Charges dismissed against two LNG ‘Water Warriors’

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By Matt Nagle
matt@tacomaweekly.com

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Victory was celebrated outside the courthouse with Dakota Case and Chester Earl (behind flag). At left, Earl (right) and Case and Chester Earl (behind flag).

pt. 19 against two Puyallup tribal “water warriors.” Meeting before Hon. Judge Carl Williams in Fife Municipal Court that day, Puyallup Tribal members Chester Earl and Dakota Case had faced one count each of disorderly conduct, but the judge decided to dismiss the case without prejudice based on jurisdictional issues.
Earl and Case were arrested by Fife police on Sept. 5 for allegedly blocking a construction vehicle from entering the LNG construction site in Fife. With the city of Fife sitting directly on the Puyallup reservation, it could have become a major sovereignty issue with the non-tribal Fife city prosecutor pressing charges against tribal members on their own reservation despite the fact that Puyallup Tribal Police at the scene moved to not make the arrests.

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Earl (right) and Case (left) get support from Puyallup Tribal Councilmembers David Bean and Tim Reynon.

“The city tried to drop charges without prejudice and they did do that,” Earl said. “We made a motion to drop with prejudice based on the fact that the city prosecutor tried to say if the tribe did not acknowledge that we did something wrong and charge us in tribal court, they were going to prosecute us. We got the judge to dismiss it based on jurisdictional issues. That locked up our defense.”

Earl and Case both expressed their firm commitment to continuing the fight to stop LNG from coming to the South Sound, and hold the same stance against any other such development that would jeopardize the environment here or anywhere.

“Just look at today, for example. We got Hurricane Irma right behind Mariazz, a 7.1 earthquake in Mexico… Mother Earth is talking. She’s giving us every warning the world,” Earl said. “We all have to do our part in protecting Mother Earth.”

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