By Michael Nolan
A march held in support of Marvin Guy, an innocent man imprisoned without trial for seven years, convened at the Texas State Capitol in Austin on Saturday. The protest was led by the Elmer Geronimo Pratt Gun Club (EGPGC), a Black self-defense organization, marching in formation with rifles and body armor, followed by the family and supporters of Guy, the legal advocacy non-profit Grassroots Law Project (GLP), as well as other activists.
In May of 2014, officers from the Killeen Police Department broke into the home of Marvin Guy around 5:40 a.m. under a no-knock warrant obtained through a tip from an unrevealed ‘confidential source.’ When the police entered, Guy fired on a figure breaking in through his window. Subsequently, a fumbled flash bang grenade went off, and after 42 shots were fired, one officer was dead and two injured. It has not been shown whether the shots that hit the officers were fired by Guy or by other officers in the chaos.
Officers proceeded to hold Guy to the ground with a knee to his spine. Officer Juan E. Obregon Jr. shoved a gun in Guy’s mouth until he vomited and an unnamed officer put a gun into Guy’s anus. No drugs were found, contradicting the false information of the police.
Guy was charged with five felonies, including capital murder of a peace officer, by an all-white grand jury and has awaited trial ever since. Guy’s supporters have contrasted his case with a similar incident in 2014 from Burleson County, which involved a white man named Henry Magee. Magee shot and killed an officer during a no-knock raid for drugs and was determined by a grand jury to have acted in self-defense, serving time only for the marijuana they found.
As the protest gathered on Saturday, Guy’s brother, Garrett Galloway, video-called Guy to show him the crowd that had come out to march for him. Guy said that the district attorney was acting in bad faith by not bringing forward requested evidence, and that his health was being intentionally neglected. An injury to his spine from the police attack has left Guy with a degenerative spinal condition, chronic pain, and visible inflammation along his left side.
Guy could be seen on the phone screen raising his fist in solidarity with the crowd. The march soon proceeded from the George Washington Carver Library in East Austin to the state capitol. The EGPGC chanted, “Black power,” and “Arm yourself,” as they marched down the streets. Other marchers began chants of “Seven years, no trial!”
As the march arrived at the state capitol, a small number of demonstrators holding signs advocating for those arrested in the reactionary January 6, riots at the US Capitol were engulfed by the much larger number of Marvin Guy supporters. Members of GLP and EGPGC delivered speeches calling for greater organization and demanded justice for Guy.
Guy has been held in captivity for seven years as the State continues to delay his trial, in the hopes that he dies in prison and the crimes of the police are not aired in public court. According to Galloway, one corrections officer resigned over the corruption of other guards who intentionally skip Guy while distributing meals.
Guy’s health and prospects for receiving a trial dwindled for six years before Nick Bezzel of EGPGC began to support Guy’s case. Galloway told Tribune, “[Bezzel] showed so much passion about this cause, and to watch the fight in him put the fight into me.”
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