All charges have been dropped against filmmakers Lindsey Grayzel and Carl Davis.
On Friday November 4, in Skagit County, Washington the prosecuting attorney dismissed all charges which could have resulted in a sentence of up to 30 years in prison. They were arrested for filming activist Ken Ward as he shut down the Trans Mountain oil pipeline. The act was part of a coordinated climate change protest that shut down pipelines in the states of Washington, Minnesota, Montana and North Dakota.
Many feel that police have been using these unjust arrests as a tool to quiet dissent and intimidate in order to limit press coverage of the protests. A statement from Lindsey’s lawyer says, “Being jailed, posting bail, obtaining attorneys, appearing in court, and living under the threat of prison have posed an unreasonable burden to her freedoms and have created a chilling effect for other filmmakers and reporters considering covering the important topics of climate change and political dissent.”
Voice Project campaign director Jason Young says, “Lindsey Grazel and her legal team have it exactly correct. We see this in many parts of the world where we work, oppressive regimes use specious arrests and agressive criminal charges to intimidate dissentors and limit press coverage. The result is exactly a chilling effect on free expression and a free press. Unfortunately, it’s not that different in the US right now.”
Grayzel adds, “I call on everyone who values an independent press to decry this disturbing trend and call for the immediate dismissal of criminal charges for members of the media.”
Thank you to all who participated in the campaign to have the charges dropped. Deia Schlosberg, arrested in North Dakota during the same organized protest, still faces charges with a possible prison sentence of 45 years.