Jonathan Mellis, a detainee from January 6th, wrote us from solitary confinement last week.
Mellis has been detained without bond since his arrest in February. In May, U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan denied his request to be released from custody for a week so he could attend his father’s funeral.
Here is the direct letter from Jonathan Mellis addressing the American people:
“My name in Jonathan Mellis. I am a January 6 Capitol detainee being held in the DC jail. In the last 7 months I have experienced and witnessed the most inhumane and hateful treatment of my 34 years of life.
The DOJ and the Biden Administration are doing everything in their power to break me.
I write this from solitary confinement on September 15 with no clear explanation as to why I’ve been isolated or how long I will be here. I have been locked in this small concrete cell for over a month at this point. They call solitary confinement “the hole”. This is totally appropriate because I feel like I have been dropped to the bottom of a deep and dark hole in the ground and forgotten. I am alone. My mind is all I have to keep me company. And that can become quite a scary thing after weeks all alone. What makes this much worse is that I’m not told exactly why I was put down here or when this lonely torture will end. Every deadline given by the policy book to the jail to explain to me why I am in solitary confinement has been totally ignored. If I were in trouble I would have been served a Disciplinary Report within 2 days. I was not. I should have been seen by the Housing Board within 7 days. I was not. I get no answers. All I get is lied to by Sergeants and Lieutenants.
This kind of isolation and disrespect is very harmful to one’s mind and body. At first being locked in a small moldy cell is horrible and sad. You miss human interaction and your mind is racing. After a while this turns into desperate loneliness and frustration. You get headaches for days at a time and try to sleep all day. It has become a real depression. You feel worthless and ignored. Then as your energy starts to come back from sleeping all the time, it brings with it a ball of rage in your gut. You feel injured, angry, and helpless. You know you are being mistreated and there is nothing you can do about it. Your head hurts and your back muscles are tense. All the normal things in your life that give you stress are amplified and you are now consumed by bad and negative emotions. They are really hurting you. There is the feeling that you just want to collapse emotionally and physically. You just want to give up. The 4 walls of this concrete box are closing in on you. Your skin is crawling and you feel claustrophobic. It’s a nightmare.
How long will they make me do this? I don’t know. But I already know from experience that all of us January 6 detainees were held on solitary confinement until July. So I know first hand how long these monsters are willing to do this to me. This is inhumane and people think its OK because I’m a Trump supporter. I love people and I try to live a virtuous life. But because I like Trump they don’t see me as human. They enjoy watching me suffer. It makes them smile. How sick is that? The pure hate within the Justice Department is obvious in their actions. They are a sadistic bunch. It’s actually quite scary. There were over 500 violent riots last year. All of them were Left wing. Nobody is searching for these people. As a matter of fact, anyone who was arrested has most likely had their charges dropped. They were even encouraged by the Democrat politicians. They were applauded as they burned buildings down, destroyed businesses, killed people, and looted cities. They attacked police officers and took over police precincts. But nobody is sitting in jail for it. Much less being subjected to the inhumane treatment we Trump supporters experience. We live in constant fear of being shackled and beaten by the correctional officers. This has already happened. Several of us have been beaten by the correctional officers. Yet nobody really cares because we are Trump supporters.
I am currently engaged in a deep spiritual battle. I will not let evil win. I am strong. But it is hard. They want to break me. I will not let them. My love for this country will never end. Please do not believe everything you read about me in the news. They are crucifying me before my trial. I was trying to help the people being crushed by police.
I also am pleading for any help you can afford (even it is just a few dollars) to help with my legal bills so I can get justice. There is no where else I can turn than to my fellow citizens. Please pray for me on the outside.
Strength and Honor,
Jonathan Mellis #376907.”
Mellis was in solitary confinement for over a month and released only a few days ago, a direct violation of the United Nation’s “Nelson Mandela Rules”.
Other detainees have reported being held in solitary confinement in periods up to six months since January 6th.
** You can contribute to the legal fund for Jonathan Mellis here on GiveSendGo.
The Mandela Rules are a minimum standard of United Nations rules that defines solitary confinement as “the confinement of prisoners for 22 hours or more a day without meaningful human contact.” According to the rules, solitary confinement can only be used in exceptional circumstances, and “prolonged” solitary confinement of more than 15 consecutive days is regarded as a form of torture.
“Look Ahead America” and Citizens Against Political Persecution appealed to The United Nations by formal letter in August on behalf of the prisoners. January 6th Defense Attorney Joseph McBride also appealed directly by letter to the ACLU and Amnesty International. All parties say they have not yet received a response from any of the organizations.
In his letter, McBride called the District of Columbia jail “DC-GITMO,” a reference to the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, a U.S. military prison in Cuba.
“Solitary confinement is considered torture under the Nelson Mandela Rules,” said McBride. “Democrats agree. Both Elizabeth Warren and Dick Durban, as well as the ACLU, have all agreed on this issue.”
“If the United States Government is going to argue for the indefinite pretrial detention of American Citizens and frame them as terrorists, then the US Government should be subject to and constrained by international law (specifically The Nelson Mandela Rules) which prohibits prolonged solitary confinement and deems it torture,” said McBride.
According to Mellis, he did not use violence until he witnessed the police continue to brutalize other protesters.
Mellis has long held that the reason he was defensive with police was because he witnessed police brutalizing females and heard people screaming for help.
See the video below.
One of the people Mellis said he witnesses being brutalized was Roseanne Boyland.
Boyland died that day around the time period that eyewitnesses saw her crushed by other citizens that were pushed on top of her by other police and then beaten aggressively by Officer Lila Morris with a stick on the West Capitol stairs.
Mellis faces ten riot-related charges, including assaulting officers using a dangerous weapon (a stick that he was seen with at the scene of fellow protester Roseanne Boyland’s death). His attorney pointed out in open court and the prosecutor did not object that the police officer he is being charged with assaulting was not injured by Mellis. Mellis faces upwards of 40 years if convicted.
Shane Jenkins, another detainee and witness, said that many in the crowd around the West Entrance were incited by the violence of police towards Boyland.
“She was laying unconscious and when one of the officers kicked her out of the way like a piece of trash, that is when the crowd reacted and got involved,” said Jenkins. Jenkins’ statement has been documented by video proof.
Jenkins statement also substantiates the testimony of Mellis. There is video that shows police officer Wyatt, badge number 5737, kick Boyland and that is when Mellis seemingly springs into action.
Mellis said he acted in defense of others in using non-deadly force to defend individuals who were being crushed by advancing police officers. The D.C. Pattern Jury Instructions provides the law of defense of a third person- “that every person has the right to use a reasonable amount of force in defense of another person if s/he actually believes that the other person is in imminent danger of bodily harm”.
Mellis’ girlfriend told us that they are desperately seeking new representation outside of their court appointed lawyer but have no funds to hire a private attorney.
They are crowd sourcing to raise adequate funds to hire a lawyer who is responsive, trustworthy and will fight for Jonathan.
Many believe Mellis’ case is instrumental in proving what really happened on the West Capitol steps as he is being charged with attacking police officer Lila Morris.
Therefore, Mellis is entitled in his pre-trial discovery to the bodycam footage of Officer Morris. Mellis is yet to see his discovery.
“They are holding it in the jail somewhere,” said Mellis from prison. “I do not know who has it. They are not allowed to hold it for this long. They can be altering it, deleting it…I don’t know why I haven’t seen it yet after being in here for eight months.”
“That clear body cam footage is what we need, what we need America to see,” said video analyst Gary BcBride of “The People’s January 6th Commission”. “This information is being sealed and withheld from the public by the government, even though they are using it in court proceedings. If Mellis gets an attorney who is willing to appeal to the courts and have it released to the public, then the entire narrative the government has painted about people arbitrarily attacking police at the Capitol changes. The real narrative of the West Capitol steps is that citizens were defending a woman who ultimately died at what many believe to be at the hands of police. If Officer Morris’ full body cam footage gets released, all charges against those on the steps with Roseann Boyland should be dropped.”
The organization “The People’s January 6th Commission” demands to see all the body camera footage of Officer Morris from the day of January 6th, 2021, including the video documenting Boyland’s death at the West Terrace of the Capitol. They will continue to file FOIAs for this information and sue if it is not legally handed over in a timely manner.
** You can contribute to the legal fund for Jonathan Mellis here on GiveSendGo.
“This has been a mental and spiritual test beyond anything I have ever experienced,” said Mellis. “Things get really bad in here but I’m closer to God now. I look forward to the day I am free again.”
Cara Castronuova is a co-Founder of C.A.P.P. (Citizens Against Political Persecution and The People’s January 6th Commission. She is an Activist, Investigative Journalist, 2-Time Boxing Champion, Celebrity Fitness Trainer and Television Personality. You can follow her on IG, Twitter, and FB @CaraCastronuova. You can contact her via the C.A.P.P. website at www.CitizensAPP.us or www.ThePeoplesJanuary6thCommission.com if you have any tips or would like to volunteer.