So as some of you know Eric Navickas has made the news again. During a peaceful protest on June 28th Eric was assaulted by Ashland Police officer Perrone. About 40-45 other Ashland community members took to the streets to protest the possible Mt. Ashland expansion approved by the US Forrest service. This expansion could mean clear-cutting in our watershed, destruction of endangered pacific fisher habitat, damage to sensitive wetlands as well as costly sediment removal in our watershed.
In the pouring down rain Navickas lead the protesters chanting and holding signs taking up one lane of traffic; as protests have done in the past with no trouble. When the police ordered the protesters off the street, about half of the protesters remained, sticking by their First Amendment rights. Angry police Perrone then pulled up along side Eric, beeped the siren of his police car and while blocking a lane of traffic threw Eric on the cop car (with out reading him his rights or placing him under arrest). A member of the crowd chanted “You are Wrong!” and others filmed the event. The cop eventually released Eric and walked the other way. You can see the youtube video here
The remaining protesters then joined hands and continued to march. Another cop was able to handle the situation peacefully. He calmly talked to the remaining protesters and allowed them to continue their destination, Evo’s parking lot. There they turned around and returned to the plaza via the sidewalk. Two cop cars then remained in the street blocking a half of block of traffic for another 10-15 minuets. If blocking a lane of traffic really was an issue, why did they put the protesters and others in danger by creating such a scene??
But the saga does not end there…. Then the police chief Terry Holderness (who was not at the protest) turned to the video on to the D.A. and on 2 news channels declared Eric of criminal mischief. Eric who was using his first amendment right to speak out against the proposed Mt. Ashland Expansion, sticking to the protest protocal that both MArtha Bennet ( the city manager ) and police chief Terry Holderness had approved for pasts protests. There are 2 witnesses to vouch for this verbal agreement.
This brings me to the fishy-ness of this altercation… MArtha Bennet the city manager was on vacation on June 28th and did not return until July 5th, After the police chief presented the video to the D.A.
Whenever MArtha goes away she puts her powers in the hands of the Police Chief Terry Holderness. Do you think a cool headed and smart city manager would approve this sort of thing??
So now that Eric has been charged with police interference and disorderly conduct does not mean that he was wrong. The issues are still at hand and the protests and actions will still continue. If you would like to be put on the action alert email list email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.