CalFire Police Charge Forest Activists with Trespassing and “False Imprisonment”
Monday January 10th, 2022
After nine months of sustained demonstrations by environmental protestors in Jackson Demonstration State Forest CalFire Police made their first arrests during a peaceful blockade off Hwy 20 east of Fort Bragg.
CalFire responded after a crew of loggers, operating under the direction of Lear Asset Management’s Paul Trouette, made a ‘citizen’s arrest’ of the protestors. CalFire arrested six activists in all, four of whom were cited with trespassing and ‘false imprisonment,’- all were released on site. The Mendocino County Sheriff arrived at the scene. Deputies told activists that the citizens arrest was legitimate and passed responsibility onto Calfire.
Since April, community members have been demonstrating at Jackson Demonstration State Forest, a 50,000 acre mostly redwood forest in the heart of Mendocino County that is logged by CalFire, calling for a halt on timber harvesting and a full scientific and cultural review of the current management plan.
Monday’s protest took place at one of several contested logging sites in JDSF known as Red Tail. This timber harvest plan sits on the Noyo River, a critical habitat for imperiled Salmon and other species. The plan will remove a significant number of large trees, including many Firs 140/150 years old, around JDSF’s popular and largest campground known as Camp One.
Activists are concerned that allowing a private security company to direct ‘citizen’s arrests’ on public land raises troubling questions about due process and their right to peacefully protest. One logger made a sexually explicit comment to a woman activist while he was ‘arresting’ her (video available). Activists on site questioned the double standard by CalFire law enforcement officers, who were willing to show up when the loggers called, but wouldn’t take reports of vehicular assault made by protestors in early December.
The activists have been ordered to appear in court on February 15th at 9am at the Ten Mile County Courthouse in Fort Bragg.