My family is grateful to the jury and wants to thank them for their courageous decision. They have affirmed our faith in the justice system. We're only sorry that my sister Judi is no longer alive and able to share this sweet moment.
Before and after my sister's bombing in 1990, law enforcement that we normally turn to for protection was not there for her. When the call went out over a Fort Bragg radio station to kill Judi Bari, no one stepped in to diffuse the situation. When she received even more death threats, the local police cold-heartedly dismissed her pleas for help. And after she was viciously bombed, the system failed her again.
When her family and friends came to her side at the Oakland hospital, they found her critically hurt and in horrific, obscene pain. Yet Judi was also in a state of panic. Not only could she receive no police protection from the anonymous bomber who was still at-large, but the Oakland Police wanted to pull her from her room and place her in handcuffs in the hospital's prison ward for supposedly bombing herself. She suffered further indignities when she heard herself characterized as an eco-terrorist bomber by the news media, and when her house was publicly searched by the FBI as she lay helplessly in her hospital bed. Thereafter, she lived in constant pain and anxiety, and spent the rest of her life trying to clear her name.
The ripple effect of a violent crime is enormous. When the authorities are against you rather than on your side, all the problems are magnified. Judi suffered, her two young children suffered, her family suffered, and her wider community of friends and supporters suffered. Now that the Oakland Police and the FBI have been brought to justice, they owe it to my family to explain what cause they had to hold my sister's civil rights in such contempt.
Judi's political message was adamantly nonviolent. Yet, for 12 long years she has been wrongly connected with terrorism. After Sept. 11th and the threatening of many of our rights in the name of homeland security, I'm afraid that this scenario will occur more often. My family has seen up close how much harm can result when rights are ignored. In Judi's case, the authorities stepped outside the law, and yesterday they were found guilty of false arrest, defamation of character, and illegal search and seizure. The verdict reminds us that protection against terrorism should never outweigh the protection of our own civil rights. Otherwise, like my sister Judi Bari, we will be made to suffer the consequences.
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June 17 2002 (http://albionmonitor.net) All Rights Reserved. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for permission to use in any format.
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