Protest Photos From Inside CalTrans

Kym Kemp / Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2011 @ 8:38 a.m. / Humboldt , News ,  photo

Yesterday’s lockdown in the lobby of CalTrans ended hours of peaceful protest against the straightening of Hwy 101 at Richardsons Grove.  Above, Will Druid on the left and Jeff Muskrat on the right are the last two of a protest circle to be cut apart and arrested by officers.

The day started with about 120 protesters waving signs and chanting gathered in front of the CalTrans office in Eureka.  Here,  they group up for a photo op.

Fairly quickly the lobby of the office was occupied and, almost immediately after entering, 6 people chained themselves together and to the stair rail.

At 5pm, the officers formed a wall and forced the unchained protesters from the lobby.  The officers then covered the windows with yellow plastic sheeting.  Then they covered the protesters with orange tarps and fitted them with goggles to protect them from the band saw the officers used to cut the pipes.

According to sources inside the building the officers maintained professional and calm attitudes during all the times they were witnessed by the sources.  There were no uses of taser seen either.  But the sound of the electronically locked door being held forcibly open made a sound very similar to that of the taser.

UPDATE:Forest Defender published a video and some excellent photos from inside the lobby at the protest.  Here is the video. I recommend turning down the sound.

 

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Photos on my blog by unnamed source

33 comments

  • Outstanding pictures and report, Kym. You scooped getting those rare photos.

    Kym and readers, today’s Times-Standard article, “Richardson Grove Rally Takes a Violent Turn” by Matt Drange and Donna Tam, isn’t posted on the web yet.

    But a briefing on the article can be found here at the Humboldt Herald .

    Additionally, yours truly cannot confirm the deployment of a Taser and there are reports <a href=”to the contrary here .
  • There were definitely tazers used. I saw it happening. That “wall” the police formed to push everyone out of the room included the use of tazers and batons.
  • Here’s an eyewitness report from Farmer (posted on the Humboldt Herald), which contradicts the official account given by the police chief. Farmer says that he saw Tasers being brandished and used by the police:

    That line in the T-S article about the police not using their tazers or batons is a complete lie. The refusal by protesters to leave caused police to break out their tazers and billy clubs. In fact, one of the pics at the T-S shows an officer brandishing both a club and a tazer towards the crowd. They swung their tazers wildly in front of them, trying to haze the crowd out of the building like cattle or bison. Basically they were using them like cattle prods, zapping the people who were closest to them. That is when a few things were thrown.

    I heard the tazers crackle before I saw them, but when I saw them there was absolutely no mistaking it. It was definitely not the door.

    Non-violent people were being subjected to pain holds behind police lines. One of the protesters who had locked to the railing was on medical watch last night in the jail because police use numchucks like a nut-cracker on his ankle, while he was still locked down.


    http://humboldtherald.wordpress.com/2011/02/07/thanks-but-no-tanks/#comment-130095

    So…conflicting reports on the behavior of the police officers.

    Tthe plot thickens.
  • Thanks, Tra. The plot does thicken. Let’s have the details come out seeing what other reliable sources say.

    Kym had a very sound and reasonable explanation about electronic doors being confused with the sound of Tasers (thank you, Kym). Chief Nielsen clearly stated no Tasers were used.

    I am moderately familiar with the sounds of both electronic doors and Tasers from experience. Now we have another (hearsay?) account that they were indeed used.

    Given both accounts, let’s see what comes out in the wash— were Tasers deployed or not?

    Kym, your photos and reporting absolutely ROCKED.
  • The link to today’s Times-Standard article is up and found here for readers.

    Upon enlarging the photograph in the link, a distinct yellow Taser can be seen in the officer’s left hand, baton in the right; no contact of either made towards protesters at the time of photographing.
  • Tasers were definitely used. I was right in the front when they were deployed, though I managed to escape their shocking effects. I spoke personally with 2 individuals who were tased, one of which was a nice young lady not more than 5 feet tall, who was trying to leave but was stuck in front of the crowd. Garr Nielsen, while I’m sure is a very nice guy, is a liar, or misinformed.
  • […] photo source: Red Headed Black Belt. Click here to see more. […]
  • The sources I had weren’t there at all times and, often couldn’t see certain areas. It is possible that tasers were used. The fact that several people are claiming to be protesters and to have seen tasers inclines me to believe that there were some used.

    I am questioning the photo in the Times Standard. My first reaction was there is a taser. My second was I’ve only seen one once, what do I know. So I did some research. This article describes the make and model of the tasers used by the Eureka police. This one and this one shows photos of those types of tasers. Neither are yellow. That is not to say they couldn’t be had in yellow. Just noting that the manufacturer doesn’t show them in yellow.
  • Never mind, I just called Taser International and they said that the X26 (the one most likely to have been used by the officers in question) do come in yellow.

    Now, I’m convinced they were used. So why the lie?
  • “Never mind, I just called Taser International
    I don’t know why, but that statement just tickled my funny bone. Only Kym would have a hot-line to Taser International. If I tried a million years I couldn’t figure out how to call Taser International.
  • A million years, Ernie? Really?

    It took me all of 30 seconds to find their phone number, and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if Kym got it the same way. Here’s how you do it;

    Google “Taser International”

    Click on “Contact us”

    By the way, this basic approach works to get the phone number and other contact info of just about any large company, many small ones, government entities, etc.

    The Google — you gotta love it!
  • “It took me all of 30 seconds to find their phone number,”

    Well sure, you and Kym can do these things, but can either of you build a refrigerator? That’s the true mark of a person…
  • In response to Ernie’s Place
    Ernie,
    Did I ever mention I’m half in love with you? You crack me up. tra is right. It was easy for me but, heck, the thought of a refrigerator’s innards makes me tremble.
  • In response to Kym Kemp
    I’d be the cleaning coil kook or freon fool of disaster. Do we still use freon these days, Ernie? Yes, Tra, Google is a great thing behind the redwood curtain nowadays. Speaking of which, I wouldn’t have thunk to call Taser Int’l… or know how to get those inside pictures behind that yellow plastic, Kym. How’d you do that? You’re amazing.
  • In response to skippy
    All I will say is…friends in high offices.
  • In response to Kym Kemp
    Phase change of chemical refrigerants through compressors and expansion valves to create refrigeration fascinates me to no end. I don’t like to breath ammonia though, if you “get the drift”. Refrigeration physics is much more interesting that the anti-Richardson Grove widening protest theatrics. Oh, I personally support the widening of Richardson Grove. But then I like science better that theater anyway. :)
  • Huh, I had no idea this was happening and WHY this is happening. Thankfully there are many people responsible enough to protest and thankfully the world doesn’t consist of ignorant fools like me. Thanks for bringing this project to my attention.
  • In response to Ernie’s Place
    Can I build a Refrigerator? Nope. Maybe an old-fashioned Ice Box, if you gave me enough time. ;)

    But seriously the real point is not how quickly any of us could find the phone number, but whether we’d actually take the time to make the call.

    So, hats off to Kym for her journalistic follow-through.
  • In response to Kym Kemp
    Cops lie. So does the media…

    Thank you Kym, for whatever it’s worth, for your independence in journalism and take on this issue…
  • In response to Kym Kemp
    Your Husband? Works for Caltrans?(admitted by yourself on multiple occasions)

    BTW, thanks for the photos. I’ll use them while in court…
  • In response to Jeff Muskrat
    Jeff,
    I think we’re both interested in the truth so if something here helps you achieve the truth, I’m glad.

    (Could you use another verb than “admit” though? You make it sound like I’m confessing to a crime rather than proudly proclaiming?)
  • In response to Kym Kemp
    I was at the rally Mon. Feb. 7 at Caltrans to save Richardson Grove from road widening. Everything about this gathering was positive, except when a large police officer kneeled down on the chest of a man who had both arms locked to people on either side while another officer squeezed 2 pairs of nunchucks around his ankle and calf (less than 2 feet in front of my face.) His writhing and screaming did cause all of the onlookers to powerfully chant “shame” repeatedly, and many in the nonviolent crowd did then resist being forced out of the lobby where flagrant torture was occurring.
    At the rally were at least 200 people, locals from all walks of life. There were beautiful signs saying things like SLOW DOWN, YIELD TO NATURE, and KEEP HUMCO LOCAL. There were lively speakers, singers, prayers, guitar, mandolin, trumpet, drums, and many chants such as ONE DEMAND-CANCEL THE PLAN, CUT THE CAL TRANS FAT-SAVE MONEY, GET OFF OUR DOORSTEP AND WELL GET OFF YOURS, CALTRANS LIES, etc. Democracy was celebrated at our public dept. of trans. on behalf of our protected Park.
    To me this issue is about massive development of the Humboldt Bay region, and a huge increase in our industrial police state which will cause quality of life to decline. The time has come to weigh these things we call progress and Nature, and to stand together for the future, with deep respect.
  • In response to tra
    Yes, Kym, thank you, too. I appreciated your fair, unbiased, and clear reporting, and photos. Your coverage represented a professional and impartial journalistic view informing the public, and I welcome that. Thank you for bringing us the news— and allowing us to make up our own minds independently.
  • This excellent video clearly shows how the crowd got very angry after the man to my right was flagrantly tortured with 2 pair of nunchucks being squeezed violently on his ankle and calf while another extra large officer kneeled vigorously on his chest while his arms were spread out locked down. The crowd was chanting SHAME at this point because of the brutality of this system which destroys nature. What would you like the onlookers to do, just get herded out of the lobby like sheep where a helpless man is being tortured. My face was less than 2 feet from the nunchucks and the officers face, so don’t try to tell me that it didn’t happen like that. The previous 5 hours of the rally of over 200 people was totally positive and awesome. If anyone was influenced by the news (worldorder) paper aka the slime slander and even kmud’s coverage of the police statement, well…brainwash education makes the fool
    Its on” access humboldt “if the link below doesn’t work
    Video Link: http://www.archive.org/details/AH-Richardson_Grove_Protest
  • In response to pagun
    this excellent video clearly shows how the crowd got very angry after the man to my right was flagrantly tortured with 2 pair of nunchucks being squeezed violently on his ankle and calf while another extra large officer kneeled vigorously on his chest while his arms were spread out locked down. the crowd was chanting SHAME at this point because of the brutality of this system which destroys nature. What would you like the onlookers to do, just get herded out of the lobby like sheep where a helpless man is being tortured. My face was less than 2 feet from the nunchucks and the officers face, so don’t try to tell me that it didn’t happen like that. The previous 5 hours of the rally of over 200 people was totally positive and awesome. If anyone were influenced by the news (worldorder) paper aka the slime slander and even kmud’s coverage of the police statement, well…brainwash education makes the fool

    Watch closely on the right at 6:35, 7:52, 8:08, 8:29, 8:59
  • In response to Kym Kemp
    Noted, thank you Kym. As far as crime or admission, I was more concerned for the “photographer” who shared the photos with you…
  • Check out the new Access Humboldt video:
    http://www.archive.org/details/AH-Richardson_Grove_Protest
    Make your own judgments, but I would say it’s obvious that the Times-Standard got it wrong. The cops were reckless, abuseive and violent to those locked down, which escalated the whole situation.
  • In response to pagun
    Will, I could see how close the action was to you. I hope the man ended up alright?

    Good seeing you tonight. I wish I could have gone to the movie, too.
  • I’m another of Kym’s many admirers. This is great community journalism, Kym!

    As a Headwaters campaign veteran I’ve experienced police lies countless times. Maybe it’s helpful to put them in cultural perspective: I’ve also experienced corporations (and governments) composed of interchangeable employees lying sincerely all my life long. About Agent Orange, about insurance claims, about throwing uninsured out of emergency rooms, about routine communications, civilian deaths, lazy dereliction, honest incompetence—you name it.

    Our organizations hold themselves together with reports, which are treated as authoritative wherever their word-webs spread. Whatever yarn one cop spins is echoed by another, until a higher cop says something different, which then defines the echo chamber. And it’s no different in government, in the military, in corporations, in non-profits, in fraternal organizations, in cartels.

    I can well believe Garr Nielson doesn’t think he’s a liar. I can well believe Tasers are easily diddled to un-record their use. These details are Modern Life 101. It’s why cops beat bad lawyers and good lawyers beat cops: it’s why entrapment is only illegal if you have an expensive lawyer, it’s why you need your head examined and a meth connection to fight bureaucracies of any sort. There is no reality there, there are only official reports.

    Finally, on the word ‘used.’ I was amused to read in the T-S Garr’s claim that ‘No Tasers or batons were used,’ right next to the photo of a Taser pointed at a demonstrator, with batons wielded against them on both sides. Are guns not ‘used’ until they’re fired? That’s not what I think when one’s pointed at me.

    We have to be clear that loyalty to the company story is the first qualification for any employee of a hive. Consider the bee before you judge a cop—or even a county planner.
  • good job kym. i’m glad you actually leave comments on your blog and don’t delete them like jeff and RGAN on their blog.
  • re; “but why the lie ? ” The reason the cops lie to the media routinely when they do things wrong is that it is an effective way to cover their butts in public and in court . Because the media will always dutifully repeat their lies, most of the public now believes that the cops were nonviolent and the protesters violent. Although you don’t agree with us that the ancient trees are sacred and should never be cut in any way, you and your husband are good and honest people who believe in getting at the truth, unlike the cynical people who run corporate media. Sometimes our best allies are people of integrity who are ‘in the system’ .
  • These violent druggies need to go to jail. They are just about the only bad thing about living in Humboldt,
  • […] The original incident which resulted in several arrests, occurred on February 7 at a CalTrans facility in Eureka.  Six protesters, including Jeff Musgrave locked themselves down in the lobby to call attention to their dislike of a CalTrans project slated for Richardson Grove. Several people were cited and released as a result. No one however, as of Friday afternoon has been charged and no one has a court date–much less one on Monday morning […]
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