Eric King Released from Prison After 9+ Years as Political Prisoner

Florence, CO — Political prisoner Eric King was released from prison Tuesday after spending nearly 10 years behind bars. As he walked off the Florence Federal Correctional Complex property toward a small crowd of friends and supporters, his wife and child ran up to him, embracing him tightly.

Eric King, his wife, and their child tucked behind them walked away from the Florence Federal Correctional Complex entrance toward a small crowd of friends and supporters on December 12, 2023.

King had been incarcerated since his arrest on September 16, 2014, five days after he attempted a firebombing of a congressman’s office in Kansas City, Missouri in solidarity with the anti-police uprising in Ferguson that year. Although no one was harmed (he made sure no one was in the building) and the molotov cocktails never ignited, he was charged with one count of using “explosive materials to commit arson of property used in or affecting interstate commerce” (18 U.S.C. § 844).

Nearly three months later, he was sentenced to ten years in federal prison.

Throughout King’s prison sentence, he spent time teaching yoga, practicing mindfulness, writing poems and letters, doing legal work for himself and others, going to the chapel, and taking classes. Despite keeping busy and trying to steer clear of trouble, he was repeatedly attacked and threatened by white supremacists and correctional officers because of his outspoken antifascist and anarchist political beliefs.

To say King is relieved to be out of prison is an understatement. As the vehicle that King, his family and supporters were in began driving away from the prison complex, King said aloud: “I can’t wait to get out of this fucking city.” He’d been held in different prisons in various states throughout his sentence, but while being held at FCI Florence in 2018, he was attacked by a lieutenant correctional officer and forcibly tied to a concrete four-point restraint for over seven hours.

King was eventually charged with assault on a federal officer causing bodily injury, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 111(a)(1), (b). The trial began 4.5 years after the attack, lasted four days, and ended with the jury finding Eric King not guilty on March 18, 2022.

We provided extensive coverage of King’s trial in March 2022, which included rapid live-tweets. Check out our trial coverage here.

Videos with Eric King Interviews: Eric King Highlights Mistreatment and Indignity in PrisonEric King on 4-Point Restraint and Transfer to USP Lee VirginiaEric King Speaks on Testifying at His Federal TrialEric King Speaks on Post-Trial Safety Concerns

The night before King’s release from prison, he was transferred from the ADX facility — the highest security prison in America, where he lived for over a year — to the USP building (both of which are on the Florence Complex), because it’s against the Bureau of Prison rules to release a prisoner directly from the SuperMax.

However, according to King, the guards told him there were no cells available, so they instead placed him in a cell that had a 4-point restraint in it, exactly like the one where he was forcibly restrained after being attacked at the FCI building at the same complex in 2018.

Throughout the two-hour car ride north to Denver, King got acquainted with his new cell phone — a smartphone — which he hadn’t ever used before. He played music on it and sang along to songs by Taylor Swift, Pat The Bunny, Against Me! and others. His wife and daughter spent time going over items they were leaving with him in his two suitcases for the halfway house, where he’ll be spending between two weeks to two months living.

The car ride was full of jokes, laughter, snacks King missed, “real” coffee which tasted incredibly strong to King, braiding of his long hair by his daughter, and hugs, many, many hugs.

Gifts were also shared with King from his wife — most of which had important political meaning to both of them, such as a ‘Free Palestine’ shirt printed in rainbow-colored font, a beaded bracelet resembling the Palestinian flag, and a baseball hat inscribed with ‘No War But Class War.’

King walked out of prison wearing a bright red t-shirt with ‘Protect Trans Kids’ printed on it, which he also wore to the halfway house. “I got to walk out of prison wearing clothes that represent who I am, and so that felt really great.”

Eric King, his wife and child held hands as they walked into a store to get some extra items King needed for his time at the halfway house on December 12, 2023.

Unicorn Riot will be publishing more about Eric King’s release and his life outside prison walls, so stay tuned.

Unicorn Riot coverage of Political Prisoner Eric King:
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