Greenpeace Activists Who Climbed Smokestack Released On Bail

CHICAGO (STMW) — Eight Greenpeace activists who perched high above the city on a smokestack for more than 24 hours before being charged with felonies after they climbed down were released on bail from the Cook County Jail on Thursday evening.

The anti-coal activists began climbing a smokestack at the Fisk power plant at 1111 W. Cermak Rd. about dawn Tuesday, spokeswoman Molly Dorozenski said. They had planned to stay up there indefinitely.

But as the rains came down Wednesday morning, so did the protesters, police said. All eight were charged with felony criminal damage to property and misdemeanor criminal trespass to land, according to police.

Bond was set at $30,000 for John Allen Watterberg, 32, of South Carolina; and $20,000 for Gabriel Roy Gerow, 29, of Poway, Calif.; according to Cook County State’s Attorney’s office spokesman Andy Conklin.

Judge Donald Paraese also set bonds of $15,000 each for John William Rosenwinkel, 22, of west suburban Wheaton; Julie Ann Farris, 31, of Portland, Ore.; Kathryn Michelle Ogden, 27, of Washington, D.C.; Kelly Elizabeth Mitchell, 26, of Van Nuys, Calif.;  Benjamin McDonald Smith, 31, of San Francisco; and Cy Wagoner, 34, of Winslow, Ariz., he said.

Dorozenski said  bail was posted Thursday evening for all eight. A preliminary hearing is set for June 4, Conklin said.

Mitchell said the protesters brought warm weather gear, snack bars and water with them, and vowed to stay atop the smokestack “until Edison International and the city understand we can’t continue to have old, dirty coal plants in the city of Chicago.”

On Tuesday afternoon, they left their perch on a catwalk about 450 feet above the ground and rappelled down to paint “quit coal” in bright yellow paint on the smokestack.

But by Wednesday morning, high winds and lightning forced the plans to change and the protesters made the slow descent down a ladder to the ground, where they were immediately arrested, Dorozenski said.

While the protesters were painting, eight others rappelled from the Pulaski Street Bridge and dangled above the Chicago River to prevent a coal barge from passing, Dorozenski said.

Those who attempted to stop the barge — six women and two men — were arrested at the bridge at 3900 S. Pulaski Rd. late Tuesday and charged with misdemeanor reckless conduct and performing an aerial exhibition without a net, according to police.

Charged were: Jeanne Kirshon, 23, of Rockville, Md.;  Kaitlin Finneran, 24, of Norwalk, Conn.; Daniel Strandquist, 28, of New York City;  Shea Schachameyer, 27, of Milwaukee; Harmony Lambert, 22, of Shasta, Calif.; Carolyn Auwaerter, 25, of Melbourn, Pa.; Laila Williams, 24, of Rockville,  Mass.; and  Michael Alilionis, 21, of Floral Park, New York, police said.

They were released early Wednesday and are scheduled to appear in Misdemeanor Court, (Br. 43) on July 1, police said.

Both protests were set to coincide with a U.S. EPA public hearing on increased pollution controls from coal-burning plants.

The protesters were taking action to draw attention to the health issues created by the Fisk and Crawford coal plants in the Pilsen and Little Village areas, respectively.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2010. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

  • jimmy

    The FBI and DEA fabricate evidence, steal from suspects and use murder to close their bad cases.
    The DoJ have been harassing me for 20 years. Twenty years ago, with the help of the Defense Investigative Service DIS, they used my military background to fabricate evidence. Since that time they have been using sleep deprivation and suggestion to help fabricate evidence, make me look unstable and since it is convenient, stealing from me.
    In retaliation for complaining about them stealing from me to the San Francsico Attorney General’s office, corrupt DoJ employees poisoned my dog.
    There have also been attempts on my life. They tamper with my car. They have been trying to get corrupt Milpitas, Ca. police to use the “Sean Bell” (See wikipedia) method against me. I called the Milpitas police and notified them that, “as I was backing out of a Noahs baggles store, I placed my car in drive, looked up and there was two of their police officers staring at me from the middle of the parking lot with ear-to-ear grins on their faces”. They have also been trying to setup a botched robbery/murder. This is how they end-run their “standardization of deadly force policy among federal law enforcement agencies” policy.
    I used to write software for the DoD and apart from complaining about the stealing, I do not know what I have done to cause law enforcement to make me such a priority. Since about 10-15 years ago harassment and attempts on my life have gotten much worse. Could be I know something about corrupt DoJ, DoD and CIA employees taking bribes from Al Quida? They got bribes from several San Fran bay area CEOs.

    • Kerry

      Who is this Al Quida?

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