Whatcom County Court Holds Facebook in Contempt for Not Disclosing Water Protectors Information & Sets Daily FinesTweet
Appeals Court Denies Discretionary Review and Motion to Stay Execution of Warrant: Whatcom County prosecutors plan to profit $2000 a day is racist and anti-Indigenous.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 17th, 2017
Bellingham WA – Dear friends of the Red Line Salish Sea, I must bring you all problematic news that the Court of Appeals of the State of Washington ruled against our motion to appeal the warrant to search the information on the Indigenous led Facebook page the Red Line Salish Sea (Formerly the Bellingham NoDapl Coalition).
It is disappointing because the courts have not protected the rights of people to be free from harm of unlawful search and seizure and suppression of free speech. Our goal for filing the appeal to challenge the warrant was to keep your personal data safe. We believe that it is important to protect our constitutional rights to politically assemble, and stand up for what we believe in even if our dissenting views are against the current administration, which should not be a cause to search over 1700 peoples personal information.
The Whatcom County Prosecutor states their reason for going through the data is a desire to bring misdemeanor charges to Water Protectors who blocked I-5 in protest to the Dakota Access Pipeline. We bring an appeal to the warrant because we believe Constitutional rights outweigh the broad search for data that the warrant will execute.
The search warrant aims to collect data within a 10-day time period from February 5th 2017 – February 15th 2017. Information to be seized include:
1) ALL STORED CONTENT from the Bellingham NoDAPL Coalition Page (Red Line Salish Sea)
2) Administrator or moderator profile information, including ID numbers, linked personal profile ID’s associated with any such administrator or moderator profiles. With all status updates, private messages, videos, photographs, images, articles, wall postings, event postings, comments, and tags. Posted to, shared by, and uploaded to the page.
3) Event information including Facebook account names and ID#’s of all people included in the Guest section of the event to include those who are “Interested”, “Going” and “Invited”, as well as and event discussion posts.
All of the data will be reviewed by a two-step process. First, a group of law enforcement and prosecutors (the Privilege team) will sort through and provide relevant date to the second team of law enforcement and prosecutors (the Investigator team). Make note the warrant says that the Privileged and Investigative teams will not discuss any privileged information. Also notice that all of these good ol’ boys work in the same offices.
Lastly, the Privileged and Investigative teams do not destroy the data they’ve received of those who are not under investigation. Instead they will seal those records and keep them with the court. Now why would they want to do that?
On 11/14/17 Facebook Inc. was held on contempt of court for not handing over the data but a stay was put on the fine until the decision on the appeal was made. Facebook now has 10 days from November 17th to turn over the data or face a fine of $2000 a day. We intend to bring another appeal because we believe that those who are in power should not be fear mongers, bullies, or have the authority to suppress constitutional rights through their means. We find it despicable that Whatcom County is choosing to spend the time and energy of several of their staff and law enforcement to surmount a witch-hunt on Indigenous Water Protectors and Allies. Their plan to profit $2000 a day while persecuting tribal environmentalists is racist and Anti-Indigenous.
You say you want to do more? What you can do –
Contact Prosecuting Attorney David McEachran and let him know that enough is enough and that his forty-two (42) years in office doesn’t constitute a dictatorship.
Send McEachran an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org, or a letter to: 311 Grand Avenue, Suite 201, Bellingham, WA 98225, or call: (360) 676-6784.
Take a photo of yourself holding a sign that says:
Stop the witch-hunt and bullying
Learn what constitutional rights are respect them
Then post to the Red Line Salish Sea Facebook page.