Of course, for the tower incident, the prison system wanted me fired. But, "Not so fast", I thought. I made a beeline to an independent psychologist for an evaluation of me. In college, I minored in psychology. But, when I studied, my nose was to the grindstone. I hadn't studied psychology just enough to pass examinations. I studied it to know it well. I knew a fair portion of their processes. In my initial interview, I was very open about my turbulent past and lead the psychologist to be assured that the tower incident was due to post traumatic stress. He bit, big time. I enhanced his evaluations of me when at times, during an evaluation, I would shed a strategic tear. I was given a complete series of psychological examinations that went back as far as my first memories of childhood. I knew exactly what they were looking for in these tests. In the final analysis, I was diagnosed by a locally well-respected psychological firm as having "post traumatic stress with anxieties". But, not severe enough where I could not return to work at the prison system. Departmental officials were outraged, and appealed their decision. The department lost. I was now covered under the American Disabilities Act. Now the prison system would have nightmares in attempting to terminate me. The ball was certainly in my court. Upon returning back to work at the prison, everyone, to include most inmates, would avoid me like the plague. I had discovered Lieutenant Steven L. and others in prison management had put the word out on me that, in fact, I was, "psycho", and to avoid contact with me at all costs. Prison supervisors had absolutely no clue where to assign me. They certainly were no longer going to assign me to a gun post. In fact, they didn't want me on any post alone. But, then again, they didn't want me assigned with another officer either. Absolutely, no one wanted to work with me. So, in the infinite wisdom of management, I was assigned to the institutional culinary. A dangerous post, but this post was managed by a custody sergeant, and the culinary was right next to the lieutenant's office, with an armed gun post. It didn't take long for me and the culinary sergeant to get into it. The moment, in his office, when he called me crazy, I grabbed him by his duty belt, and his epaulette, picked him off his feet, and threw him into a concrete block wall.
The sergeant did not file charges against me. Several days later, the same sergeant was spying on me through a bullet-proof safety glass window while I was performing my duties in the culinary. I warned him not to spy on me. He continued to do so. On the third hit of my fist into this glass, the window finally broke in his face. Again, no charges were filed against me. The final incident in the culinary was when an inmate continued to steal items from the culinary. I warned the inmate if he did this again, I would cut his testicles off. The inmate did not listen. I grabbed him by his testicles and dragged him into the custody office. I unlocked a tool cabinet and took out a butcher knife. I began sawing through his pants enroute to his private parts. The inmate broke my hold, running out of the culinary screaming for someone to help him. In the aftermath, Lieutenant Steven L. called me into his office. I leaned over his desk and whispered to him, "I don't want to hear your counseling. Only one person really knows whether or not I'm certifiably crazy, and that is me." All the items on his desk I knocked down to the floor. I continued to stare into his eyes. The lieutenant called for backup. However, I stood back up at attention, and looked innocent as backup came rushing in. There were no witnesses to this incident. Therefore, I was reassigned from the culinary, but this time to a place where my prison supervisors thought they had finally got rid of me. I was going to become a Boot Camp Drill Instructor.
I was excited about the possibility of becoming a Nevada Boot Camp drill instructor. It seemed to be my perfect calling within this extension of the prison system. I interviewed with the Boot Camp supervisor, Lieutenant Pete S. He had been a highly decorated Marine Corps sergeant major who had recently retired from active duty. This boot camp seemed to be his "heart-n-soul". I had come to him highly recommended from officials on the main prison yard. I was exactly what Pete needed. A hard-nosed drill instructor, but one that always kept the best interests of the boot camp and trainees as a priority. As members of a once renowned program in the eyes of the media, a few drill instructors had come to believe in their own press, and fallen into mediocrity and corruption. Lieutenant S. wanted me to set a proud new example. As usual, I had not received a warm welcome from most other drill instructors. If anything, they saw me as a threat to them. But, the other DI's were not my business. I was focused on getting the proper training back on track, and teaching these young non-violent criminals the path to a good life, rather than one of criminal activity and life behind bars. It was working well. After all, unlike all of the other drill instructors, I knew exactly what it was like to be on both sides of the fence. A youthful offender myself, and later, a U.S. Marine and a law enforcement officer, these young trainees knew I cared about them in my quest to change their ways. I wasn't there to put on a show for the media. I was there to turn these youthful offenders around. When I was mentally breaking the trainees down through harsh physical training, I never ordered the trainees to do anything that I wasn't doing with them myself. In this way, I always knew where to draw the line. When I, myself, couldn't take anymore, I certainly would not order the trainees to do more. Each trainee seemingly respected that. The turnaround results of these youth offenders were reaching astounding proportions. Three other DI's, in particular, were not liking this.
Those DI's began, as a group, registering a huge number of complaints against me with the boot camp supervisor. I couldn't believe it when the boot camp supervisor, Lieutenant Pete S., called me into his office. The lieutenant was reassigning me from duties as a drill instructor to that of a work detail supervisor with the trainees. I was furious. I never would have thought that a highly decorated Marine Corps sergeant major was too much of a coward to stand tall against a small clique of corrupt prima donnas who were undoubtedly compromising the grass roots of this boot camp program. Two of these three DI's were not even former Marines. The third DI was a former Marine, but was later found to be having a sexual affair with a trainees sister. The next working day, the lieutenant ordered me to take a group of trainees who were nearing graduation on a work detail to the main prison yard. I was to take the trainees on the roof of each cell block and have them dismantle a defunct solar system, taking all the copper out of the systems. I received further orders that all this copper was to be taken into a Las Vegas salvage yard and receive cash on the value of this state property. The lieutenant then ordered me to bring the cash back to him. I refused this as being an unlawful order. I contended this money belonged to the Department of Prisons, and not him. I informed the lieutenant I would take the money into the business office and get a receipt for the monies that were made off the copper. Another argument ensued between us. The lieutenant threatened me that if I did not follow his orders, I would be sent back to the main prison yard. I turned the monies into the business office, and the lieutenant sent me back, as promised, to the main prison yard. I turned the boot camp supervisor into the state inspector general. A big investigation took place. Some months later the lieutenant resigned. The boot camp program never recovered from its once renowned state.
I was certainly in distress after having been reassigned from the boot camp. But, I had to get myself back together quickly. The lockdown unit had to have a team of officers who were all on one page. Dissension could not be a part of this work environment. The atmosphere in the lockdown unit is dangerous enough even with a good solid team of officers. I was very sensitive to this aspect. My first day as I reported in for duty, it was the same as I had always been accustomed to. An outcast. The second day reporting in for duty, there had been a one inmate riot on one of the disciplinary cell blocks. The inmate involved was well known to everyone. Inmate JoJo T. He was the toughest and most privately feared inmate in the institution. On this morning, JoJo beat down seven officers, to include both the lockdown sergeant and lieutenant. Upon walking into the muster room, I was ordered to report expeditiously to lockdown. When I walked into the lockdown unit, there were no officers out and about from the main custody control center. But, contained on the cell block, behind a steel gate, inmate JoJo T. was roaming freely. He yelled at me, "So, Chapline, you're the next one I am to beat down. Come on in here, punk." I replied, "Quite to the contrary JoJo, let's go up to your cell, kick back, smoke a couple of cigarettes, and talk about this. JoJo, all this violence has gone way too far." JoJo and I peacefully walked back up to his cell on the second tier. We spent probably a good half-hour talking. JoJo had been on a ten day disciplinary detention sentence in which he lost all of his property and was in an environment akin to solitary. He had successfully completed his punishment and wanted his property. Even though it was given to him, the officers refused to hook his cable up for his television in the crawl space next to his cell. I agreed to hook his cable up. The situation with JoJo was ended. The other lockdown officers were outraged. "This inmate assaulted seven officers, and you're giving JoJo his cable television back." I replied, "Yes, you all started this situation. When an inmate has something by regulation or law coming to him, give it to him. When he doesn't, don't." The lockdown officers responded to me, "We did give JoJo his property." I replied, "Don't play with me.
You were all playing your bully games and you got your tails beat. I'm not going to do your dirty work. JoJo rates his TV, and he has the right for it to be operational. I hooked up his cable and that's the end of this story." The five other lockdown officers took me down to the concrete floor in the control center. They took several rolls of packing tape and wrapped me like a mummy from my ankles to my shoulder blades. I swore serious revenge against them the moment they decided to set me free. I lived by my word. When the officers cut me loose, I bundled together two wads of toilet paper. I put on surgical gloves, and soaked the two wads of toilet paper in lighter fluid. The ring leader of the prior incident with me was now in the rotunda area of the lockdown unit. I walked up behind the officer, jammed the two wads of lighter fluid laden toilet paper into the two back pockets of his jumpsuit uniform, and lit him on fire. The officer was screaming for help as I stood near him laughing. It was nice to see a bully getting a dose of his own medicine. The other lockdown officers came out of the control center with fire extinguishers and put the flames out. The officer was taken to the infirmary and treated for minor burns. No reports, or charges were filed against me. However, I was again reassigned, but this time, to a general population housing unit.
From lockdown I was reassigned to unit one, a three winged cell block for inmates of the general prison population. It was a welcome moment to finally walk into a new post in the prison system and not get the silent treatment or the cold shoulder from an officer who was a regular. It was then that Cedric P. became my new partner. I found him to be an intelligent, well-groomed, polite officer. But, by many others, Cedric was not well received. For, he was one of the new wave of Afro-American officers hired at our prison. Cedric and I made an absolutely wonderful team. Our unit was safe, well-structured, organized, and operational to the point that inmates did not desire to be moved to other units on the prison yard. Management was using our unit as a model for other housing unit officers to follow. But, several months later, the state was in a budget shortfall and layoffs in the department were inevitable. Officer Cedric P. was one of those officers. However, a new prison in Northern Nevada had just recently opened and the Department of Prisons was having trouble staffing it. Cedric took the state's offer to work in this facility in lieu of being laid off permanently. I advised Cedric not to go to this prison, for the township was evil and racist. I told Cedric, "You are black, and your wife is white. Your children are mixed. If you go up there, Cedric, those evil people will kill you." Cedric told me that there was no way he would allow anyone to keep him from supporting his family. I was to dearly miss my friend and partner. The next year and a half went by and I had not seen or heard from Cedric. One morning, standing in the muster room, someone tapped me on my shoulder. I turned around, and I was shocked. It was Cedric. But now he looked sickly and had lost a tremendous amount of weight. Cedric told me that he had been the only Afro-American in the northern township, and that he was hated by all. That, while working as an officer in their super-maximum lockdown unit, a fight was staged between several Aryan Warrior inmates. He responded to the scene, but soon realized all his fellow backup officers had disappeared.
An unsecured food flap suddenly opened. His arm was grabbed, and forcibly pulled through the flap into the cell, where the inmate inside sliced his arm open with a AIDS infected syringe. Cedric explained that within a short period of time his health began a quick downturn. The Department of Prisons refused his medical claim, stating that the incident in question never happened, and that Cedric lived a promiscuous lifestyle. I knew this to be untrue. Secondly, a trusted nurse had transferred from this township to work at the prison I where I was currently assigned. She confirmed that the incident, as explained by Cedric, was in fact true. However, the nurse was so paranoid for her safety that she refused to testify or document anything related to this incident as fact. Without any form of respect or mercy, Cedric was harassed by both management and staff in the most torturous mannerisms. But, it wasn't long before Cedric became too weak to even come to work, much less perform any of his duties. A short time later Cedric was admitted to the AIDS ward at a local hospital in Las Vegas where he died soon after his arrival. I took Cedric's deathbed statement. In the aftermath I was stonewalled at every juncture. Even Afro-Americans now in upper management rejected my inquiries. They did concede that Cedric's story was most likely true, but assured me there was absolutely no way the department would ever reopen this case for investigation. It was at this time I decided to go into a full scale war with the department and the racist cliques.
During the deathbed statement of my now deceased partner, Officer Cedric P., he had informed me that after he had completed the one year requirement as an officer, he had joined the union and paid all his dues in a timely manner. Cedric detailed how he had filed multiple complaints of harassment and discrimination while at the northern Nevada prison where he transferred. Requests for the union's representation in these matters fell on deaf ears. The situation was no different with the union in the aftermath of the assault on him which ended up taking his life. It was now time for me to turn my attention to the "good ole boy" network that also had a stronghold over union membership. It was somewhat of a relief to see that in our prison, women and minorities were now being hired at a pace like never before. The union representatives were certainly angry with the newly appointed Afro-American warden of our prison. In retaliation against our warden, the union decided to file a reverse discrimination suit against his hiring practices. It was time for me to do some homework. I desired to at least make a dent in the union's practices. I felt that would be a good beginning. I calculated the amount of minorities that were now at our prison and the total amount of possible votes that I would have once each minority had completed their one year of service. I was licking my chops. I would, in time, not only have the votes to initiate a recall election of our chapter union representatives, but I would also have the votes necessary to kick these same local union representatives out of our prison chapter. I organized multiple off duty meetings with all minorities who worked in our institution and received pledges from each minority to join the union at their one year employment anniversary. I then went to our local union hall and demanded that changes be made in their operations. I demanded that minority union members be heard, and receive the same benefits and representation as any of their Caucasian constituents. I also demanded that the reverse discrimination suit filed against the warden of our prison be immediately dropped. The union representatives told me to resign my membership. I refused. I then told the union representatives, "In the next seven months, I have enough pledges from women and minorities to not only hold a recall election of your positions, but enough to replace each one of you."
The delegation of "good ole boys" laughed at me, saying, "We will not accept the applications of either women or minorities to become union members." I replied, "You do that, and I'll have your butts! I will then clearly have enough evidence of discriminatory practices to win the entire war against you right here and now. I will have this union decertified. Would you like to know how I will go about that?" Their laughing stopped immediately, and those smiles disappeared just as quickly. The union officials went into private consultation. Approximately forty-five minutes later the meeting broke up. The union decided to drop the reverse discrimination suit against our warden. The union also agreed not to deny women and minorities union membership. Additionally the union agreed to represent all members equally in all matters that require representation by their charter. In the union's closed-door meeting, there were union officials who were in strong opposition of the concessions made. From this point on, union officials and representatives were divided. This local union only lasted three more years before the international union took over and dismissed all of the "good ole boys" from the now past regime. It is more than fair to say that Officer Cedric P. gave his life in the line of duty, even though it has never been officially recognized as such. His death lead to the actions that now provide each minority and woman equal rights in the workplace and in union representation in the prison system.