No Pepper Spray On Nonviolent Protesters

updated 6/4/06

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Police Video Shows Pepper Spray Torture


A shocking police video shows deputies swabbing liquid pepper spray directly in the eye of nonviolent protester Jennifer Schneider, whose arms were locked to those of adjacent protesters. The forest activists were conducting a sit-in in the Eureka, California office of then Congressman Frank Riggs. When the video was broadcast nationwide and overseas by the national TV networks, there was almost universal outrage and criticism of the police tactics in this case. Editorials in the San Francisco Examiner, the San Francisco Chronicle, the San Jose Mercury-News, the Jasper (Wyoming) Star-Tribune, and a press release by Amnesty International all condemned it as torture.

Deputies pepper sprayed Mike McCurdy (above) and Noel Tendick directly in the eyes at close range while they were locked together through the tracks of a Pacific Lumber bulldozer on an old-growth redwood logging site. The activists endured the torture and did not unlock. Deputies safely cut them loose with a portable grinder, as they could have done without using pepper spray, and as they had done for years previously.

Graphic from Fire In The Eyes video cover by Earth Films 

The Pepper Spray Eight show confidence during the second trial of their federal civil rights lawsuit against Humboldt County California and the City of Eureka. Photo by Nicholas Wilson (contact through  for permission to use).

Plaintiffs and lawyers at their victory press conference

Plaintiffs and lawyers give a victory salute in front of the S.F. Federal Courthouse during their Friday, April 29, 2005 press conference announcing the unanimous jury verdict in their favor. Kneeling are plaintiffs Jennifer "Banka" Schneider, Noel Hewitt Tendick and Terri "Compost" Slanetz. Standing are plaintiff Maya Portugal, lead attorney Dennis Cunningham, plaintiff Spring Lundberg, attorneys Gordon Kaupp and Bill Simpich, and plaintiff Sam Neuwirth. Not pictured are plaintiffs Lisa Sanderson-Fox and Mike McCurdy, and attorneys Tony Serra, Ben Rosenfeld and Bob Bloom. Photo by Nicholas Wilson