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September 29th, 2012

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12:12 am - Torture & TransCanada
C'est moi

On Tuesday, September 25th, I was in Winnsboro, Texas, trying to prevent TransCanada from clear-cutting trees on disputed property while they were facing multiple lawsuits over their horrendously polluting Keystone XL pipeline. Construction had begun to threaten the woods where eight activists were tree-sitting (living in platforms to prevent the trees from being cut), and I was determined to combine my act of protest with action that might assist others in their peaceful civil disobedience.

At around 10am, a small group of us discovered a earth-moving machine constructing a bridge directly towards the trees containing our friends. At a run, we approached the machine (which did stop promptly), and attached ourselves to the hydraulic arm at the back with a steel pipe. Things stayed peaceful if tense for hours, even after the arrival of the local police. It wasn’t until around 2pm that things changed, but when they did, it was with sudden brutality.

The police and TransCanada’s senior supervisor withdrew to consult, and when they returned, the Wood County Lieutenant told us we were under arrest, that we had to release ourselves or face charges of resisting arrest, and possibly other aggravated charges. When we repeated that this was a peaceful protest, we were informed that they’d been “plenty patient” and would begin to use “pain-compliance”.

The police began by wrenching our free arms and wrists, then advanced to using chokeholds. I was choked nearly to unconsciousness by one officer while the other kept my wrist contorted. My left arm was twisted and handcuffed to the machine when they pepper-sprayed the inside of our pipe. When pepper-spraying us proved insufficient, they broke out the taser.

The police’s announced plan was to taser us repeatedly for increasing intervals until we detached. I was tased for one second in the left thigh, then for five seconds in the upper left arm. Luckily, I don’t have a heart-condition, but the police never bothered to ask. Deciding I was too “mule-headed” to continue working over, the police moved on to Rain, tasering her once. Rather than have the police continue to dice with our lives, we decided to detach.

Throughout our ordeal, Rain & I were able to reassure each other by holding fingers inside our steel-pipe; this human contact sustained us while we had to endure each other being tortured.

As soon as we detached, the TransCanada supervisor thanked the Wood County Lieutenant for “a job well done.” The Lieutenant’s reply? “If this happens again we’ll just skip to using pepper spray and tasing in the first 10 minutes.”
Current Location: Houston
Current Mood: determined

(1 comment | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:October 1st, 2012 10:17 pm (UTC)
You, my friend, are incredibly brave, courageous, and inspiring. I am infuriated that you had to endure such treatment at the hands of the cops. I hope you kick their asses in court.

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