Below are documents relating to a CAMP raid in which I and another COGer became a test case for CLMP. CAMP had been arguing that if COG members went onto land where a raid was taking place, even at the request of the owners of the land (who may or may not be at that time on the land), they could be charged with trespass. The CLMP attornies, Mel Perlston and Ron Sinoway, were telling us that if there was a relevant charge, it was not trespass. What occurred on this particular day is all described in the documents below, except for a few crucial details.
When we first went on the land, there were only two of us that day, we drove right up to the house where CAMP and MET were inside and all over the yard. Humboldt County officer Tim McAllister came up to the car and spoke to us through the window before we got out, ordering us to leave, we were trespassing. I surreptitiously turned on my voice activated recorder and taped that entire conversation. We turned around, drove back to the phone and called Ron Sinoway, who asked if we would become the test case for the trespass issue.
When we went back, we stopped down the road, in sight of the house and my partner began videotaping the scene. When we were noticed, several officers piled into two vehicles and sped down the road towards us. My partner got all that on tape, but when the officers got out of the cars, he pointed the video camera at the ground (he said later, “it wasn’t a situation where you’d want to point anything at anybody”) but did not turn off the audio. The camera continued to audiotape the entire bust, including McAllister’s screaming in my face “I told you not to come back, I told you not to come back. You’re in my crime scene. You’re in my crime scene. You’re trespassing.” Very unprofessional.
The camera continued to record until, presumably, the battery wore out. I don’t think they ever turned it off. As soon as we got back to a phone after the scene described below, we called Ron, told him about the tape, he called the DA and warned that the tape better not disappear, the DA dropped charges immediately upon hearing the tape, realizing it would not sound very good in court, Sinoway sued for false arrest and won. Claim is below.
Here is the tape I made from the videotape my partner got of our bust, by not turning the camera off but pointing it at the ground as if it were off. There’s a longish period of weird sounds, squeaks, paper rustling, indicating that the cops were unaware they were being recorded as the camera lay in the trunk of a cop car. It was much longer, I shortened it, but l left the last part in to further indicate that what I have is actually from a videocamera audio. I’ve never figured out what my partner means when he says “I’ve not been agreeing with you” to the cop, but I think he was saying “I’ve not not been agreeing with you” and I think he probably was sucking up to the cop to keep his attention off the camera so it could keep recording.
I was, sometime later, busted again for treehugging, at which time I again encountered McAllister. Officer Jiminez, running me down a steep slope with my hands handcuffed behind me, through whitethorns and poison oak (I was, luckily, not allergic) spotted McAllister a little way off, yelled, “You owe me a case of beer for this one.” Laughs all around among the officers. McAllister then came down the hill to the van where I had been placed along with other bustees that day, all of us nursing bruises, and leaned in and said to me “Sue me for a million bucks, willya” as if he were about to do something bad to me. He didn’t, unless it was something I never knew, but it was certainly an attempt to scare me.
Years later, when I was a reporter in Sonoma County, I encountered an attorney bringing a case against McAllister (Humboldt County client or else McAllister had moved to Sonoma County) for brutality and I was able to provide him with my audio tape of both the original conversation at the house and part of the bust.
From Star Route Journal: