On September 22
, former BART Police Deputy Chief Dan Hartwig will be called to account in federal court for his role in targeting and arresting independent journalist David Morse during a “No Justice No BART” protest at the Powell Street BART station three years ago. Morse was the only credentialed journalist who was handcuffed, arrested, and held in police custody for several hours, while other reporters with and without credentials were all released without citation from a police encirclement.
UPDATE: Verdict in BART PD Trial, September 29:
The jury in US District Court found that — despite BART Deputy Chief Fairow ordering a flier be created identifying Dave Id as a subject for police focus during the 9/8/11 Powell Street station protest, despite BART police discussing arresting Dave Id at a planning meeting prior to the protest (even though all officers who testified said Dave Id had never committed a crime at a previous protest), and despite Deputy Chief Hartwig choosing Dave Id to be very first person arrested when all other journalists were released from a police kettle — Deputy Chief Hartwig did not retaliate against Dave Id for his hundreds of critical reports on BART police. Dave Id and Indybay strongly disagree.
The National Marine Fisheries Service has released new data showing that the California-based drift gillnet fishery targeting swordfish killed an estimated 53 marine mammals from May 2013 through January 2014. Fishery observers monitored 34 percent of the drift gillnet sets made last year; they documented that the fishery killed an estimated three California gray whales, six short-finned pilot whales, nine northern right whale dolphins, nine California sea lions and 26 short-beaked common dolphins.
On August 27, over 200 Tribal Members and Leaders, river advocates and politicians attended a day of celebration on the Trinity River below Lewiston Dam. It was a day that the Bureau of Reclamation designated as a “Multicultural Day,“ so the Hoopa Valley Tribe organized an event to demonstrate the impacts of water diversion on their culture and the river communities.
Environmental groups filed a legal petition on August 26 to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service seeking Endangered Species Act protection for monarch butterflies, which have declined by more than 90 percent in under 20 years. During the same period it is estimated that these once-common iconic orange and black butterflies may have lost more than 165 million acres of habitat — an area about the size of Texas — including nearly a third of their summer breeding grounds.
On August 21, the national nonprofit Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) announced a settlement on behalf of plaintiffs Animal Place, Farm Sanctuary, and Harvest Home Animal Sanctuary in the animal groups’ lawsuit against egg industry defendants Andy Cheung and Lien Diep. The defendants abandoned 50,000 hens without food at a facility near Turlock, which led to the largest farmed animal rescue in California history.
Restore the Delta (RTD) and many other groups held a large rally at the State Capitol on July 29, featuring the delivery of a “Death of the Delta" coffin containing thousands of public comments opposing Governor Jerry Brown’s peripheral tunnels. Hundreds of people, including fishermen, Tribal leaders, environmentalists, Delta farmers and environmental justice advocates, rallied to protest Jerry Brown’s tunnel plan and to call for a new Draft Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS).
Citing concerns about water use and contamination, a Monterey County Superior Court judge has ruled that San Benito County unlawfully approved a dangerous new oil-development project near Pinnacles National Park that could result in hundreds of wells being drilled in important agricultural and wildlife habitat in the Salinas Valley watershed. As the judge’s ruling notes, “There are numerous opportunities for toxic spills to occur that the County has apparently not contemplated.”