On their way to interview a local citizen still living near the site of last year’s TVA coal-ash disaster, United Mountain Defense (UMD) volunteer Matt Landon Jones and two journalists were detained and searched by TVA police. The police officer was writing trespassing warning citations for all three when he received a phone call. At that point, the game changed, and instead of issuing warnings, the TVA police arrested and charged all three with criminal trespassing, in what can only be characterized as a gross overreaction.
TVA’s Community Relations Senior Manager posted a notice to the Roane County Community Advisory Board in which she reports that “TVA Police found the three offenders in and on top of ash-loaded rail cars located on tracks adjacent to the middle road entrance to plant.”
Matt’s citation, however, explicitly states that he was in the back passenger seat of the car.
Video that was rolling until the officer ripped the camera out of Matt’s hands clearly shows both Matt and one of the journalists sitting inside the car. Bail for these three individuals had been posted at $2,000 each. They were released last night at around 10pm.
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