Pepper Spray Used on Protesters
.c The Associated Press
CARLOTTA, Calif. (AP) -- Sheriff's deputies used pepper spray-soaked gauze
pads to dislodge logging protesters who refused to unchain themselves from
idle logging equipment.
The protesters said they were trying to protect a timber harvest site near the
spot where a fellow protester was killed last month.
Humboldt County sheriff's deputies reportedly were responding to property
owner requests that the protesters be removed because they were blocking a
Sheriff Dennis Lewis said the pepper spray, on pads applied to the eyes of
protesters, was used early Wednesday after two of four female protesters
refused to unlock themselves from the logging equipment. All eventually
released themselves and were arrested for investigation of trespassing,
resisting arrest and conspiracy.
Pacific Lumber Co. agreed last month to stop logging in the area until an
investigation into protester David Chain's death was completed.
Earth First! spokeswoman Naomi Wagner said the women were pushed and thrown to
the ground. She said they were simply trying to keep Pacific Lumber from
getting near the site of Chain's death.
Chain, a 24-year-old Earth First! activist, was killed Sept. 17 by a falling
tree near Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park.
Pacific Lumber contends Chain died accidentally, crushed by a falling tree
felled by a logger who was unaware the activist was nearby. Earth First!
claims the logger deliberately fell the tree in the direction of Chain and
A federal jury in August deadlocked in a case of Humboldt County sheriff's
deputies accused of unreasonable force in using pepper spray against logging
protesters. In that case, the deputies held the protesters' hair and heads,
forced open their eyes and swiped them with cotton swabs soaked with pepper
A lawyer for the county and the city of Eureka said the jury vote showed that
the officers' tactical use of pepper spray is a way for them to avoid injury
and is not abusive.
A retrial of the case has been scheduled for Nov. 16.
Copyright 1998 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP
news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise
distributed without prior written authority of The Associated Press.
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