Sabal Trail Pipeline Protester Killed By Police

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Above Photo:  From FB/ Sabal Trail Resistance

NOTE: We want to point out that the police and local media are responding in typical fashion following the shooting death of Mr. Marker. Police report that he pointed a gun at them – this has not been substantiated. And the media are smearing his reputation.  – Margaret Flowers

KILL PIPELINES, NOT PEOPLE!

The story is still unfolding about a man, 66 year old James Leroy Marker, who lost his life to police bullets after an act of sabotage that disabled a section of Sabal Trail pipeline construction in Marion County last week, on February 26, 2017.

We know that there will be more to say in the coming days or weeks, as family and friends come forward with stories of James’ life. But we felt a need to acknowledge what has happened while the incident is fresh on peoples’ minds and questions are surfacing around his motivations, the value of the actions he took and the response of law enforcement.

First off, it must be noted that his action effectively disabled recent construction activity in a highly controversial area, mere miles from the crossing of preserves including Pruitt, Halpata Tastanaki and the Marjorie Carr Greenway, with sensitive wetlands and endangered species being impacted. This includes land which survived the decades-long Cross Barge Canal battle, only to be torn up for this pipeline.

Pipeline representatives have indicated that they anticipated getting this section in the ground early this week, but will no longer be able to do so as a result of the damage.

Second, the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office has released an updated statement confirming that in the interaction with Marker, “no law enforcement officer was injured or fired at.” But we have not heard any statement from the Sheriff on plans to release dash-cam video footage that would justify their use of deadly force against Marker. While his act may have been destructive to property, there is no evidence of it being physically violent. At this point, the primary element of danger in the situation appears to be in the police decision to initiate a high-speed chase.

1jlmAnd lastly, while few details of Marker’s life are available publicly, we have learned that he was known by friends as a lover of the Earth and humanity, that he was a military veteran, that he participated in environmental/social advocacy, and that he was a father.

We understand that there are complex feelings among those who have been part of fighting this pipeline, and while we don’t wish to dismiss difficult conversations, we feel that focusing on honoring the sacrifice Marker made to take a stand against this pipeline is of a greater immediate importance than debating the strategy, tactics or morality of his action.

We send our sincere condolences to friends and family of Marker. If there is a public memorial site or event in the future, we will do our best to let folks know about it.

 

News stories on the incident:

Shots at Sabal Trail pipeline lead to Chase and Fatal Shooting

Deputies Kill Man who Shot at Sabal Trail Pipeline

  • Harriet Heywood

    The police report says he “engaged” with law enforcement and that he had a handgun. But he shot pipe with a rifle. I researched him and called the RV park he called home for about a year near Everglades City. He has a Facebook page, a son and someone who looks like a daughter in law and maybe grandchildren. The whole event is fishy. The FDEP will investigate, results in 120 days and deputies will be praised. We have a new sheriff here. But Sabal Trail has been quite nasty with their charges and lawsuits including suing the Bell Brothers for $15,000 for legally resisting taking their land thru eminent domain with an unknown percentage being shipped to free trade countries. The Brothers will be bankrupt vis-a-vis his judgement for Sabal Trail LLC.

  • J.G. Sandom

    We saw how police, national guards and militarized private security contractors from TigerSwan treated the peaceful Water Protectors at Standing Rock. The only way we will win against these Big Carbon forces is by being a mass movement. And the only way we will become a mass movement is by being a peaceful movement. Be careful out there!

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