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Pepperspray Trial Victory - J. Tony Serra Interview
Interview with Attorney J. Tony Serra
J. Tony Serra, one of the lead attorneys for the civil lawsuit against Humbolt County's Sheriff's Department and the City of Eureka, CA, is interviewed after the Federal District Court jury returns a unanimous verdict for the plaintiffs.
The case revolved around protesters who opposed the cutting of ancient Redwood trees by infamous Savings and Loan scandal figure Charles Hurwitz, who 'aquired' the trees with no collateral and felled them to pay off the interest on debt. In three different protests in 1997 plaintiffs had Q-tips soaked in 'Pepperspray' applied to their eyes by sheriff's deputies. The incident shocked the nation, as peaceful, non-violent protesters were handled with such impunity.
This case dragged through the courts for eight years, with two hung juries and multiple appeals to the highest courts. The earliest Judge, Vaughn Walker, was forced out of the case for the appearance of bias.
J. Tony Serra has also acted as attorney for Black Panther Huey Newton, various American Indian Movement figures, Bear Lincoln, Symbionese Liberation Army member Russell Little, Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney among others. This interview was conducted the day after the jury returned their verdict.