West Virginia anti-mining activist reports police brutality after arrest
August 3, 2012
Environmental activists on Thursday demanded that West Virginia officials investigate allegations that state troopers beat a queer anti-mountaintop coal mining activist over the weekend.
CREDO Action and Energy Action Coalition urged Attorney General Darrell McGraw and U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia Booth Goodwin to investigate Dustin Steele’s claims that officers dragged him across a sidewalk and asphalt at the Hobet mine in Lincoln County on July 28. Steele, 21, further alleges that an unspecified number of state troopers punched and kicked him while in custody.
Officers arrested Steele and 19 others with the group Radical Action for Mountain People’s Survival after they blocked access to the mine and charged them with trespassing and obstructing an officer. RAMPS further alleges that troopers dragged a second protester by her pigtails.
Steele, a West Virginia native who has protested mountaintop coal mines for nearly a decade, told the Blade that more than 50 protesters had gathered at the mine south of Charleston in the state’s southern coalfields. Steele said roughly 30 protesters left Hobet once the officers arrived, but RAMPS maintained they forced them to walk four hours until they reached their vans parked along a nearby state highway.
A video on the group’s website shows what appears to be mine supporters holding pro-coal signs, shouting obscenities and even threatening the protesters as they walked down the access road. RAMPS claims that miners used their vehicles to prevent them from driving away from the area.
“Twenty of us chose to stay on the property and protest this form of coal mining by being arrested on the mine site,” said Steele.
On a related note: I’ve just come back to tumblr after a week of having no internet connection (Gracie has been manning the blog by herself). With no internet, I entertained myself with cable news. It is much worse than I remembered. The stories they choose to cover are such nonsense. A few days ago I sent Gracie this text:
I’m actually flipping between all of them - HLN, CNN, FOXNews, MSNBC, CNBC (that’s the order they appear in here). Stories on loop for the day: Bloomberg advises breast-milk over formula, Romney aid says the word “asshole” to a reporter, Janet Jackson did NOT infact slap Blanket after all, and Samsung & Google fight over patents or copyrights or something.
I forgot how nonsensical TV “news” is. And what’s worse - every. single. commercial break on CNN has at least two commercials for “clean coal” or “BP - we’re still here!” or “natural gas solutions” - yuck.