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10/24/2006 Archived Entry: "Lauren Canario is a very brave woman"
LAUREN CANARIO IS A VERY BRAVE WOMAN. And a woman of principle. She's protesting the still-steamrolling Kelo outrage with mind, heart, and body. Her story (latest news below) reminds me of Juanita Nelson's gentle tale of adamant resistance to the income tax back in the 1950s. Nelson was in turn inspired by the harrowingly awesome resistance of World War II conscientious objector, Corbett Bishop. It takes more than I can even imagine to do what they do.
Here's Lauren's latest news, courtesy of Michael Fisher:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - NO RESTRICTIONS ON USE OF CONTENT
Free Stater Imprisoned Indefinitely Pending Trial
NEW LONDON, Conn, Oct. 23, 2006 - After already serving 31 days in jail, Free State Project member Lauren Canario of New London was ordered at yesterday's hearing to be held indefinitely pending a future trial.
Canario was arrested on Sept. 22 for criminal trespass, interfering with police, and refusing to be fingerprinted. Anti-eminent-domain protestors held "Free Lauren Canario" signs at the city jail after she was arrested for sitting down in an attempt to prevent the boarding up of Fort Trumbull homes. The neighborhood was recently seized by the City of New London. She has been held for the past month pending a hearing and she is refusing to be represented by a lawyer.
Protesters arrived early Monday to support Canario. But, according to Free State Project member Kat Dillon, "They told us she wouldn't be brought in until 2 p.m., so we went out until about 1:30 p.m. When we came back, it was done and no one got to see her." 10-year-old protester William asked his father, "Why would they trick us like that, Dad?"
An anonymous source at the courthouse said State officials were heard laughing about the demonstration.
Video of last month's arrest shows two police officers dragging her away, leaving her on her knees in the street at one point, then forcing her into a police vehicle. In a Sept. 21 phone call, New London City Police Lt. Ackley claimed that Canario "victimized" him by refusing to cooperate. "I hurt my back when I had to drag her off the floor," he said.
After the arrest, Judge Kevin P. McMahon ordered an evaluation of Canario's mental competence and raised her bond from $5,000 to $20,000. Recently, she was found competent to stand trial, and today she was ordered held until an
unknown future trial date, sometime within the next year.
The Connecticut jail system received global attention two weeks ago when Human Rights Watch censured the state, in a 20-page report, for using police attack dogs to force people from their cells. "Corrections officials in Connecticut and Iowa insist the use of attack dogs is justified because they deter prisoner misconduct and reduce staff injuries," the report said. "But 45 other states and the Federal Bureau of Prisons reject their views."
Like a tree in the forest
Canario was also arrested during a town meeting in September of 2005 and charged with criminal trespass, refusal to be fingerprinted, and interfering with police. For several weeks, she left the court, judge, and police in disarray while refusing to speak or walk as ordered. "I don't know what to do with this," Judge Hillary Strackbein said during Canario's second silent court appearance last year. Canario was eventually released and sentenced to time served.
A headline from local publication "TheDay" at the time said Canario was "like a tree in the forest."
She has a reputation for not physically resisting the police, but refusing to speak and going limp when force is used against her. Video footage from last year's arrest showed police carrying her off from New London City Hall after ordering her, the media, and others to leave a public meeting which police claimed was overcrowded. After angering the media, the city manager and fire chief blamed each other for the selective enforcement of overcrowding ordinances during the highly charged discussions of eminent domain.
Two supporters fasting
As of Monday night, Free State Project and New Hampshire Underground activist Kat Dillon, of Keene, had already been fasting for 10 days for Canario's release. Dillon remains in good health and has not said when her fast will end. Free Stater John Connell also began fasting on Monday in support of Canario. He will fast for one day, for "justice." He said, "These kinds of people are very happy to nail Lauren Ann Canario to the eminent domain cross and be done with this small problem."
Fort Trumbull residents were forced to leave their homes after the New London Development Corporation legally seized the properties with the June 2005 approval of the U.S. Supreme Court. The case received global publicity at the time, and supporters across the country rallied to help, but failed to stop the city's property confiscations. The remaining families moved out of their homes in August, and the city has apparently left the abandoned neighborhood standing for the foreseeable future.
The Free State Project is a well-known migration of pro-liberty activists to New Hampshire. However, Canario and her husband Jim Johnson decided to move to Fort Trumbull to fight against eminent domain before moving to New
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Contacts: Michael Fisher, 801-430-0635; Kat Dillon, 603-357-2049
E-mail: Michael@NHCaspian.org or firstname.lastname@example.org
Video of last month's arrest: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gaITPIRHJ3c
Video of last year's arrest: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v-ElrlwnMrA
Posted by Claire @ 09:33 AM CST