>PL delayed Chain inquiry, lawyer says
>By Suzanne Zalev
>The Times Standard
>EUREKA-- An investigation into the forest death of an environmental
>activist was not stopped on Friday by ab Earth First blockade, an Arcata
>attorney said.
>Contrary to the reports from Pacific Lumber Co. officials on Friday,
>Steve Schectman claimed on Sunday that his investigation was postponed
>because there wasn't enough daylight by the time his team got near the
>site of David Chain's death.
>"PL said it was too late, not us," Schectman said.
>He was retained last week by Chain's family to investigate the
>activist's death on Sept.17. Chain and other environmentalists were
>trespassing on PL land when Chain was crushed by a falling tree.
>PL officials said Chain's death was accidental and loggers didn't know
>anyone was in the area. Earth Firsters said loggers were purposely
>falling trees in the direction of the protesters.
>Schectman said his team conducted their investigation Saturday. He said
>he could not release information from his investigation because, in
>order to investigate on PL property, he told LP he would keep the
>information confidential.
>Schectman said that early Friday, a PL representative called him to say
>the Sheriff's Department wouldn't let his team in. Schectman said he
>spoke to a lieutenant, who said he hadn't spoken to PL and there was no
>problem with Schectman conducting his investigation.
>Schectman arrived about 1 p.m. at the site near Grizzly Creek Redwoods
>State Park, east of Carlotta.
>"To no one's great surprise, there were physical impediments placed in
>the road," he said.
>Members of Earth First said they would not prevent the team from coming
>in, but PL officials didn't want to walk up the road, Schectman said.
>The team got permission from an adjacent landowner to drive to a point
>less that a mile from the site of Chain's death.
>"I said, 'Let's go for it.' they said, 'No its too late,'" Schectman
>The team went back to the site Saturday morning, Schectman said. He
>arrived at 9 a.m. and hiked up the hill with his team, while PL
>officials drove most of the way.
>Sheriff Dennis Lewis said on Sunday that the investigation was hampered
>on Friday by the Earth Firsters.
>"My understanding is they went out there and were met with somewhat of a
>blockade," said Lewis, who added he wasn't present during Schectman's
>investigation - he sent a deputy and a sergeant.
>PL's team included its safety engineer and logger A> E> Ammons, who
>Schectman said cut down the tree that killed Chain. There was also an
>expert investigator, and Schectman said he wasn't sure who hired him -
>PL or the Sheriff's department. The two are working "in tandem,"
>Schectman claims, adding he thought it was inappropriate for Ammons to
>be present.
>"He's certainly got to be the suspect (If criminal charges will be
>pressed)," Schectman said.
>Lewis said he didn't know if Ammons was present at the scene, adding
>that it's "hogwash" to claim his department isn't conducting an
>impartial and independent investigation.
>"I hope (Schectman) doesn't confuse the Sheriff's department with PL,"
>he said.
>PL spokeswoman Mary Bullwinkle did not return several phone calls
>Sunday. A news release issued by PL on Friday claimed protesters denied
>access to investigators.
>[Note: The PL website has not posted this latest press release by PL.]
>[Note: EF!ers have told me that they had contacted all parties to assist
>them in reaching the site in spite of the physical impediments
>constructed to keep PL from destroying the scene of the crime. The
>Sheriff's and PL have mislead the media and failed to do as EF! had
>suggested they do in order to gain easy access to the site, according to
David M. Walsh
P.O. Box 903
Redway, CA 95560
Office and Fax(707) 923-3015
Home (707) 986-1644

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