Tree-sitter shot, 70 feet up, by CHP rubber bullet

CHP officers appear to be aiming a gun loaded with rubber bullets at a tree sitter in Willits.

Tree-sitting is nothing new. It's happened all over California, going back decades. It's a dangerous, but often effective protest tool that stops logging in its tracks.

Nobody with any official sanction is going to cut down a tree while there's a human perched in it -- and it's been notoriously difficult for the authorities to remove people from platforms high above the forest.

And now, in Mendocino County, police response has entered a new phase.

California Highway Patrol officers April 2 began forcibly removing and arresting tree sitters trying to block Caltrans from clear-cutting an old-growth forest for the Willits Bypass. The tactics involved shooting at least one protester with a rubber bullet while he was 70 feet in the air.

The police used large-scale charry picker trucks to reach and "extract" the activists. Three have been removed so far; another two remain.

"We have reports of between three and nine bullets being fired," Naomi Wagner, who is supporting the tree sitters, told me.

Matt Callaghan, who was on the scene when the arrests were made, said the man hit by the bullet, who goes by the name of Celsius, was "conscious and seemed okay when they got him down. He shouted that he was being taken to the hospital."

Callaghan said that "there were also fists flying around up there. We were very concerned for the safety of everyone involved."

No shit.

Why, exactly, would a rubber bullet be helpful in getting someone out of a tree? Isn't there a pretty good chance the projectile could knock him to the ground (and his death)? Was this really necessary to build a road that fewer and fewer people in Willits seem to want?

I couldn't reach anyone at the CHP, but Caltrans spokesperson Phil Frisbie confirmed to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat that "some less lethal means" were used on one of the tree sitters.

I'll keep you posted as this develops. Seems like a lot of overkill for a simple trespass violation.




using deadly force, and i feel sure we are all grateful for that.

In this case, the guy was clearly breaking the law and made himself eligible for arrest. moreover, by refusing police direction and, effectively, evading arrest, it was clear that the police would use force to apprehend him.

So it wasn't "simple trespass". It was interference with commerce, vandalism, resisting arrest and no doubt various other crimes. The police are to be commended for using minimal force here.

The guy in that tree should be grateful that it wasn't a few others of us, who might have been a lot more aggressive about getting him out of there.

Sometimes you lose political battles, you know?

Posted by Guest on Apr. 02, 2013 @ 2:58 pm

The issue here is interfering with commerce, like the Guest says above. Interfering with commerce in a capitalist country is like insulting Islam in a Muslim country. It's practically blasphemy. How else can wealth be concentrated unless there are cops to protect the property of the wealthy? The protesters were lucky the cops didn't beat the crap out of them. They should have. That way it would have made charges of resisting arrest easier. In our court system, the more the protester gets beat up, the likelier it is that charges of resisting arrest and assaulting an officer are upheld.

Posted by anon on Apr. 02, 2013 @ 10:24 pm

If you disobey them, you get arrested.

It's really not that complicated.

And yes, interfering with the livelihood of another is a problem.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 03, 2013 @ 5:53 am

Couldn't agree more. Damn hippie tree-lovers. They should do something productive, like sell derivatives. Thank god we have such brave law enforcement personell to protect honest industrialists from such dangerous rabble. Who do they think they are, thinking they have the right to save forests? The Free Market, in its infinite wisdom according to the scripture of Best Use Doctrine, has decreed that trees in their natural state have no value except as raw materials for furniture. When the Free Market makes this kind of determination, mere humans best not interfere!

Posted by anon on Apr. 03, 2013 @ 7:26 am

Ellis'ed units, then all of a sudden you demand that the DA "do something about it".


Posted by Guest on Apr. 03, 2013 @ 8:44 am

No way! I only support enforcing laws that help protect rich people's property. The rich are the engines of our economy, so it's paramount that our brave police heroes protect our most valuable citizens first (as determined by their net worth, naturally). Enforcing laws to collect taxes? The hell with that! The city gets enough taxes to run SFPD, the jails, and the DAs office. That's always going to be the last to be cut. And everything else? Who cares!

Posted by anon on Apr. 03, 2013 @ 8:17 pm

There was no forest being removed. Just a few trees that were on the route of a new road, which is actually a bypass that will save the area being bypassed.

Posted by anon on Apr. 03, 2013 @ 8:46 am

Also, unless you live in a cave and made your own windmills and solar panels out of completely renewable materials that you gathered, you compromise your right to complain about a tree getting cut down.

Solar panels on the roof? Did they come in a box? What was the box made of?

One of the main Progressive memes is that the non-Progressives are all neanderthals who are completely unaware of the need to respect nature. The truth is that the vast majority of people do want to preserve nature (in this case Caltrans and the local communities explored other options for years) but, if you want to have a light switch in your home, sadly, sometimes a tree of two does need to go.

Posted by Troll on Apr. 03, 2013 @ 9:55 am

Timber grows at at annual rate of about 6% per annum, by board foot.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 03, 2013 @ 10:05 am

Those things you call laws that are being violated?

National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is violated by destroying wetlands without EPA approval or Habitat Conservation Plan in place and approved.

Endangered Species Act (ESA) is violsted by destroying salmon runs, watershed, run-off, and vital nesting areas for migratory birds.

California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) based on NEPA so California laws are equally violated.

Read-up first, understand the issues, ramifications and precedents that are being set, and then wave a flag and claim your livelihood is being interfered with.

It's really not that complicated.

Posted by Those things you call laws? on Apr. 03, 2013 @ 1:51 pm

as you happen to disagree with them (which has long been the established SFBG position) then that is great, because I will immediately feel free to:

1) Illegally rent out SF homes

2) Discriminate of any grounds that I like

3) Avoid and evade paying city taxes

4) Shoot on site any Occupier or protestor that objects to any of the above.

Hey, great, thanks, you've been really helpful and I appreciate it.

Posted by Anon on Apr. 03, 2013 @ 2:07 pm

has, for a long time, carried out the first three actions on his list and fantasizes about number 4.

Down with stupidity!!!

Power to the thoughtful!!!

Posted by San Francisco Anti-Stupidity Campaign on Apr. 03, 2013 @ 2:35 pm

in a long tradition of SFBG support for civil disobedience against unfair laws and social justice and, as such, we should confer support upon him.

Down with stupidity!!!

Power to the more thoughtful!!!

Posted by The real San Francisco Anti-Stupidity Campaign on Apr. 03, 2013 @ 2:51 pm

We speak - you listen.

Up with intelligence!!

Down with thoughtlessness!!

Posted by The REAL San Francisco Anti-Stupidity Campaign on Apr. 03, 2013 @ 3:38 pm

We listen, and only then do we speak.

Up with reflective cognitive function!

Down with kneejerk vacuus substitutes for rational thought!!

Posted by The really real SFASC on Apr. 03, 2013 @ 4:03 pm

only speaks while others listen.

Ignore the imposters!!

Up with alpha brain wave functionality!

Down with cognition!

Posted by The MIGHTY REAL San Francisco Anti-Stupidity Campaign on Apr. 03, 2013 @ 5:46 pm

I think you meant "throw," but I'm willing to be enlightened if there is a sensible way to interpret "know" in that usage.

Posted by lillipublicans on Apr. 02, 2013 @ 3:09 pm

the risk of falling out of the tree for a variety of reasons, and even more so if you are breaking the law by doing that.

Presumably the person in question accepted that risk when they engaged in such a risky behavior in the first place.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 02, 2013 @ 3:17 pm

Actually, there was shit! According to severl sources, the protesters in the trees were throwing feces at the cops.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 02, 2013 @ 3:36 pm

which could certainly explain why the police there might possibly have taken action.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 02, 2013 @ 3:57 pm

and Cal Trans workers (some solidarity with public employees huh?). Is anyone surprised the CHP responded in this manner? Flinging shit and urine at another person is assault.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Apr. 02, 2013 @ 3:57 pm

anon, Troll, Lucretia, etc.

Posted by lillipublicans on Apr. 02, 2013 @ 4:12 pm

Do you know differently?

Were you there?

Posted by Anon on Apr. 02, 2013 @ 4:31 pm

There was one tree sitter who threw the shit. He'd taken the non-violent training but evidently had his own, unknowable reaction to the situation.
The main organizers were dismayed to find out about his actions that brought about the hightened CHP actions. The other tree sitters were removed with different approaches. The one I witnesses, the last one, there were fewer CHP and climbers. He was a pacifist who got help from CHP to come down.
I thought the main CHP presence was over the top, they started taking Warbler down very early in am, shrouded in fog so she wasn't visable to supporters and press on the ground.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 06, 2013 @ 9:13 am

Occupy quickly devolved into a quasi-criminal rabble.

If anything, I think CHP were being lenient here and leaving Warbler there for as long as they did. She was always on borrowed time, and the matter was resolved with no injury.

Oh, and police raids are often in the early morning. Experience teaches us that is the most effective time to take down bad guys. And girls.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 06, 2013 @ 9:30 am

Just call their parents and have them come and get them?

I would bet that Amanda “Warbler” Senseman's parents would be right down there.

Posted by I've always wonders on Apr. 02, 2013 @ 4:29 pm

has been winded by a rubber bullet.

I'm sure she'll be out of prison within 12 months, even thought it is unlikely that a judge will be impressed with her defecating on CHP officers.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 02, 2013 @ 4:49 pm

The guy who was shot was actually wrestling with the cops as they were trying to pull him into the cherry picker basket. Here is a video:

It behooves Tim to create the image of the protester falling 70 feet but if you read the accounts provided by honest journalists you can see that the cops were already climbing into the tree in order to bring him down and he still resisted. Look for yourself in the video. The police also could have fallen 70 feet. Several other protesters listened to the cops demands, did not place any of them in danger and were peaceably arrested.

Yes, the protesters did hurl feces at the officers. All of the honest journalists included that detail of the assault on police.

Tim, for obvious reasons, did not.

Posted by Troll on Apr. 02, 2013 @ 4:37 pm

lives to save the lives of the protestors - not quite the police brutality story Tim was trying to sell.

I thought the cops were very restrained considering the provocation (feces? yuk) and the risks to everyone.

Funny how SFBG hides behind the law whenever they think it benefits them (gay marriage, ADA, AirBnB) but when the law is clearly on the side of the loggers, Tim/Steven stay mysteriously quiet about the need to enforce the law.

Hypocrisy. Bias. And a stunning lack of journalistic honesty and integrity.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 02, 2013 @ 4:53 pm

That is a very good point. The law must be followed to the letter when, and only when, it suits Tim and Steven's purposes to do so. At other times it is just a vague guideline.

Too much hypocrisy here to even begin to measure.

Posted by Troll on Apr. 02, 2013 @ 5:32 pm

But if spending cuts can be halted, or taxes collected, by enforcing the letter of the law when it suits them, then that is fine and SFBG does not see an iota of hypocrisy or contradiction.

Nice touch omitting the fecal references too.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 02, 2013 @ 5:50 pm

OK, it is from some two more sources. I know how much you enjoy denying the truth, so, have fun my friend:

"Officers first began cutting and removing the ropes in an attempt to reduce the tree-sitter's mobility. The tree-sitters retaliated by throwing feces from their own waste buckets at the officers. "

"one of the protesters poured feces on CHP officers"

Posted by Troll on Apr. 02, 2013 @ 4:54 pm

They are all invalid unless they just happen to support Lilli's weird political viewpoints - the very expression of which has gotten him banned from a number of other websites.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 02, 2013 @ 5:05 pm

"removing ropes in an atempt to reduce the tree-sitter's mobility"

That reads like a great euphemism for making the sitters' perch more dangerous; more tenuous.

"The tree-sitters retaliated by throwing feces from their own waste buckets at the officers"

Why it sounds *exactly* like what the cops would claim if their own line-cutting action caused the spill.

I am unmoved by your slavering rhetoric.

Posted by lillipublicans on Apr. 02, 2013 @ 5:14 pm

his world view. He ignores the feces, he ignores the trespass and criminal behavior of the protestors, he ignores the danger they put themselves and others in.

And all for a freaking tree. Is there any wonder why Lilli keeps getting banned from websites?

Posted by Guest on Apr. 02, 2013 @ 5:19 pm

Something tells me that if it was the *last* tree -- and you got it that it was required for your continue capacity to explell hot air -- you'd have a death grip on that tree and be pontificating about how non-high earners should go hang.

Posted by lillipublicans on Apr. 03, 2013 @ 1:47 pm

It wasn't even a redwood.

We can plant thousands of trees to replace this fairly mundane specimin and, if you have to resort to bizarre hypotheticals, we can only assume that you have run out of rationalizations for the illegal and dangerous behavior of this tree perp.

Let's hope the perp does some hard time for putting LE officers in danger and spraying them with feces.

Posted by Anon on Apr. 03, 2013 @ 1:53 pm

That was classic. Lilli figured out that the cops threw feces at themselves. Is he the best ever or what?

For what it's worth, the lines that the cops cut were in between the trees; the protesters were able to move between trees and the cops removed that ability.

But Lilli's explanation is much more fun.

Posted by Troll on Apr. 02, 2013 @ 5:25 pm

soft pitches just so we can slap them down because, for someone of low self-worth like Lilli, even negative attention is better than no attention at all.

And with all those other local website banning him, he needs this place for his daily dose of cathartic whoopass.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 02, 2013 @ 5:30 pm

about whether such lines were critical for the sitter's safety and the safety of those below them.

By the way, it looks like the man lift they were using has a 550lb max crew capacity which would have been surpassed in the CHP action. They are designed for two man operation and not for carrying stuff.

Posted by lillipublicans on Apr. 02, 2013 @ 6:10 pm

That'll bring justice!! Tell the teacher!!

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Apr. 02, 2013 @ 6:32 pm

Here is the video of the CHP shooting the non-violent protester.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 02, 2013 @ 5:37 pm

There was clearly resistance to arrest, thereby putting everyone at risk.

The video doesn't show the protestors throwing feces at the cops, but that has been cited in enough sources for that to be another damning piece of evidence that these protestors were clearly in the wrong and were engaged in multiple violations of the law.

I hope they get felony convictions and some hard time.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 02, 2013 @ 5:48 pm

Ever heard the phrase "happier than a pig in shit?"

Posted by Look ratS n' apples on Apr. 02, 2013 @ 9:46 pm

What are they doing up in the trees? Aren't there some tickets waiting to be written? I'm sure someone is doing 70 in a 65 zone out there.

Posted by CHPig on Apr. 02, 2013 @ 10:32 pm
Posted by Guest on Apr. 03, 2013 @ 5:55 am

I am not in favor of anyone throwing shit at anyone else, and that detail had not been reported when I did my post. Still: Shooting a projectile at a tree-sitter 70 feet in the air is not a good idea.

Posted by tim on Apr. 03, 2013 @ 10:07 am

feet away, but rather at closer range when the protestor resisted arrest?

And isn't it also true that the police were on elevated platforms adjacent to the protestor and so in a position to ensure that there was no danger to the protestor's life?

In any event, if the protestor had been up there for 9 months (I think I read) then she was presumably secured by ropes or some other mechanism to prevent her falling out of the tree. After all, she slept up there, yes?

All in all, it would have been better if there had been no resisting arrest, which is quite a serious crime, and can result in felony charges to assaulting the police.

I feel sure the police would not have needed to use non-lethal weapons to neutralize the perp if the perp had accepted the inevitable and given up peacefully.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 03, 2013 @ 10:19 am

You are correct, it was 70 off the ground., shot at point blank range. Life in Jerry Brown's police state is wonderful!

Posted by Guest on Apr. 03, 2013 @ 12:01 pm

then that seems entirely appropriate to me.

What were the cops supposed to do? Not arrest the perp?

Posted by Guest on Apr. 03, 2013 @ 12:15 pm