Medical attention delayed for tree-sitter in distress
Berkeley, CA July 2, 2008
This morning, three of the remaining tree sitters occupying the Berkeley Oak Grove announced plans to leave the trees. Two of the sitters holed up in a redwood at the north part of the memorial grove negotiated for a couple hours with campus police before finally climbing down. Both were cited and released from the Berkeley jail. The sitters, who go by the names Olive and Bird, said that they support the efforts to save the grove, but had to come down. They noted that their absence would leave more of the dwindling food supplies for the remaining tree sitters.
The third sitter known as Dumpster Muffin told onsite police that she had some medical problems that required she leave the grove. After lowering herself down some 50 feet to the ground, she was met by police. The officers began to search her and walk her away. The unsteady tree sitter fell to her knees and complained of feeling faint. After several attempts to walk, Muffin was lifted up the stadium steps to await an ambulance.
Earlier this morning, her physician, Dr. Larry Bedard, had been instructed to wait outside the Oak Grove compound and that he would be called if an emergency developed. When he saw Muffin's condition, he requested that she be taken to Alta Bates Hospital in Berkeley. Instead, UC Assistant Police Chief Ceyala ordered Muffin to be taken to Highland Hospital in Oakland.
Muffin's doctor also criticized the campus police for failing to administer basic first aid to her when she exhibited signs of fainting. Dr. Bedard also raised questions as to why she was not taken to the closer medical facility in Berkeley as she requested.
The university needs to abandon its starve-out policy because of the effect it is having on the safety of the tree sitters. The university is acting in a negligent and reckless manner by only allowing a few "power" bars and a gallon of water per sitter to be lifted into the trees each day. Those meager rations cannot sustain the strength, health and judgment of those still occupying the trees and will inevitably lead to an accident or worse. Today marks the 579th day of the Berkeley tree-sit at the university campus.
Note: Berkeley Citizen was specifically asked by tree-sitters to monitor both their descent and the UC Berkeley campus police.This video also includes Chanel 2,Channel 4 and Chanel 5 news broadcasts (San Francisco Bay Area) with shared footage from Berkeley Citizen... some without any acknowledgement of the source