EmmaKate Martin and Benjamin Bryant took part in non-violent civil disobedience to blockade Massey Energy’s regional headquarters in Boone County, W.Va. They were charged with four non-violent misdemeanor charges of trespassing, obstructing an officer, conspiracy to commit a misdemeanor, and littering.
As Climate Ground Zero notes, violent criminals have had their bail set much lower:
- Magistrates in Boone County have set bails at $30,000 and $20,000, both with 10% cash bond options for individuals charged with malicious wounding; the first for intentionally hitting a man with a van and the second for stabbing a man.
- Magistrate Snodgrass set a $2,000 bail, with $200 bond option, for a woman charged with felony malicious wounding for stabbing her husband in the head.
- Snodgrass also set a $40,000 bail, with $4,000 bond option, for a woman arrested while driving under the influence of illegal drugs and alcohol two days after she was arrested for stabbing her husband.
This type of disproportionate response to non-violent activism isn’t an isolated instance. For example, when activists were arrested in their non-violent campaign against the I-69 highway project, the government argued for a high bond by saying that one of the defendants, Hugh Farrell, “advocated literature and materials which advocate anarchy.”
And as we have seen time and again on this site, environmental activists are hit with significantly higher sentences than apolitical, violent offenders. (See: “Environmentalist Sentenced to 21 Years as a “Terrorist”; Violent Racists Receive Half That.“)
I’ll keep you posted later today on the outcome of the hearing.
Today after Magistrate Snodgrass reduced the bail to a still exorbitant $50,000 with a $25,000 property option, an emergency hearing in Circuit Court was scheduled for 4pm. Judge Willie Thompson reduced the bail to $2500 each. In addition, Martin and Bryant received a deal of 5 days time-served and 55 days community service, along with the condition that they remain on house arrest for the 55 days, leaving only for community service hours. Bryant took the deal and will be getting out of jail Monday. EmmaKate did not immediately take the deal but has until Wednesday to decide.