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Center Column Archives
Redwood Curtain CopWatch writes:
Four years ago, Martin was 26 years old, unarmed and living on the streets when he was killed by the Eureka Police when they pummeled his body in broad daylight, in front of a homeless shelter, then brought him to the jail to die.... The case, Siehna Cotton et al v. City of Eureka is being heard before U.S. District Court Judge Saundra Brown Armstrong and a seven person jury.... Marty Cotton, Sr. says, “We want to expose the truth, ideally, so those cops can never wear a badge and weaponry and never do this to anyone else again.”
On September 23rd when the verdict was announced, the City of Eureka and three Eureka police officers lost as the jury awarded the Martin Cotton family over $4.5 million.
UPDATE 7/12: Hunger Striker’s Health Rapidly Deteriorates | 7/14: Vigil to support the Prisoner Hunger Strikers
Thousands of California prisoners have come together in solidarity with the prisoners at Pelican Bay SHU. The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s own figures acknowledge 6,600 prisoners participated in the hunger strike across 13 prisons in California this past weekend. The first solidarity actions were held on July 1st on both sides of the SF Bay. Further solidarity actions were held in Oakland on July 8th and San Francisco on July 9th.
Prisoners in the Security Housing Unit (SHU) at Pelican Bay State Prison in Crescent City, California announced that they are beginning an indefinite hunger strike on July 1st
to protest the conditions of their imprisonment, which they say are cruel and inhumane. An online petition has been started by supporters of the strikers. Key demands include the elimination of group punishments, modification of active/inactive gang status criteria, and the provision of adequate food.
After six months of organizing rallies and actions behind the "redwood curtain" protesting CalTrans' plan to expand Highway 101 through Richardson Grove State Park, Richardson Grove Action Now took the fight to the state capital in Sacramento, where they carried out a flash mob action. The highway expansion plan threatens some of the last 2% remaining ancient redwoods on Earth.
Caltrans plans to take down some 54 trees in the Richardson Grove, and pave over the roots of many old-growth trees, in order to widen and straighten US-101 in southern Humboldt County. Reported to contain the 9th largest tree of all remaining Coast Redwoods, local residents refer to the Richardson Grove as the edge of the "Redwood Curtain." Preservation groups and community members against the project called for a rally at Caltrans District 1 headquarters in Eureka on Monday, February 7th and over 200 came to demonstrate against the highway expansion. Twelve people were arrested.
Martin Cotton II was living houseless and unarmed on August 9th, 2007, when he was severely abused by police, and brought to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility. At the jail, he was further attacked by guards, and left to die on the floor of a cell. On Monday, January 10th
, a federal civil rights trial, brought on behalf of Martin Cotton's baby daughter, Siehna Cotton, and by Martin's father, Marty Cotton, will begin in Oakland: Siehna Cotton et al. v. Eureka Police Dept. and Humboldt County Sheriff's Dept.
This year was the 15th National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality. Throughout Northern California marches, rallies and vigils were held on October 22nd and 23rd to mark the days of action against police brutality. On October 23rd, the ILWU and other unions shut down Bay Area ports to join a Justice for Oscar Grant Rally in downtown Oakland. In Eureka, organizers announced two days of marches and rallies. Vigils and marches were held in Fresno and Modesto.