID vaccine.
Jerrod Sessler, a congressional candidate from Washington, and his teenage son were shooting a video outside the “Deplorable Jail” about the Jan. 6 political prisoners, when Karl Dresch, a Michigan man who was detained for “parading” with an American flag inside the Capitol, approached him and agreed to be interviewed.
Sessler began by asking Dresch about the vaccine coercion, which the newly released prisoner had apparently mentioned before camera started rolling.
“One of the things you said was that they wouldn’t let you get a shave or get a haircut unless you took the vaccine?” Sessler asked.
“Yes sir,” the bearded Dresch replied.
The requirement appears to be an abuse of the Constitution since the experimental vaccines are approved for emergency use only. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that incarcerated or detained people living in correctional and detention facilities get vaccinated against COVID-19, but it has not been mandated, and shouldn’t be coerced.
Dresch told Sessler that he refused to get vaccinated.
He said he was arrested on January 19, “bounced around Michigan for a little bit,” and was moved to a jail Oklahoma City, before being transferred to the D.C. gulag on March 9. He was released on August 8 after striking a plea deal with government prosecutors.
He said the conditions in the jail were “kinda dirty,” the food “not too good,” and until recently, inmates were locked in their cells “almost all day.” That changed after a handful of conservative Republicans—Reps Matt Gaetz R-Fla.) , Marjorie Taylor-Greene (R-Ga.), Bob Good (R-Va.), Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) and Louis Gohmert (R-Tex.)—attempted to tour the facility on July 29, and were denied admittance.
The lawmakers were initially allowed in the entrance way, and given masks, but after waiting for about seven minutes, an officer accused them of trespassing and locked them out.
“Recently they let us out a little bit more, but for months it was just an hour a day,” Dresch explained.
“It sounds like, as a result of them coming out here last week, it sounds like conditions improved a little bit inside … you started getting a little bit more time outside your cell?” Sessler asked.
“Yeah, they’re letting us out for up to five hours now,” Dresch replied. “But it took them a long time.”
He went on to note that four lawyers were barred from visiting their clients the same day the lawmakers were denied access to the facility, even though the booklet the prison hands out to inmates says lawyers are supposed to have 24/7 access to their clients.
“But it’s not like that,” he said. “They have to set up an appointment, and sometimes it gets denied. It can’t be in person unless you get the vaccine.”
Dresch told Sessler that “it’s really hard to put a defense together for a lot of guys” because they don’t have access to their attorneys.
“Sometimes it feels like judges are just making up their own laws to keep people in,” he said.
He went on to say that although he never experienced abuse from the guards, he knew of prisoners who did.
“There’s one gentleman in there, Jacob Lang, I saw him get sprayed with mace, and he wasn’t doing anything threatening,” Sessler said. “He was in his cell.”
The lawyer for another detainee, last week, appealed to Amnesty International and the American Civil Liberties Union seeking an investigation into the way his client and four other “January Sixers” were treated in the jail.
The attorney, Joseph D. McBride of New York City, said conditions in the facility are “disgusting.”
“To put it mildly the facility is disgusting. Black mold, brown drinking water, and poor ventilation are but a few of the problems with the facility itself,” McBride wrote. “The way that staff treats the detainees is brutal and denies them their civil rights. If a detainee speaks up, the guards lock everyone down. If a lawyer speaks out against the jail or the government, the guards lock everyone down. And when the jail really wants to punish, it uses COVID-19 as a cover to lock everyone down for weeks at a time. This means, at best, detainees have one hour each day out of their cells to attend to their personal needs.”
McBride said his client, Richard “Bigo” Barnett, 61, of Gravette, Arkansas, was “slammed into a concrete floor, threatened, kept in solitary confinement and denied prompt medical treatment when he thought he was having a heart attack.”
In his “emergency request” to Amnesty International and the ACLU, McBride called the facility “DC-GITMO,” a reference to the U.S. military detention camp for Islamic terrorists, in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
The prisoners’ defenders say the Trump supporters, most of whom have never been in any trouble with the law, are being treated like hardened terrorists for committing minor offenses like “trespassing,” and “parading.”
When asked about his actions on Jan. 6, Dresch said that he was able to walk through an open door into Capitol Building with a “steady stream of people,” and some Capitol Police were actually directing them toward the House of Representatives.
“Really, everyone I saw was being respectful and everything,” he said. “The only scuffling, or anything like that that I saw was all provoked by the Capitol Police.”
Dresch told Sessler that there was a line of “SWAT Team” officers lined up in front of the House, targeting protesters “to fight with.”
“We might have been chanting or carrying our flags,” Sessler explained. “Eventually they told us to leave, and we left.”
Dresch went on to say that the protest was the biggest crowd he’d ever seen, and that normally he’d be worried that being among that many people, someone might steal a wallet, or something like that.
“But it was the most friendly group,” he said.
Dresch said that he didn’t know of any cases of COVID-19 inside the jail.
The CDC recommends that prisoners in the United States get vaccinated against COVID-19 to avoid an outbreaks in correctional and detention facilities.
After Dresch noted that he didn’t talk to the FBI while in lock-up, Sessler told him that they had tried to kidnap his governor, [Gretchen Whitmer].
Dresch laughed, exclaiming “I heard about that. They got me too!”
Government documents indicate that at least 12 undercover informants played major roles in the kidnapping scheme.
According to a report last month in BuzzFeed News, court filings revealed text and audio transcripts, and more than two dozen interviews with sources close to the case that claimed that the 12 informants and undercover agents “played a far larger role” in the kidnapping plot than was previously known.
“Working in secret, they did more than just passively observe and report on the actions of the suspects. Instead, they had a hand in nearly every aspect of the alleged plot, starting with its inception,” the outlet reported, noting that the scope of their involvement “raises questions as to whether there would have even been a conspiracy without them.”
“I kinda figured that right from the beginning,” Dresch told Sessler, still laughing. “It sounded completely made up to me.”
When asked why he thought he would be arrested for just walking through an open door with an American flag, Dresch replied, “I think they kinda just wanted to silence people … I saw a lot of acts of aggression by the police, you know, provoking things, and brutality. By arresting anybody who was there, nobody wants to say, hey, I was there. I saw what happened,” he explained.
He said he saw officers deploying flashbangs into the peaceful crowd, and throwing canisters of tear gas at them from the rooftops.
Four Trump supporters died during, or shortly after the riot.
Ashli Babbitt, 35, died by homicide from a gunshot to the left shoulder, according to the Coroner’s report. She was shot by a Lt. Mike Byrd while trying to climb through a door near the House chamber.
Kevin Greeson, 55, and Benjamin Phillips 50, both died of heart attacks. Roseanne Boyland, 34, reportedly died by accident from acute amphetamine intoxication.
“I think that’s why they’re so heavy handed,” Dresch explained. “To chill the speech.”
Protesters who witnessed the police brutality, he noted, are apt to say “I wasn’t there!” after seeing how other Trump supporters were arrested and sent to solitary confinement in the “D.C. GITMO.”