During the standoff Frank “Big Black” Smith was appointed as head of security, and he also kept the hostages and the observers safe and Elliott James “L.D.” Barkley, who was 21 and days away from being released from hail, led negotiations and spoke with the camera crews.
The government agreed to 28 of the prisoners’ demands, wouldn’t grant amnesty for the prison takeover. Governor Nelson Rockefeller gave the order for state police to take back the prison, leaving ten of the prison staff and 33 inmates dead, including Barkley. New York Assemblyman Arthur Eve testified that Barkley was alive after the prisoners surrendered. An inmate said officers called out for Barkley and shot him in the back. Prosecutors branded the takeover a wanton State Police “turkey shoot.
We are men! We are not beasts and we do not intend to be beaten or driven as such. The entire prison populace, that means each and every one of us here, have set forth to change forever the ruthless brutalization and disregard for the lives of the prisoners here and throughout the United States. What has happened here is but the sound before the fury of those who are oppressed. We will not compromise on any terms except those terms that are agreeable to us. We’ve called upon all the conscientious citizens of America to assist us in putting an end to this situation that threatens the lives of not only us, but of each and every one of you, as well.
Elliott James “L.D.” Barkley, 1971