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War on Journalism
Morgan Massey Dr. Julian, WV 6AM ish 9-9-09
I was filming a Chain & Tube Lock Down Blockade of the road which leads to Massey Energy Regional Headquarters as the first workers of the day arrived. I was wearing my Press Pass prominently around my neck. The road was an intersection off of a 4 lane road with a 65 mph speed limit and the blockade was about 30-40 yards from the intersection. The road appeared to continue for approximately a couple hundred yards. There is nothing at this intersection that marks it any differently than any other road intersecting this 4 lane roadway. This part of West Virginia often has severe fog problems, but not this morning. I interviewed the participants and waited for the cops to show up. The cops arrived quickly. I positioned myself about 30-40 feet from the lockdown and waited for the police interaction with the protesters. Deputy Eric Eversole appeared to be first on the scene. He briefly surveyed the situation at the lock down and then abruptly turned walking quickly toward me and said:
"Turn your camera off you're under arrest for trespassing."
I responded something to the effect that I was a Journalist and I was willing to leave and he responded that I could not, that I was under arrest. I'm not sure if I turned off the camera or not, I was experiencing a level of shock at the time.
Four people protesting Massey Energy's mountaintop removal mining practices were arrested Wednesday after linking their arms together with plastic pipe and duct tape, briefly blocking a private road to Massey's Boone County headquarters.The Boone County sheriff charged the four men, who range in age from 22 to 80, with trespassing, destruction of property, failure to obey lawful command, conspiracy and resisting arrest. The sheriff says the makeshift roadblock nearly caused an accident as cars backed up to nearby US 119 in heavy fog. Standup. One of those charged was 80-year-old Roland Micklem, 80, of Savannah, N.Y. Deputies also busted Joseph Hamsher; James McGuinness, and Fred Williamson.
A fifth person detained and charged after the protest was described by Climate Ground Zero as an independent videojournalist who goes by the name FluxRostrum. Cops called him Gianni Lapis and charged him with trespassing, conspiracy and failure to obey a lawful command. The latest protest comes just two days after a huge pro-coal rally that Massey helped sponsor.