Timber Boom I
More than a decade after a car bomb injured two members of the radical environmental group Earth First!, a federal jury will decide whether the FBI and police in Oakland, Calif., violated the civil rights of the victims by ignoring evidence in the case. On May 24, 1990, Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney were headed to Santa Cruz as part of “Redwood Summer,” a series of peaceful protests to promote the protection of the ancient trees, when the bomb exploded. The police initially believed that the two were eco-terrorists and victims of their own bomb. Both vigorously denied that claim. Supporters said Bari and Cherney may have been targeted because they were a threat to timber companies and other powerful interests in California’s North Coast. Shortly after the bombing, another motive emerged when a journalist received a letter in which an anti-abortion activist claimed responsibility. (The pair had taken part in pro-choice counter-protests two years earlier.) The FBI later verified that the author of the letter had specific and accurate information about the bomb — but neither the bureau nor the police ever apologized to the victims, and no suspect was ever found.