FBI, Oakland police file appeals in Earth First! case

Monday September 09, 2002

OAKLAND — The police department and the FBI have asked a judge to set aside the $4.4 million a jury awarded to two Earth First activists earlier this year. 

Activists Darryl Cherney and the late Judi Bari sued the police department and the FBI saying their civil rights were violated in the investigation of a 1990 bombing that injured them both. 

Police arrested the two hours after the blast. Investigators said they were carrying the bomb for an act of environmental sabotage, but the case fell apart weeks later when prosecutors said there wasn’t sufficient evidence to bring charges. 

In papers filed in U.S. District Court on Friday, the Oakland Police Department said three of the officers involved deserve new trials. They said the previous trial relied on improperly admitted evidence and testimony, and the plaintiffs’ attorneys committed misconduct. 

The FBI also filed papers Friday making similar claims for three of its agents. 

In June, a jury awarded Cherney and Bari’s estate compensatory and punitive damages. Police and FBI officials said the award amounts were inappropriate. 

Last month, the U.S District Court confirmed the June ruling which opened the door for last week’s appeals. The court is expected to weigh in on the appeals sometime in November.