‘Not Guilty’ was the verdict today in the trial for Super 6 grannies, Marilyn Kimmerling and Cynthia Linet. As well as family and friends, Water Protectors filed the courtroom to support of the pair.
Back in May, Cynthia and Marilyn were involved in a lockdown at the site where Puget Sound Energy is building it’s Liquid Natural Gas Plant. Many supporters joined from another direct action playing out at the same site which is located at the Port of Tacoma.
We received the call on the morning of May 17, 2017. Six people had locked themselves down to an auger at the LNG site. We arrived to see a noticeable police presence. The police had set up a checkpoint on the road into the Port. However, they had to let anyone with tribal ID pass, as those roads and some areas accessible only from them are on tribal land. A rally of support for the group, known as the Super Six, took place outside of the jail that evening.
Guilt-less Not Gut-less
The Not Guilty verdict was a surprise to most of the people in the room. The mood up until that point had been apprehensive. The news was met with jubilation by their supporters. The joy could hardly be contained as many rose to their feet and cheered after the jury delivered its verdict. The judge wasn’t having any of it and warned everyone that they needed to stay calm. It was a different story out in the foyer, however, as their cheer and song echoed throughout.
The oldest members of the Super 6 who locked down were the women that wanted to take it all the way. According to them, this would be the best way to challenge the City of Tacoma. Consequently, they found out that they were in for a fight. We were told the Judge and prosecution didn’t want to use climate change, fracking or any other environmental condition as a defense.
Out of all the participants of the Super 6, only Marilyn and Cynthia decided on a jury trial. It was felt the impact of two friendly grandmothers, would send a huge statement.
Especially relevant to this case was the testimony of longtime activist, Ramona Bennett. Ramona is most noteworthy in her strong involvement with the fishing rights for the Puyallup Tribe. Ramona has been involved with tribal rights since 1964. As a result, her testimony before the judge and jury concerning a land claim to the Port of Tacoma was not new to her.
Our Hands Go Up
Our hands go up to these brave women. Despite the threat of jail, they stayed the course to stand up for what is right. They were able to prove that they were not guilty of the charge that the City of Tacoma had brought against them.
As a result, their bravery may have opened an important legal path that will enable the Puyallup Tribe to protect their treaty rights.