Freshwater, CA - A year has passed since the mass treesit extractions began in Freshwater Creek. They were carried out under cover of the pre-emptive war on Iraq. High above the ground, non-violent activists were forcibly removed from old-growth redwoods slated for cut by the Texas-based Maxxam Corporation. |
Eric Schatz, of Schatz Tree Service, led the charge to remove treesitters. He bought an ad in the paper saying he and his crew were there to ?rescue? treesitters, and his main concern was safety. Despite the rhetoric, treesitters were kicked, choked, hung up side down, threatened, hot-tied and sexually harassed. Schatz continues to employ Michael Oxman, who has violently and repeatedly mishandled activists, even as he is told ?you gotta get off him? or ?ok Ox, give him some air.? According to reporters who have spoken with Schatz, he is proud of what his crew accomplished ? aiding in the removal of fifteen treesitters in Freshwater alone, clearing the way for Maxxam to continue illegal logging of the already impaired area.
Most of the trees activists fought to defend are gone, but the legal repercussions rage on. Stemming from the Freshwater treesits, thirty people are named defendants on a harassment lawsuit filed by Maxxam?s Pacific Lumber, and one treesitter has a bogus felony assault with a deadly weapon charge hanging over his head. Meanwhile Schatz is ducking down alleyways to avoid being served with subpoenas that would bring testimony and evidence so justice could be served in these matters.
What?s the problem? Treesitters are dangerous, dirty criminals, right? If Schatz would step forward to present all that up-close video footage he shot with the hidden camera on his helmet when he evicted us, we could all see the truth. Pacific Lumber might win their quarter million dollar lawsuit against us, and we could all get on with our lives. Instead, Schatz changes his address to the other end of California, as far from Humboldt as he can get to complicate the process. He has the opportunity to vindicate himself against the terrible accusations mentioned above, but like a coward, he hides.
It?s suspicious. But as long as Schatz cowers from what he once so proudly stood behind, the so-called safe removal of treesitters from old-growth trees Maxxam wants to cut, we will continue to loiter in legal limbo. I go to court to face the repercussions of my actions. Why doesn?t Eric Schatz?