Eureka, CA: The first trial of an arrested Occupier (Eureka) is over. The Humboldt County prosecutor's case revolved around the arrest of the demonstrator for videotaping Eureka police officer, Michael Guy, when he approached the Occupy Eureka site at 4am. After officials jailed the person who was filming for eight days, wasted the impoverished county's money, and spent nearly two weeks in court claiming that the videotaping woman's behavior put the officer in grave danger, a jury voted ten-to-two for acquittal. The case was dismissed.
Occupy Eureka has been in front of the Humboldt County Courthouse and Jail twenty-four hours a day since October 7th. Police attacks on the demonstrators have included militarized raids with semi-automatic weapons; mass arrests with no warning; broken ribs and a concussed skull from baton swings; a cyclone fence erected around the entire courthouse lawn; the confiscation of survival gear, clothing and food; and the day and night theft of literature, hundreds of protest signs, and any canopies put up to protect literature and people from the rain.
Despite the repression attacking the most basic first amendment rights, Occupy Eureka continues 24/7 with its educational and action campaign. The demonstrators move forward, looking to stave off WalMart coming into Eureka and to stop a federal highway expansion through ancient redwoods in a State Park, planned for corporate, military, nuclear, and development interests.
On Saturday, December 17th, in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street sites countrywide and remembering Mohamed Bouazizi who's ultimate act of self-immolation one year earlier activated an Arab Spring of revolt, Occupy Eureka rallied and erected a simple canopy (later stolen by eight Eureka police). That day, police refused to allow the Women in Black to hang their rainbow peace sign as the Women have done every Saturday for ten years. Later, 25-year veteran nurse and cancer survivor, Pat, active with Occupy Eureka, hung a huge stars and stripes banner with the words “Freedom of Speech” painted at the base. When Eureka police came to cut down the banner, the nurse wrapped herself in it. The Eureka police relented, stole the huge 'flag,' and cited the woman for a crime. Eureka police officers, after years of local protest and legal action, were in the end of September, found liable by a federal jury for the wrongful death of a houseless man, Martin Cotton II, who they fatally beat in front of a Eureka homeless shelter and left to die in the Humboldt County Jail.
Occupy Eureka demonstrators refuse to be intimidated from protesting as Eureka police create and misrepresent laws to justify their repressive actions. “Your penal codes and municipal city ordinances don't mean crap, compared to my freedom of speech!” declared Pat.
[See photo of Pat wrapped in American flag banner HERE. Note the fence which prohibits entry onto the courthouse/jail lawn, and was erected by the County to stop the Occupy Eureka protest]