Part One of Riot is about the Drumheller Federal Institution riot of January 2, 1997. Three and half hours of madness that Gillis was a part of from start to finish.Support the show
the way. Plain English podcast. I'm your host, Erin Frisbee. We're doing things a little differently this week. We're dropping a midweek. Absurd to you guys can listen to it on your way to work or at work and you hit funds. It's also gonna be a lot shorter as well. We'll split this one into two parts, and this week's absurd is about the riot. Gillis is reference quite a few times in past episodes. It's about the ride that happened Drumheller, which is about 100 kilometers outside Calgary on January 2nd, 1997. As usual, Gillis is very involved in the stories that he's telling. He's very involved in the riot that took place, and he's got some very interesting stories. So I hope you guys enjoy this one first part off, right? Well, I'm cracking to this. This right you're talking about
Oh, my. What prison was is that I was in Drumheller. So is it the 1st 1? You're ready? No, I I went to Evanston Max first.
So this is a medium security prison.
The medium security. This is Drumheller. This is in Alberta.
Can you run a street quickly? But the different screen Mex medium and minimum.
Well, Max is Max, of course, and usually you're locked up 23 hours a day, 22 hours a day. Um, that that's, you know, usually when there was just there's a reason for the drug to be locked down there was stabbed being or they're doing annual searches and they're finding a bunch of contraband. So for the good order institution, you know they'll lock it down more. Um, the medium is pretty much the same as the Max, other than you're not locked down all the time. And so movement isn't as controlled. So say in the max. Um, the guards control the movement between all the ranges. You can't. You can't just walk wherever you want. When you go to the minimum or to the medium medium, you can go out and bomb around wherever you want. When it's not working hours, Uh, you got to get a pass or say you'll get a pass saying you go to the gym. But then you're allowed to walk to the gym yourself. You can stop wherever you want along the way. Talk to every bump into there's more movement and we only get locked down when there's been an altercation of calling emergency lock down there is assault or something like that, their lockers down, mother investigating it for two or three days and then the lettuce back. Oh, a minimum security. That's when you're outside the fence, so you're you're not in the community. Your most minimums are usually just outside of the medium. They're just outside the fence and but on the same property and in my minimum security. It's They used to let people go to the community, get passes to go to jobs, but that's been phased out. Now you just sit in the community, your sit outside defence and basically just establish trust. And then it's easier to get parole from over there. But, I mean, really, we're all the same. You're you're sitting inside a presenting a cell and how much freedom of movement you have basically determines, you know, from an inmate's perspective, the difference between them from the guards perspective, the amount of control they have over your movement is the difference between a medium maximum and a minimum, right? So you know what makes that makes him in prison? How would anything go on if you're only allowed for allowed out for a narrow day like how did you get staying? Looks like younger. Something's well, How did that work? Well, so it's so like I said, that's when the jails, um, locked up the most. But even on the range. So on the range just 20 guys, right, And you guard on the range. The guards are in a bubble, right? So that's like a secure area with windows so they can see down the Rangers, right. The guards air locked in there, So the inn motel out on the range. So even when we're in 20 our lockdowns were only open. Our you've got 10 to 15 of us over on one range for an hour together, and we all all got a shower or make our phone calls stuff like that in that small amount of time. And so that's when we get off Spurs shower, separate story. But we all get out. And that's our only one hour, um, out sometimes that you have four or five guys out at a time to break up the date. There could be altercations, even just in that small crowd of guy but usually you're not locked up for 23 hours a day. You have you have See, um, outside yard, where you can go to the weight pit, or you can go up and walk laps in the yard, Um, for an hour and 1/2. So when you're in your range, when your unit right gets out, you all get out at once. And so then you can all go out to the yard or to the gym. Now you've got 2030 40 guys out at one time. Now you can have more alter altercations, right? Sometimes you have. Ah, um, so shows and stuff like that you have a, you know, lots of guy. Pretty much the whole jlo. Plus, you got people from the community inside the jail. So there's different situations in the Joe when the guards have a certain amount of control over guys. But you got inmates that all goto works in the kitchen. You have, you know, 2030 40 inmates. I all just working in the kitchen at one job. You could have 2030 inmates in court time working, and, you know, whatever shops they have, you have guys open programs and only 15 20 guys each program, and there will be 10 or so programs going at once. And it will be a cog skills program, a stress management program, Ah, communications program and, you know, an anger management program. So there's a lot of movement. There's a lot of guys. Oh, about
So there's lots of opportunities for thus those hip
slobbering. It's our opportunities for shit to go crazy. So one lead What
lead to the right thing?
Well, so that's in. That's in medium. And so so during the day, we all have to goto work or something, or locked up in your cell. Or if you're cleaner, you can, uh, go in the afternoon to use the gym. Um, or if you're on self study, you can get out to a swell ah, like doing school work in yourself. That's for the morning, afternoon and evening. We're all allowed all at once, but we have four units and you're not allowed on each other's units. So if you're from ah unit, you can only be on that unit unless you're a member of coordinators Inmate committee, then you can go on different units. You get a little card Obama around. So what happened with the right on this time? Remember I told you this guards there like Robocops. They're fucking a couple. Yeah, they're super cops. They want to get They come to work looking for fucking trouble. They want, you know, make somebody's fucking life hard. I don't understand them in Cali. Other guards that have to work with him sometimes don't even like, is there. Like you're just making more work for us. Like, just chill. Oh, you have to go in search everybody's cells and stuff, like just leave it alone. Anyways, this is one of those situations where a friend of mine was lending his TV. Was it, like to another friend? And I came out of their lending it earlier. They were selling it to each other. Um, but one of these Robocop guards caught to play and then came and tried to take the TV. And so, while the guard had the TV in his hands and was trying to take it, Another friend of ours, this is so there's four units in there, but they started eight. So there's Unit eight, unit, nine year candy Unit 11 unit is each unit has, um, about 140 guys on it. Um Ah. So on unit eight, the guard tried to take TV from my friends. Another friend of theirs was on the rings, jumped up when the guard had the t b and in his hands and take a TV A The guards hands and the guard got all scared and took off off the range. So now all of a sudden, there's talk really quick, going around, agility over, going to write everything. The guard, they're going to ride on Unit eight in this talk went around really quickly. It was, like 8 30 at night. Um, when I was on my neck, I was on unit 11. I'm some. When we got to know, there may be a riot and everything. Don't lock up at 10. 30. Everyone's going out to the yard. Right? And if trying, calling emergency lock down, lock up, Don't lock up. Um and so I was like, OK, I didn't really believe we're going to might me and my friend, my friend Robbie. We're bomber on looking for oil or some type of smoke dope. We wanted to get high in shit. Um though were were born around. We have found some oil and were jokingly said, Let's smoke this oil and we'll go outside and see what happens. At the very least, maybe we'll have a sit down. So that's where we refused to lock up, right? Yeah. Um and so all this is a bus because the guards don't need to take TVs and stuff. I guess the guards have been being real assholes on unity, doing a lot of searches over there, taking people's TV that aren't on their property cards and stuff like just being assholes. And so this was kind of the straw that broke Camel's back and the guys over there had enough, and they basically said, Fuck, this were riding right there are worked up over this incident. So lockups at 10 30 we smoked oil and then we go outside. And so we're just sitting out there and there's a lot of guys out there and everyone's getting backed up talking. So now I'm thinking I there's no way we right, I says, You watch when they call locked down. Everyone's going to return to their Selves. All sign. It's like 10 25 or so. It's like five minutes away from lock down, and I'm surprised the guards hadn't called emergency Lock down that all of a sudden you see on unity you can't see the fire, but you can see how the fire looks like there. The orange and yellow and red flashes for your makes manure on a wall and stuff. When it's burning and conceived the window. We can see those type of colors coming from the winners. I'm according fuck, I think Unity. It's on fire like they lit a fire in there. Sure not to get a fire up on G rays. That's like open range where everyone can go on play cars and stuff like that. It started a fire up there. That's where the pool table is and what would they burn? The So I don't know what they lit on fire up there, but that's where the fire started. Uh, was up on one G range of unity, and so I'm on you. And 11. It's just a square bus right to support unit. And so I'm sitting in front of you 11. I look up at it and I'm like, Holy fuck, We're going off. So everyone starts hollering out on the yard. Woo, but not really doing anything. Your enemy. Nobody's do. Unit eight Starting to riot. The guards are on intercom. Tell anyone to go back to their cells and lock up and stuff. You see some guys actually starting to walk back in the units, other guys in the yard, just fruit and hollering. So there's a guy standing beside us and he's got this white shirt. It's like a thermal T shirt, like a thermal long sleeve shirt. All right, I've got time. I can't give me that. Grab it in, my friend Robin, like you're as I'm rip it in half. I grabbed half to my friend Robbie and Blues acute ifixit allergic. But we need it. And like, I my piece on to me. And then I yell at Robert, Let's get this going as retired on. Let's get this going in our unit. So then I open up the door and I'm young and everybody in the yard because everyone gather up in the yard. I'm yelling at everybody. Come on in. Here is getting in this fucking smash this. You're that dude and so everyone starts running into my community. So the front door that I was holding, I'd let go that my friend Robert grab there's a second door in our foyer in the way opens up. It's got two big pieces of glass. And so I opened it up so that I was all the way in the corner behind it. And then as people start running in, someone that would ran by me smashed the glass is glass smashed over Miss. I let go of that door, and that's when I ran the 1,000,040 To join the right now is I'm yelling, Everybody come in. And that's when my friend Robbie had the pool balls and came running up to me. And now we're in the meat were circled the bubble where all the guards are, and they're on the intercom and they're saying all inmates returned yourself. All inmates return to yourself and you can see the guards in there, and they got a little escape hatch in the floor where they take off behind this other big door. Um, we start throwing the pool balls at the glass. That's my friend. Ozzy comes with the big floor burnishes the floor buffer. You start swinging at the bubble SMI smashed. There's two layers of glass. He gets through the 1st 1 It's like 1/2 breaks a second when it is prying it back. Others have stuck. The witness. Three guards in the bubble. There's a female garden to male guards. The two male guards run into their to their little escape hatch. The female guard stays, though, and that she's like pleading with us. She's a you guys, please go back to yourselves. You don't have to do this. Just go back to yourselves and lock up like I give her credit for being brave enough to stay there as we're smashing this thing in my head. I'm not smashing to get in there and try and hurt her. You know what I mean? I don't. Anybody else's. We were smashing. It's that they're getting their little steep hats and fuck off and we're gonna fucking getting there. We're gonna open up all the cells that guys are locked up there to get them out. Where to get to the guys. They're locked up in there hiding that. We want to get to. What's this?
Is it just a gargle. Ask the bubble that you told me it. Is it just a glass dome
thing? Yeah, So, yeah, it's just big metal on glass dome thing and there's glass all around so the guards can see out and see down all of the Rangers. Right? And there's the range is it's like you have six Rangers altogether. A B C D E f. There's but they run down three big arms. There's an upper and lower range upper and lower range upper and origin that run lengthwise down. So there's three long ranges down, but with ups upper and lower level. Um, And so Ozzie smashes the buck buffer through All the guards have gone into the back room of their But Burnell, they got that door locked and we get into the main one and then, Ah, our little friend of mine, baby. He is being Amis. He jumps through the whole I Aussie open in humans up the main, the first door for the bubble so we can get into it. So now we're into it, and we're all pushing all the buttons like and then one guy starts smashing one of the panels like a moron. Fuck! Can't remember who it is. Good to hold him. Fucking knock and I fucking push the buttons. Don't smash the panel, right? You want to be able to fucking We wanted to work on our period. And so then we're pushing all the bottles. BTO, open up all the cells. You could hear guys young myself still locked myself. Still are. I mean, guys, a running back. You joined a person's or buttons open to get theirselves open. And then there's some guys trying to re lock their cell door. So there's, like, he really locked his door, pushed his button again. Even the guy, they're trying to get the doors open. Other They want a punch him over because they're hiding in their cells, for whatever reason, right? Yeah. So that's what goes on when we first get in there. And then there's a second part of the room where the guards go down this little escape paths through the floor into the little tunnel that can take and above the door there's this. There's the square vent. And so, my friend baby, the little beat me spend of ours. He fits through the first hole be made in the last open up the door to get a sense where Tom Hey, go through there again because that's where all the paperwork is on all the guys so we can read their files. That's not where their main paperwork is. Like what? They're in foreign stuff. It's all the paperwork of the guards. Don't like what the guards see what inmates have come and told the guards with inmates of witness dart other inmates doing or set in the phone room Find out who
the snitch is. A.
That we can find out who the snitch is. Are you strike? Um, And so I tell Baby, I said, You're going through there and he's like No, my like, you can fit more, but it's up highest, like eight feet up high. So we're pushing through head foot or head headfirst through. And then he's holding, just trying to put himself back in his hollered. It's to highs, too. What's him through anyways? Right? We hear him hit on the other side. You swear? Not us in beauty, you know Mama Longbow. Open fucking door! Open the door. So he opens up the door. So then we get in, we get all this paperwork. And then as we're grabbing it, there's me a couple buddies of mine and we're getting in and armed lords and trying. Remember who? So it was Wrolich, Take it the source. So? So because guys, they're running up his money. There's haze mind, and we're all laughing about it, you know? Like, why? Why? I want to see your paperwork or something. Don't want us to see. So we're taking all the paperwork to this one in front of our cell, and then we're gonna hand it out to guys as they come. You want to get because some guys want to see the proper use of doing this. You went They want to see what guards air. Writing about what other guys want the paperwork because they don't want us to see what they've got in tow. But guards eso There's a couple guys. We found out about it and there were some fucked up shit about him, but most of it was a waste of time. It was, like, just nonsense stuff right there. Hey, mate was seen sneaking something onto the range inmate was heads another inmate in his cell like wasteful information. But we did find out some There was some stuff in there. There was one guy with saying stuff in the phone room saying that he was in debt to, you know, different people's names and stuff. And so that's a bad thing to do, because that's like snitching on these guys in a way, because the guards still know that these guys got drugs and they've obviously got you in debt because it's so going in. Solution insane. You're in debt and who choose. It's it's snitching, right? Yeah. Um, but eso that. So we get all the paperwork were done of my buddies range. Um, and some guys are still locked in their cells. I got my one friend with me, my friends friend Robbie, and we're running around trying to tell guys Hey, we want a fucking you go and do a bunch of shit and we're asking guys, you know, hey, we want to get a set of yourself, will run back to the bubble and push the button each other yourself. I know I pushed all the buttons on this area where I was, So I'm like, Why are so many people still locked in yourself looking back and guys were re locking themselves up and saying they're Selden open because they didn't want to come right, cause I one of our bodies, we went, you know, always talked about being hard core. He's like, wherever I was. Voices always like raspy and shit. So we thought for sure he was gonna come join us doing some shit. We went to his Sellinger. We had it open already. And when the cake one that he's ago. No, I can't always excuse for you. I've seen I've seen it already. I don't need to see this. I just just getting myself. What the fuck I Come on. How often do you get the fucking riot, Lee? But anyways, you know, we started to realize that I hate all these guys were coming and asking to come do shit with us. They don't want to come. You stop One of the things we wanted to go do what we're trying to get people come to you was we want to go on attack all the pimps, right? All the guys air in there for fucking pimping, underage girls and, you know, beat them and stuff so that it would work for him. To us, that's there was a rate beefs, right? So me and my friend, we want to go and get him and we're asking guys to come with us and stuff, and they're all like, No, no other job, you know? Ah, so we head out to the back 40 just me and my one, buddy. Really? Fuck it. We'll do it ourselves. So oh, in the back 40 years with skating rink is and that's where all the hockey equipment it plus in the yard. When we head out in the yard, there's a big there's a couple of fires, but there's this big fire Guys have run up with all of the computers and everything they've smashed from inside, and they've got him on a big pile burning them all. Uh, when I was running down the Rangers to when I was inside, I was running out of smashing all the lights, and I was fucking, um, tell him telling all the guys that go on the range is really like And don't be afraid. That bucket smashed the place. You still like that? And, uh, then I headed outside with my friends. Ah, I can't remember. Oh, yeah. I ran over to the other unit to check on. Remember I told you my one younger friend. I went to check and see how he's doing. Ah, the young kid. When I ran over there to check on him, I left my friends friend Robbie alone for a second. But I came back to find him. He's walking up to me, you squinting his eyes and he's got his hands up. He's like, I can't see. You can see he's French like his words for, like smoke, Uh and, um, like smoke from a fire and smoke from tear gas from the canisters that they're throwing into the yard. He's calling the cure guy Smoke, I'm thinking, means smoke from the fires. He's walking me. He's like, I got smoke in my eyes. I can't see. Just as I'm telling him what don't stand so close to the fucking fire and then all of a sudden it hits me Mam, your gosh. Right now I can't see either. All the fuck that strong. It's now we're both walking. Weaken bear. You see, it's winter time and we're walking towards the back 40 while the main path that everybody walks because everyone wash on its tamp down the snows Ice This is in Alberta, right? January 2nd, This is middle fucking winter in the winter and it's night time. It's past 10. 30 at night. Now it's like 11 11 3 something like that. We're so we're walking kind of like and see, slipping, sliding And then fucking we get to the snow. We're fucking trying to get this stuff out of our eyes. And as I'm like, Hey, we should fucking going Get the fucking ski equipment are the hockey equipment and fucking we're going. Those guys, he's like, OK, as do that our original plan that we had earlier. And so we start walking towards the hockey shock and we hear like a gunshot. And, you know, both of us must have thought the same thing like, resented us. And then my friend Robbie looks at me and he was excessive. Like, I think that might be something like shooting at us Halloween. I did. You can hear someone hollering, too. So we approached down and we start. So there's like, a shoveled path where the snow bank on each side. I'm all the way to the hockey shock. So we're on hands and knees now. Go on. Really careful. Um, and then all of a sudden we hear another shot, and then the snow bank fucking in front of fucking Robbie. Just proof. Like someone had kicked it like a handful Snow. What? Really? Holy fuck. He turns. Looks at me. I can't remember if he said anything voted. Boom gone return decided running the other way, But issued, right? We don't want to get shot, because what was the show? You just a really live round. So? So we went back again the second time, and we figured out so well after we found out. So if it was a K 40 sevens, it was the assault rifles. It was the army. But if it was shotguns, it was the guards. Some guards like the guards in the towers and shit. They have shotguns. That's what they have. And it just shoots shot. So if something's going on in the yard and one of the guards shoots at you, they're not shooting slugs at us. They're shooting shot at us, right? So it spreads. It covers a big area, and they only do it like worst case scenario. Don't just start shooting eyes for no reason. But if there's something going on the yard like that guard is being assaulted or something in the guards will shoot us. And during riots, apparently So, um, it was a shotgun that was shot at us, and we're pretty sure it was this one guard called Fat Freddy. Fred Minor. Um, we're pretty sure it was him shooting at us. That's the voice we think we heard the second time we went down there because we wanted to get the hockey equipment because we're going to go in when we're telling guys we're going to go and get going. Get the pimps and shit guys were telling us. You better be careful. They're all armed up. They've all got blades up there. Every Lego fucks, we better go and get fucking some hockey equipment. And so that's when we went to get the hockey equipment. And then we went back to go up to the range to get him. They had it all barricaded like every range has its own washer and dryer. And then you got mattresses on the range of stuff. They grabbed everything they could from their range, and they piled it all at the end of the range, so we couldn't get onto the range. So that one range was all basically PC. So, like camps and anyone else that was trying to hide out from the rest of us. Riding hit out on that fucking range so impossibly gets through. And if you did open up a hole to try and get to your problems can end up getting stabbed through it. So where the fuck it we left him alone? Ah, yeah, that was in that, um when I ran out to the other to the other unit toe check on my body to when I tried coming back onto my unit, they also barricaded the front of our unit and they're using the firehose fucking as back up. Just spring when any of the guards that tried coming through Well, we're not left. The unit. They were just building this barricade up and I hopped over it. And then when I came back onto my unit, they had most of it built. I remember pushing something more, really, You know, trying to Come on. Also, I get hit in the face with fucking stinky fucking water and there's fucking my friend, baby. The one that I pushed through the hole to get to get us into the other room to open up the door for us. It was him with the fucking firehose framing fucking like it's me is me walking. So I was also had to goto twice. I had to go to a friend's house and get a change of clothes the first time when I was running down the ranges, smashing all the lights up because the guards could see on the ranges. So I was running high parking, had this stick, and I was running, smashing out all the lights. So I had all the glass all over me said to go and change my clothes, wearable the glass, and that changed my clothes again because I got all soaking wet. Okay? It was a pretty crazy riot fucking out in the backyard a lot in the back 40. There were a lot of guys of air, and what the Army was trying to do is the Army was trying to get us all back under units and all the guys in the back 40 they're trying to get them all into the tennis court. So that Victor Corral, Lysol and then control us. Um oh, in the back 40. I didn't see it, but I heard about it. I guess the guards were the guards, the army. When they came, they landed outside of the prison and they landed outside of our offense with helicopters. And then they got up, just cut their way through defense and came through the fence like assault style into the prison through the fenced. Did you listen when they encountered the guys that wrote in the back 40 all Hooten holder and during their single there, they started to travel them all and try to get them to go all into the back 40. And there was this one guy. He runs out from the crowd and runs towards the Army. When they're all saying, you know, everyone get into the tennis court, he runs out from the group with fucking whatever. Stick it in his head. He's holding something about fuck use. We want fortune, you know, blah, blah, whatever. All of sudden, they shot him. True for two or three shots and they shot the shot. The arm that had the stick. Apparently you drop the steak and charging through the legs like you fell down right there in the snow.
And that is where we're gonna leave this episode off riot. Sorry to do that. To use on a cliff in a, um, spoiler alert. Gillis doesn't die at the end of it, But be sure to tune in next week. We find out why Gillis gets read the riot act and may have something to do with the food that he dislikes. What seems outrageous and it is outrageous, actually. So tune in. Next week, Be sure to subscribe on your podcast player and also greatest center of us. That would be greatly appreciated. Thank you very much for listening this week, and we'll see you next time on plain English.