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> Video may capture loggers'
> anger
>
> "Everyone on edge' after Humboldt
> protest death
>
> Sep. 22, 1998
>
> By MIKE GENIELLA
> Press Democrat Staff Writer
>
> Humboldt County authorities Monday expanded
>
> their probe into last week's death of a
>young
> Earth First! protester after activists
>released a
> videotape disclosing a heated exchange
>between
> victim David Chain and loggers a few hours
> before he was killed by a falling tree.
>
> At the same time, Arcata police announced
>they
> are conducting an arson investigation into
> weekend fires that destroyed a Redwood
>Coast
> Co. logging truck and threatened several
>other
> parked rigs at two locations.
>
> Police said physical evidence at both
>scenes lead
> them to believe the fires were deliberately
>set by
> the same person. Police declined Monday to
> speculate on a motive, but timber interests
>said
> they feared the incidents might have been
>in
> retaliation for Chain's death.
>
> "Everyone is on edge. We're all taking
>extra
> security precautions,'' said a logging
>company
> owner who did not want to be identified.
>
> Sheriff's investigators today plan to fly
>over a
> rugged and remote Pacific Lumber Co.
>logging
> site 17 miles east of Highway 101 at
>Fortuna to
> see if a pattern of falling trees exists to
>support
> contentions by environmentalists that a
>logger last
> Thursday knowingly cut redwoods in the
> direction of Chain and other protesters,
>causing
> the first fatality in a decade of
>anti-logging
> protests on the North Coast.
>
> The logging operation has been shut down
>since
> Thursday's incident, and the site sealed
>off
> pending the sheriff's investigation.
>
> "We're going to get as much factual
>information
> as possible, and then we're going to turn
>over the
> results to the district attorney's office
>for review,''
> said Lt. Steve Cobine.
>
> Activists on Monday demanded that sheriff's
>
> detectives conduct a "manslaughter
>investigation''
> in light of the video's contents.
>
> But Cobine said while the department is
>pledged
> to conduct "an unbiased review'' of
> circumstances that led to Chain's death,
> investigators plan to leave it up to
>Humboldt
> County District Attorney Terry Farmer to
>decide
> what, if any, culpability exists.
>
> "As investigators, we're not here to decide
>who
> was right or wrong. The facts as we gather
>them
> will determine that,'' said Cobine. He
>declined to
> speculate on how long it might take before
>the
> case is turned over to prosecutors for
>review.
>
> The expanded sheriff's investigation was
> prompted by a video tape apparently filmed
>on
> scene by a trespassing activist within a
>few hours
> of Chain's death.
>
> The tape, if proved authentic, contradicts
>initial
> reports by Pacific Lumber representatives
>that its
> logging crew was unaware Chain and others
> were in the area when the fatal accident
> happened. The company initially said
>loggers had
> worked undisturbed from 7 a.m. to about
>noon,
> when Chain is believed to have been crushed
>to
> death by a falling redwood.
>
> A video tape turned over to authorities
>reveals
> an angry logger shouting obscenity-laced
> warnings at Chain and other intruders.
>While
> difficult at times to hear every spoken
>word, the
> logger at one point seems to threaten to
>send a
> tree falling in the direction of protesters
>if they
> don't leave.
>
> Pacific Lumber spokeswoman Mary Bullwinkel
> conceded Monday that initial company
> statements indicating the logging crew was
> unaware Thursday that activists were even
>on the
> site were incorrect. She said those
>statements
> stemmed from sketchy information first
>obtained
> from company workers at the scene.
>
> "Things were happening very fast. We got
>the
> best information we could at the time,''
>said
> Bullwinkel.
>
> Bullwinkel said even with the tape's
>disclosure,
> it's clear there had been no confrontation
>for at
> least an hour before the accident.
>
> "There is no way a logger could have
>knowingly
> targeted Mr. Chain by falling a tree in his
>
> direction,'' said Bullwinkel.
>
> Pacific Lumber President John Campbell said
>
> Monday he viewed the tape and found it
> inconclusive.
>
> "We could not identify the person speaking
> because the sun was shining behind his
>head, and
> he could not be clearly seen. Nor could any
>of
> the intruders, because their backs were
>turned to
> the camera,'' said Campbell.
>
> Campbell said while it's clear the logger
>was
> angry, "I don't think what he was saying
>was
> threatening.''
>
> Campbell admitted the obscenity-laced
>diatribe
> captured on tape "doesn't present a pretty
> picture.''
>
> "But given the circumstances, I think the
>logger's
> frustration is understandable,'' said
>Campbell.
>
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> 1998 The Press Democrat
>
>
>
>
>
>
David M. Walsh
P.O. Box 903
Redway, CA 95560
Office and Fax(707) 923-3015
Home (707) 986-1644



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