Monday, January 11, 2016


Major Tillery with his daughter Kamilah and two granddaughters

First Amendment Lawsuit Against Retaliation For Fighting for Medical Treatment For Mumia Abu-Jamal and All Prisoners

Major Tillery filed a civil rights lawsuit pro se against John Wetzel, Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC), SCI Mahanoy Superintendent John Kerestes, SCI Frackville Superintendent Brenda Tritt and 17 other prison officials. The DOC punished and retaliated against Tillery for acts of solidarity with Mumia Abu-Jamal and other prisoners fighting for the fundamental human right of medical care. The lawsuit was filed in the Schuylkill County Court of Common Pleas on January 5, 2015:

This is a civil rights action brought by Major George Tillery, a 65 year-old African-American man to stop and remedy retaliation against him for his exercise of his First Amendment Rights. Tillery was subjected to numerous retaliatory acts by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections and its employees, including medical neglect and medical mistreatment, unjustified cell searches, transfer to another cell block, loss of his prison job and precipitous transfer from SCI Mahanoy to SCI Frackville and then being set-up with a false misconduct and given over four months in disciplinary custody (solitary confinement).

This retaliation was intended to punish and stop Tillery from filing grievances challenging medical neglect and mistreatment of him and other prisoners, including the well-known journalist and former death row prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal. This retaliation was punishment for Tillery continuing to publicly advocate for Mumia Abu-Jamal, and to publicly expose the DOC’s neglect and mistreatment of prisoner’s medical problems as well as the DOC’s retaliation against Tillery; and continuing to file grievances objecting to these retaliatory actions by prison officials.
Throughout his over thirty years in prison serving a sentence of life without parole, Tillery has challenged his conviction and sentence, and unconstitutional restrictions on access to courts, prison conditions including security classification and placement procedures, medical treatment, and housing conditions on behalf of himself and other prisoners.  He was held in solitary confinement in super-max institutions in the federal and Pennsylvania prison systems for over twenty of those years.
Tillery was the lead plaintiff in Tillery v. Owens, a class action lawsuit filed July 23, 1987, challenging the constitutionality of the conditions of confinement at the State Correctional Institution at Pittsburgh ("SCIP") located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It started as a pro se legal action by Tillery. It resulted in an historic legal order requiring remediation of unconstitutional prison conditions including deficient security, fire protection, access to the courts, over-crowded housing, medical care, mental health care and dental services. The DOC was required to make prison renovations costing more than a million dollars. See Tillery v. Owens, 719 F.Supp. 1256 (W.D.Pa.1989).

Major Tillery demands that the DOC stop its retaliation, remove the false misconduct from his record, provide medical treatment and transfer him out of SCI Frackville to a different prison in eastern Pennsylvania so he remains near his family.

This lawsuit is just part of Major Tillery’s fight for medical care and to protect himself and other prisoners who are standing up for justice. He has liver disease and chronic Hepatitis C that the DOC has known about for over a decade. Tillery is filing grievances against the prison and its medical staff to get the new antiviral medicine. This is part of the larger struggle to obtain Hep C treatment for the 10,000 prisoners in Pennsylvania and the estimated 700,000 prisoners nationally who have Hepatitis-C and could be cured.

Major Tillery’s daughter, Kamilah Iddeen appeals for our support:

It is so important that my Dad filed this lawsuit– it shows what really goes on inside the prison. Prison officials act as if my father is their property, that his family doesn’t exist, that he isn’t a man with people who love him. They lied to us every time we called and said he needed treatment. They lied and said he hadn’t told them, that he hadn’t filed grievances. The DOC plays mind games and punishes prisoners who stand up for themselves and for others. But my Dad won’t be broken.

The DOC needs to learn they can’t do this to a prisoner and his family. Justice has to be done. Justice has to be served. Please help.

Demand the Department of Corrections:

  • Stop the Retaliation Against Major Tillery.
  • Exonerate Major Tillery for the false charges of drug possession.
  • Remove the false misconduct from Major Tillery’s record.
  • Transfer Major Tillery from SCI Frackville to another facility in eastern Pennsylvania near his family.
  • Provide decent medical care to Major Tillery and all prisoners!

Call and Email John Wetzel, Secretary of the PA Department of Corrections,
John Wetzel (717) 728-4109
Contact Gov. Wolf

Send Letters of support to:
Major Tillery AM 9786
SCI Frackville
1111 Altamont Blvd.
Frackville, PA 17931

Contribute: Go to; code: Major Tillery AM 9786 PADOC

For More Information:

Call/Write: Kamilah Iddeen (717) 379-9009,      
Nancy Lockhart (843) 412-2035,                                          
Rachel Wolkenstein, Esq. (917) 689-4009,                                         

1 comment:

  1. GM! This morning while at work I was speaking with a coworker at my place of employment and was speaking of Major Harris (artist " Love Won't Let Me Wait") and I said to my coworker, "his name is Major Tillery" and my coworker said "no it's Major Harris" and that's when I remember Major Tillery when I was 16 years of age and I remember the stories of this man. I remember the good deeds of this man as well as the bad deeds, and he's a human being. I respect him as a man because he stood for what was right and yes I know of the past events that society had labeled on this man and what he has done in his own, but let's not forget " to every action there's a re-action" and let's not forget that there were other parties involved. Yes the prison staff are all racist and liars and are mistreating inmates as we speak, but remember that the higher power that watches over us all "knows all and sees all" and will have the last say. I'm pro Major Tillery", all day everyday and I was 16 years of age when he was being falsely accused in the 80's and wow just imagine all of the other men and women who have had an injustice bestowed upon them. Continue the fight and I will continue mines in this end. Major Tillery Lives.