Four climate activists are being held in a West Virginia jail for protesting how coal mining is killing the people and land of their state. On Tuesday, December 29, four activists with Climate Ground Zero — a grassroots campaign of non-violent civil disobedience in southern West Virginia to address mountaintop removal coal mining — were arrested for trespass at their homes in Rock Creek, West Virginia:
Mat Louis-Rosenberg, Jacqueline Quimby, Kimberly Ellis and James McGuinness were taken to the Kanawha County Courthouse by State Police by West Virginia State Trooper Lt. Bowers. The charges stem from a October 10 demonstration at Walker CAT’s headquarters, which challenged Walker’s misleading pro-coal advertising campaign at which Gabe Schwartzman, 19, and David German, 18, were arrested by City of Belle Police and cited for trespassing on a structure or conveyance. The two had unfurled a banner which read, “Yes, Coal is Killing West Virginia’s Communities.”
According to Climate Ground Zero, the four activists remain in police custody in the Southern Regional Jail in Beaver, WV. They have yet to see a magistrate and have not been informed of their charges, other than trespassing, which, if proven, would result in a maximum one-hundred-dollar fine.
“This is outrageous behavior on the part of the Kanawha County prosecutors.” said Climate Ground Zero campaign director Mike Roselle.
“These four people are guilty of nothing. They were simply present during a
demonstration last October and none of them were ever informed at any time that they were trespassing. Usually in this type of case they simply write you a ticket or mail you a summons. To drag them out of their homes and refuse to allow any bail violates their most basic constitutional right to due process.”