Climate activist Tim DeChristopher, who has been in solitary confinement since March 9 for confusing reasons that might have to do with a “threat” to give someone their money back, was released back into regular old prison Wednesday night.
DeChristopher’s activist group Peaceful Uprising credits the groundswell of outrage when people found out their hero was in the hole:
Tim was moved back to the MINIMUM SECURITY CAMP — late on the night of Wed March 28th, after FCI Herlong, the BOP office in Washington, DC and members of Congress received thousands of phone calls… from YOU!
It’s still not entirely clear what happened to get Tim isolated, but Rolling Stone reporter Jeff Goodell has some ideas:
According to [Patrick] Shea, a veteran lawyer and director of the federal Bureau of Land Management during the Clinton administration, this is what happened to DeChristopher: On March 5, he wrote an email to Dylan Schneider, the treasurer and volunteer coordinator at Peaceful Uprising, a climate activism group co-founded by DeChristopher. In the email (you can read the whole thing below), DeChristopher discusses the fact that an unnamed corporate donor who contributed to his legal defense fund is exporting U.S. manufacturing jobs and laying off workers. … He then says that he plans to send a letter to the owner of the company that made the donation, explaining why it bothers him. He writes, “This letter will include a threat to wage a campaign against them if they don’t reverse course and keep the plants open.”
Let’s be clear about what DeChristopher is doing here: He’s threatening to give back a $25,000 donation because the donor’s company is exporting jobs, thus tainting the donation in his eyes. Is this the action of a dangerous criminal?
The prison’s email-scanning software would have picked up the word “threat,” and then an extended game of telephone might have landed Tim in solitary. Because unbeknownst to all of us, he was actually imprisoned by the Keystone Kops.