EV1 Vigil Arrests: My Perspective
By Paul Scott
Editor's Note: We just interviewed Mike Kane who followed the first transporters to Phoenix at approximately 11:30 AM Central Time, March 15, 2005. You can listen to his remarks by using the MP3 player just below Paul Scott's photo.
The call came in around 10 am. I had just sent off the second fax to Bill Maher and was about to start the LA Times editorial pitch. [Former 'Baywatch' actress] Alexandra Paul says two transport trucks just pulled in. I told her to verify that the EVs were being loaded and call me back. I then began making calls to the top of the list. Within 5 minutes, Alexandra calls again to say they are indeed loading EVs.
Then the fun began. I fired off a one line email to the EV lists, made a couple calls and jumped in the car. Zan stayed home and started calling the press. Marc Geller was one of my first calls as I knew he could do a lot from his perch in SF.
I arrived at the site about 30 minutes later and drove around to the Pickwick parking lot to get a good view of the loading. It was then I realized I'd forgotten the camera. Damn!
Luckily, Alexandra and others had theirs, so we were able to record the happenings. Both trucks were close to full already. Crap, there comes a third one. This is bad.
The press were starting to come. KABC was there when I arrived, and in quick succession, CNN, KTLA, ABC, LA Times, Washington Post and NBC arrived. NBC was very late, arriving as the arrests were being made. They are so lame, just down the street and couldn't get there till the end. I was told NPR was there, but didn't talk to anyone.
One unfortunate casualty is that the NY Times reporter, Chris Dixon, was on his way, but got pulled in route by his editor who put him on the reversal of the gay marriage ban. Good news sometimes hurts:~)
The mood was high excitement as we waited out front with the reporters, talking to some, but mostly walking around with cell phones stuck to our heads. I'm worried since I not only didn't bring my camera, I left my cell charger, too. It goes from 3 bars to 2.
The truckers make us wait. There are a few GM guys talking with the truckers in back. I check on Alexandra and Collette who are parked in the bike lane just off the driveway, poised. Neighbors are coming out to watch from across the street. I'm sure many of them are happy to see something finally happening.
All of a sudden, another transport, this one an open type, drives up and begins to back into the drive. Alexandra surprised everybody as she immediately drove up to block the truck from entering. She positioned herself smack in the middle of the drive, on the street side of the sidewalk. She set the brake, rolled up the windows and locked the doors.
It was happening! The media swarmed. Not more than a minute later, the two loaded transports from the back lot tried to pull out. There was Alexandra stuck in-between three massive transporter trucks with her Rav EV decorated with banners stating our case. Great photo op.
The police moved quickly as an officer walked up and tapped on her window with his knuckle. She and Collette ignored the officer and continued looking forward. Some talk ensues and the cameras recorded it all. Once it was clear the two women were staying put, the police retreated to instruct the trucker blocking the street to move out of the way. He moved to the median a short way off and proceeded to load some ICE vehicles. Apparently, he wasn't there to pick up the EVs afterall.
Lots of police are here. They keep coming, too. Several cars, some motorcycles, tow truck and a paddy wagon! They seem to outnumber us. Things are heating up. Everybody is either holding a camera, mike or protest sign. Doug and Jennifer are leading the crowd in cheers. It's a great spectacle!
Chelsea, Jen and I were constantly on the phone, talking to press, the women in the car, or others in route or at home wanting updates. The diesel trucks make a hell of a racket. It is sunny and hot.
Seems like a good hour goes by with the activity level increasing the whole time. The police are discussing action, I could tell, so I wander over close to them to get a sense of how they are going to make the arrest. While standing near their huddle, the one apparently in charge and dressed in civvies turned to me and asked to speak. I enter a small group of three officers who introduced themselves and explained what they were going to do. They were very professional and respectful and told me that if Alexandra and Collette were willing to get out of the car, it would all go away right then and there. I then walked over to the car and called Alexandra. She explained that she wasn't interested in such an ending. I related that to the Lieutenant who then explained how it would happen. They would use a locksmith to unlock the door, but if Alexandra kept locking it, they would have to break the window.
I called her again. She assured me she would not relock it. The lieutenant then said that if any of the protesters interfered with the arrest, they, too, would be arrested. Then about 12 or more police surrounded the car and a locksmith went to work. The door was opened, Alexandra appeared to at first ignored the officer until he took her left arm off the steering wheel when she then spoke to the officer as she got out of the car in his grip. He fastened the plastic cuffs on her and the cameras bunched in for the shot. As she was led away, we got a good sound bite as she loudly exclaimed, "Save the EV1".
Then, they turned their attention to Collette, who appeared to be resisting a little at first, but eventually was pulled out and cuffed. Both were taken to the paddy wagon and put inside. About 5 officers pushed the Rav EV into the street where the tow truck guy quickly hooked it up. All very neat and efficient. If only our auto industry were as good.
The trucks had the green light and pulled out into traffic. Our two chase cars were ready to go, Chelsea in one and Mike Kane in the other. They pull out and follow.
With the trucks gone, the noise level fell off substantially. The press then turned to interview those of us left and the guards and police tend to the cleanup.
With all this press, we better get our message out. It's a terrible waste if those wonderful two women are arrested and nobody hears about it.
The chase cars continued to dial in with updates, but I've now been on one bar for lots of calls. Just as I hear the beep, someone comes up with a charger that's compatible. To make it better, I plug into the solar array. Clean solar juice flows into the Motorola.
Now, I get calls from Alexandra to coordinate with her husband, Ian, on getting her out of jail. I waited a bit to get a charge in the phone and drove over to meet him at the SPI chargers at Burbank City Hall.
As I close, Chelsea (accompanied by David Lane) and Mike Kane in the other car are out past Palm Springs shadowing the transports to the EV1 desert death camps.
THIS JUST IN...
I was about to send this when Mike Kane called and tells me just at the first truck with Chelsea and David following crossed the AZ border, an AZ highway patrol officer pulls them over and tells then to stop harrassing the trucker. Looks like he just wanted to delay them until the truck could get away!! He reportedly chewed them out for following the truck. The trucker must have dropped the dime on Chelsea. Amazing! Big bad trucker being afraid of a tiny 110 lb. redhead. Sheesh.