This incident occurred on the third day that Red-Tailed Hawk has been perched on a stitcher, blocking Willits bypass construction and protecting critical wetlands. For some background read Red-Tailed Hawk High Up on the Stitcher for Second Day.
Saturday evening around 45 supporters of Red-Tailed Hawk’s occupation of a wick drain “stitching machine” converged on the site in what was precious wetlands in the path of CalTrans’ freeway project. Supporters walked onto the site unopposed until they reached CHP squad cars, when two officers emerged and tried to call a halt to the march. Supporters from Willits, Ukiah and beyond proceeded on the the stitcher in which Red-Tailed Hawk is perched. When he lowered a supply rope, they tried to attach bundles of food and water. CHP officers repelled the attempt three times, cutting the rope in the process.
With press on hand protestors quietly sat and reasoned with the officers to allow resupply to Red-Tailed Hawk, who has no food and very little water left. The officers refused and refused as well to reveal whether they were under orders to starve him until he descends.
When CHP reinforcements arrived, Sgt A. Mesa ordered protesters to leave the site and immediately grabbed Sara Grusky as she was complying with the order. Her daughter Thea Grusky-Foley and Naomi Wagner allowed themselves to be arrested in solidarity. Matt Caldwell, who had attempted to attach buckets to the line, was also arrested.
The evening ended at Willits Police Station, where Sara and Thea, who had walked away after being handcuffed, talked by phone to press and Sheriff Tom Allman amidst a crowd of supporters. They surrendered to an angry Sgt. Mesa after calling in their whereabouts to the CHP.
All four arrestees are currently at Mendocino County Jail, awaiting booking. Red-Tailed Hawk is still without water and food and needs all the support we can give him.