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Democracy Now!

Former Attica Prisoner Describes Racist, Brutal Treatment That Sparked Deadly Uprising 50 Years Ago

On the 50th anniversary of the Attica prison uprising, the deadliest prison uprising in U.S. history, "Democracy Now!" speaks with Tyrone Larkins, a formerly incarcerated survivor, who was shot three times in the brutal crackdown of September 13, 1971.

He describes Attica as “the roughest place that I’ve ever seen in my life,” as he recalls what led to the rebellion on September 9, 1971, when prisoners overpowered guards and took over much of Attica prison in upstate New York to protest conditions. At the time, prisoners spent most of their time in their cells and got one shower per week. Larkins lays out how tense negotiations with politicized prisoners followed, and says the rebellion was on its way to being resolved through diplomacy when Governor Nelson Rockefeller ordered state police to storm the facility. Police opened fire, killing 29 inmates and 10 hostages.

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