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Group Description

This is a newsletter broadcast group for the case of the Pepper Spray Eight, Humboldt County California Headwaters Forest Defenders who were subjected to pepper spray torture by sheriff's deputies and Eureka City Police in three incidents in September and October of 1997. In an unprecedented use of pepper spray in this way, the red pepper concentrate was applied with Q-tips to the eyes of the protesters while they were engaged in civil disobedience sit-ins with their arms locked together inside metal pipes. In some cases, the pepper spray swabbing was repeated a second time, and in three cases the noxious substance was sprayed directly into the protesters' eyes from only inches away.



The protesters filed a federal civil rights lawsuit in 1997, and after two mistrials with hung juries in 1998 and 2004 got a unanimous jury verdict in their favor in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, California on April 28, 2005.



Background: In 1997, nine nonviolent activists sued the Humboldt County Sheriff and the Eureka Chief of Police for violation of their Fourth Amendment right to be free of unlawful search and seizure due to excessive force. The first trial in 1998 ended with a 4-4 split jury, but instead of granting a new trial, the judge threw the case out. A series of appeals overturned the judge's ruling and removed him from the case for the appearance of bias. A second trial took place in September 2004, resulting in a hung jury split 6-2 in plaintiffs favor. A third trial in April 2005 produced a unanimous verdict in favor of plaintiffs, finding that the direct application of pepper spray on nonviolent protesters by Humboldt and Eureka officers was unconstitutional excessive force.




For much more information about the case please visit the No Pepper Spray website at http://www.nopepperspray.org



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Group Information

  • 85
  • Environmental
  • Feb 10, 2003
  • English

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