False Arrest Trial Underway in SF Federal Court Related to Caltrans Willits Bypass Debacle
Steve Eberhard, a professional (and award-winning) photographer and journalist with The Willits News was arrested in July 2013, while attempting to document a protest against the disastrous (for the earth) Caltrans freeway bypass project. See links below for more details and a video of his arrest.
Eberhard filed a false arrest suit almost three years ago. The case is finally being heard beginning with jury selection on February 22 in San Francisco Federal Court, 450 Golden Gate Ave, Floor 19, Room 11, Judge Donato presiding. The case is expected to take most of two weeks. Time is 9 am to 2 pm, four days per week, with no court on Wednesdays. If you can, please drop in to support this journalistic ally!
The case is against the California Highway Patrol (CHP). Steve was arrested for trespassing even though they knew he was bona-fide press. It’s noteworthy that none of the demonstrators were arrested, only Steve was handcuffed and taken to jail. It is a clear case of stifling the press covering the demonstration.
The case was originally against Caltrans as well as the CHP but the Caltrans charges were dropped. However, the trial may uncover links to Caltrans related to Steve’s arrest, or to the harassment and intimidation he experienced as he tried to report the news.
Steve has a lot of confidence in his lawyer, and yet does not discount the power of the forces he is up against. Steve has done a great job covering the direct action campaign against Caltrans’ destruction of Little Lake Valley and has shared his stunning photos with many people fighting the Bypass, including BACH. He deserves support in the courtroom. It makes a difference.
Steve is expected to be on the stand towards the end of the first week. The second week, starting Monday, February 29 is scheduled for testimony and questioning of Sheriff Tom Allman, City Councilwoman Madge Strong, Willits News editor Linda Williams and other witnesses called by Eberhard’s legal team.
It’s near Civic Center BART. Go west on Grove Street, then right on Larkin Street to Golden Gate Ave.
Arrest on video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d8AK4bwfBYA