4/2/04 Sheriff’s Office Too
Cozy With MAXXAM
By Jeanette Jungers
Brenda Gainey of the Sheriff's Office, calls lawyer Ed Denson's comment that Sheriff's Office has a "cozy" relationship with MAXXAM/ PALCO "reckless and profoundly disturbing.”
When it comes to objective fairness and the ability to offer "equal protection under the law,” I find the relationship between the Sheriff's Office and MAXXAM/ PALCO to be "reckless and profoundly disturbing.”
Consider the following:
1. PALCO security chief, Carl Anderson, is a former member of the Humboldt County Sheriff's Department.
2. MAXXAM/PALCO and the Sheriff's Office planned the Freshwater tree-sit extraction for weeks. The Sheriff’s Office never verified whether MAXXAM owned the trees. It has yet to be proven.
3. The Humboldt County Sheriff's Office enforced an illegal road closure to aid MAXXAM in removing two long-term tree- sitters. The Sheriff's Office cited a permit allowing closure for eight hours. In reality, the permit allowed 20 minutes, and required 24-hour prior notice. No notice was given.
4. On March 17, 2003, sheriff’s deputies indiscriminately pepper-sprayed into a peaceful crowd of forest advocates containing women with small children in their arms.
5. Dozens of law-enforcement personnel were present but refused to witness one particularly dangerous extraction, even when frustrated residents requested them to.
6. MAXXAM provided lunch to the Sheriff's deputies during this incident.
7. Sheriff's deputies forced a woman to watch the 1,200-year-old redwood tree she risked her life to save be viciously limbed for no legitimate harvest purpose before taking her to jail.
8. Witnesses to the destruction were arrested on the orders of Carl Anderson. Charges were later dropped, as they had broken no law. One such person was a journalist with a legitimate press pass.
9. Sheriff's deputies served a lawsuit to everyone arrested on behalf of MAXXAM. Several people were dropped from the lawsuit after a judge ruled they had been prejudicially served.
10. When Judge Golden put a court-ordered "stay" on PALCO’s logging, it ignored it. Residents who presented the order to loggers were reported to the Sheriff's Department. When officers were asked to enforce the order, they responded that Sheriff's Office would not enforce the order unless Judge Golden issued a contempt-of-court ruling.
11. A deputy who hauled away one protester during the stay order announced he was a good citizen because he was "removing trash from the woods."
12. Many old-growth trees harvested along Greenwood Heights Road stood at the edge of the public road in what appears to be the easement or public right of way. Did our Sheriff’s Office help MAXXAM to steal trees that belong to the county?
13. A month before the Freshwater tree-sit extractions, I thought my wallet had been stolen from my car. I called the Sheriff's Office and was told my wallet was no doubt stolen by a "dirty Earth Firster!," and that the Sheriff’s Office would "take care of them" soon.
14. MAXXAM paid for the recall ad featuring a sheriff in uniform.
These are just a few points that have led people to perceive an inappropriate relationship between Humboldt County Sheriff’s and MAXXAM/ PALCO.
(Jeanette Jungers is a Eureka school teacher who is currently "Fasting for the Forest" in solidarity with Naomi Wagner, a 58-year-old grandmother of five who is serving a 40-day jail sentence for hugging an old-growth tree in defense of the Freshwater watershed.)