By Reed Lindsay for FAIR – As residents were evicted from the Oceti Sakowin Camp where they had gathered to oppose the Dakota Access Pipeline, filmmaker and journalist Reed Lindsay posted this update on the continued assault on the First Amendment faced by independent journalists covering the #NODAPL struggle. Filmmaker Jahnny Lee working with the Sundance Institute was arrested yesterday by North Dakota police while filming a stand-off between police and water protectors. He was charged with “obstruction of a government function.” I can only surmise that the charge of “criminal trespass,” leveled at Jihan Hafiz and many other journalists while covering events of the Standing Rock resistance against the DAPL pipeline, could not be used against Jahnny because he was on State Highway 1806. (How can one trespass on a highway?)
By Kate Bradshaw for Creative Lofting Tampa Bay – Temperatures were dipping into unfriendly territory Saturday afternoon as sports fans flocked to the events at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park. At nearby Lykes Gaslight Park, members of Tampa’s homeless community were gathered for hot coffee and bagels, courtesy of the group Food Not Bombs. There were no altercations, no illicit substances, no bad behavior—unless you count that, according to the City of Tampa, that coffee and bagels were illegal. Why? Because you have to have a special permit in order to offer free food to the needy in city parks.
By Nadia Prupis for Common Dreams – More than 40 Indigenous activists, Gulf Coast residents, and other climate leaders have reportedly occupied the U.S. Department of the Interior, demanding no new fossil fuel leases on public lands and waters. Several arrests have also been reported. The protesters entered the lobby of the department chanting, “Keep it in the ground!” The Center for Biological Diversity, an environmental group that is taking part in the events, said the action represented an escalation of the Keep It In The Ground campaign
By American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin. “The Milwaukee Police Department has once again demonstrated its preference for occupation, excessive force and belligerence over genuine engagement, civil dialog, and de-escalation,” said Larry Dupuis, Legal Director of the ACLU of Wisconsin. “People have a right to stand on a street corner – to observe and record the police, as Jarrett was doing, or for any other reason. Unfortunately, rather than protecting people and their rights, law enforcement in this community all too often engages in the sort of destructive behavior to which Jarrett and Jonathan were subjected last night. Although no one deserves to be treated like this, the police made the mistake this time of abusing people who were in a position to insist on their rights.” Jarrett English said, “The situation was confusing, because I really did not know what I was being arrested for. It was embarrassing and dehumanizing . . . ”
By Anne Meador for DC Media Group – The Sheriff, District Attorney and a judge in Huntingdon County, PA may have stretched the law and infringed on individual civil rights in assisting a gas transmission company to get a wildlife sanctuary cleared for pipeline construction. Sunoco Logistics Partners is in the midst of eminent domain proceedings in Central Pennsylvania to construct the Mariner East 2 pipeline. A court order favorable to the company, punitive bail set for activists resisting the clear-cut for the pipeline, plus allegations of endangerment and arbitrary arrests
By Coryn Wolk for Clean Air – Huntingdon, PA – Backed by Huntingdon County sheriff’s deputies, Sunoco Logistics Partners’ chainsaws cut a swath through forest that the Gerhart family had protected for decades, clearing the way for the Mariner East 2 pipeline. By March 30 the 3-acre right-of-way was almost entirely cleared, aside from two trees occupied by protesters on platforms high above the ground and some adjacent trees. One of the tree-sitters is Elise Gerhart, whose mother, property owner Ellen Gerhart, was arrested along with two others.
By Kate Erbland for Indie Wire – Documentarian and anti-fracking pioneer Josh Fox was arrested last week in Washington, D.C. while doing two of the things he does best: Protesting fracking and filming the entire thing. Fox was on hand to protest the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for its role in continuing to permit fossil fuel projects that will greatly accelerate climate change. More specifically, Fox and a group of like-minded individuals were protesting FERC’s role in using eminent domain to condemn and clear-cut a wide swath of maple trees across the Holleran family maple syrup farm in New Milford, Pennsylvania…
By Derek Royden for Occupy – The case of Paul Aker – a man recently arrested in Houston on a warrant that, authorities say, was issued for his failure to appear in court regarding an almost 30-year-old, $1,500 student loan – isn’t unique. As many as 1,500 people are facing similar penalties in Houston alone, and many thousands of others elsewhere across the country. Still, the image of seven heavily armed and armored U.S. Marshals taking a shackled man to jail for an ancient, unpaid student loan of such a trivial amount put the college debt crisis back into the spotlight – if only for a few days.
By M. David for The Free Thought Project – Tremonton, UT — Bear River, Utah resident Rex Iverson, 45, died in the Box Elder County Jail on January 23 after being incarcerated for his failure to pay an ambulance bill. A deputy arrested him on a $350 bench warrant issued by the justice court on December 29. He was found unresponsive in his cell by a detention deputy a few hours after being arrested. “We go to great lengths to never arrest anybody on these warrants,” Box Elder County Chief Deputy Sheriff Dale Ward told the Ogden Standard-Examiner.
By Staff of Undernews – Fox News, Houston TX – The US Marshals Service in Houston is arresting people for not paying their outstanding federal student loans. Paul Aker says he was arrested at his home last week for a $1500 federal student loan he received in 1987. He says seven deputy US Marshals showed up at his home with guns and took him to federal court where he had to sign a payment plan for the 29-year-old school loan.
By Staff of Mint Press News – On Wednesday, NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton urged state legislators to consider increasing the penalty for resisting arrest from a misdemeanor to a felony. The change, he argued, would help New Yorkers “get around this idea that you can resist arrest. You can’t.” It would also give cops an easy way to turn victims of their own worst impulses into the worst class of criminal. In theory, a resisting arrest charge allows the state to further punish suspects who endanger the safety of police officers as they’re being apprehended…
By Karen Vale for Cape Cod Bay Watch. Plymouth, MA – Seventy-three year old Paul Rifkin of Mashpee, Mass. was on trial February 2 at Plymouth District Court. The charge was trespassing at Entergy’s Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station on Mother’s Day in 2015 during a rally with 40 other protestors. Two people were arrested, and it was Rifkin’s third arrest at Pilgrim. Rifkin refused to plead guilty or accept a deal with the prosecution because his actions last May, he stated, “deserved commendation, not condemnation.” He chose to have a jury trial with the possibility of jail time. A jury of six was selected and Rifkin represented himself.
By Patrick O’Neill for NCR – Wondering if she will ever see her mother again, Catholic anti-drone activist and grandmother Mary Anne Grady Flores made a final stop Tuesday, Jan. 19, to say goodbye to her mother, Teresa Grady, before leaving Ithaca, N.Y., to report to jail to begin serving a six-month jail sentence in East Syracuse, N.Y. In a case that has dragged on for almost three years, Grady Flores, 59, chauffeured by two of her four children, headed off into a threatening winter snowstorm hoping to get to the Town of DeWitt Court by Tuesday afternoon, where she was remanded to custody at the Jamesville Correctional Facility.
Syracuse, NY – Carrying flowers and three documents to Hancock Field Air National Guard Base can result in severe consequences. Drone resister Mark Colville of the Amistad Catholic Worker, New Haven, Connecticut, was found guilty after a two-day trial and fifty minutes of deliberation by a DeWitt Town Court jury. On December 9th, 2013, Colville and two Yale Divinity students brought a People’s Order of Protection to the front gate of the base to demand an end to drone attacks which are carried out from Hancock. This action was in response to a recent request by Raz Mohammad, an Afghan national, whose brother-in law was killed by a U.S. military drone strike. Gate personnel rejected the petition.
CINCINNATI —Nine Greenpeace protesters were arrested after a pair of multi-story banners was hung from the two Procter & Gamble towers in downtown Cincinnati on Tuesday. “It was pretty bizarre when that run came out that we had people hanging from the building. The first thought was its window washers. But then we heard about the banners that were coming down and everything else and certainly it was much more than that,” Capt. Paul Broxterman said. He said the activists had broken window locks to get out, then braced the windows shut so police couldn’t get to them.