Letter Addressing Esclating Endangerment of Protesters & Tree-Sitter From EPIC Executive Director to Humbolt County Sheriff
Dear Sheriff Honsal,
My name is Tom Wheeler and I am the Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Information Center. I am writing because I am concerned with the excessive use of force used by your deputies in arresting protestors at Rainbow Ridge this past week and the unnecessary arrest of citizen-journalists who attempt to cover the protest.
EPIC has received numerous credible reports alleging that deputies have roughly handled protestors engaging in nonviolent protest, resulting in documented and significant injuries. Your employees have also engaged in highly risky behavior, including the removal of a protestor from a "tower" many feet off the ground using a cherry-picker. EPIC has also received reports that deputies have arrested individuals standing along the edge of public roadways there to document the protest. Furthermore, I am distressed by the apparent willingness of the sheriff's office to work with Lear Asset Management, a para-military security firm hired by Humboldt Redwood Company. Lear Asset Management has engaged in hostile behavior towards protestors, including playing loud music throughout the day and night and trying to starve out a treesitter by arresting individuals attempting to bring food and water. The use of citizen arrests here is scary and reeks of vigilantism.
Together, all of this is risking an unnecessary escalation of tensions. I ask that you promptly investigate all complaints concerning use of force, remind your staff to respect the rights of protestors, and work with HRC to deescalate tensions in the Mattole. To be clear, I am not asking you to ignore the law--protestors understand that their actions violate the law and they risk arrest. (That is, in part, why they do it: to underscore that the stakes are so high and their convictions so strong that they are willing to violate the law.) I am asking that you do your job in a manner that does not harm protestors, violate civil rights of citizen-journalists, and escalate tensions. Heavy handed policing only risks a return to the Timber War days.
Executive Director and Staff Attorney
Environmental Protection Information Center
145 G Street Suite A
Arcata, CA 95521
Office: (707) 822-7711
Cell: (206) 356-8689
In 2018, Rainbow Ridge Supporters Were Accosted By Logging Truck, Endangering Lives & Escalating Violence
Arrests Continue: June 26th
A Forest Defender entered an active logging operation in the Rainbow Ridge Region of the Mattole headwaters and was locked to an excavator to stop logging and road clearing; the same excavator that endangered Rook on Monday when workers toppled trees dangerously close to hitting the Tree Sit. The Forest Defender was removed and arrested by Humboldt County Deputy Sheriff’s around 8 A.M. then released shortly thereafter.
Arrests Continue: June 21st
Frontline update: Arrested again! While bravely attempting to deliver crucial supplies of food and water to the Tree Sit today, Isabel was tackled and handcuffed by @getredwood private security. Others were chased but were not caught. Later released from jail and in good spirits, however Isabel was also arrested a few days earlier after blocking the logging road.
Follow All Updates @ - https://www.instagram.com/blockade.babes/
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help those arrested at the actions of this week. Please help them if you can! Donate to: