Eureka Police Sued for Violating Civil Rights During Occupy Eureka Protests
Four small claims lawsuits against Eureka Police for civil rights violations will go to trial in the beginning of February.
#1 Early morning November 7, 2011, Eureka police officers led a paramilitary style raid on Occupy Eureka, in front of the Humboldt County Courthouse. Verbena, active with Redwood Curtain CopWatch, showed up and filmed the intimidating police scene from across the street. After the police ordered people at the protest to bring all belongings and demonstration property across the street, and after arresting up to 10 demonstrators, Eureka police came across the street, arrested Verbena while she was filming, slammed her camera on the back of the police car, causing the disc and batteries to fall out and ruining her recordings of that morning, and slammed all of the protesters’ belongings and demonstration materials in a truck (multiple truckloads). Verbena was jailed for about seven hours with 12 other people and much of her property, loaned to the demonstration, was ruined and stolen by the police. There was never charges filed, but the intimidating, violent and destructive police scene, the arrest, and the slamming of the camera were wrongful, chilled constitutional activity, and violated civil rights.
Verbena is suing the City of Eureka, Patrick O’Neill, and Michael Guy (Eureka police officers)
Small Claims trial is set for February 4, 2013 in courtroom #3. 3:00pm
#2 Early morning November 10, 2011, Verbena was on CopWatch patrol on the courthouse lawn while Occupy Eureka demonstrators slept on the lawn and a few were gathered across the street. Michael Guy, an EPD police officer, approached the lawn and within seconds arrested Verbena, first grabbing at her camera, then immediately putting her in handcuffs. Guy took Verbena to jail and filled out paperwork directing the jail not to release her. Verbena spent eight days in jail. A month later, after a jury came back 10-2 in Verbena’s favor, the case was dismissed. Guy lied through his teeth throughout court proceedings about what had happened. Guy indicated quite explicitly in his testimony that he targeted Verbena as a leader.
Verbena is suing Michael Guy.
Small Claims trial is set for Wednesday, February 6, 2013. 3:00pm
#3 On November 30, 2011, the Eureka Police led a police action wherein they swarmed a daytime demonstration at Occupy Eureka. Eureka police handcuffed every person who was in front of the courthouse, took their photo, and questioned them. James Decker who was filming the day’s activities (as usual) with a camera around his neck, was one of the handcuffed people, and the police made him turn his camera off during the mass arrest/detention. EPD acting Chief, Murl Harpham, was present and active during this intimidating and unlawful police action.
James is suing the City of Eureka, Murl Harpham, and Patrick O’Neill (Eureka police officers)
Small Claims trial is set for Friday, February 8, 2013 in courtroom #3. 3:00pm
#4 Also, on November 30, 2011, as the Eureka Police led a police action wherein they swarmed a daytime demonstration at Occupy Eureka., Verbena was grabbed and handcuffed by Terence Liles (the EPD murderer of two teens in 2006 and 2007) and Liles searched through Verbena’s sidebag before she knew he was doing it. Then, while sitting on the courthouse steps with about 13 other people who had been en mass handcuffed, Patrick O’Neill announced that Verbena should be arrested, and she was. Verbena spent six days in jail on a charge that never came to be, and could never have been prosecuted. EPD acting Chief, Murl Harpham, was present and active during this intimidating and unlawful police action.
Verbena is suing the City of Eureka, Murl Harpham, Terence Liles, and Patrick O’Neill (Eureka police officers)
Small Claims trial is set for Monday, February 11, 2013 in courtroom #3. 3:00pm
“Any individual whose exercise or enjoyment of rights secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or of rights secured by the Constitution or laws of this state, has been interfered with, or attempted to be interfered with, as described in subdivision (a), may institute and prosecute in his or her own name and on his or her own behalf a civil action for damages, including, but not limited to, damages under Section 52, injunctive relief, and other appropriate equitable relief to protect the peaceable exercise or enjoyment of the right or rights secured.”
Please remember that one must pass through a metal detector to come into court. No ID is required to enter. Almost all courtrooms are on the second floor. If you have any advice for James or Verbena, please send it along in a reply!