Enbridge Protesters Go To Court

By: Alyssa Fenske Email
By: Alyssa Fenske Email

MASON (WILX)-- The Enbridge protesters who locked themselves to construction equipment could be getting the real lock-up.

When Lisa Leggio, Barbara Carter, Vickie Hamlin, and Will Lawrence locked themselves to an excavator and a bulldozer on July 22nd, they knew there would be criminal charges.

"It was something I was willing to do because I feel so strongly about it," said Carter.

Cater says what was a simple demonstration against the Enbridge B6 pipeline enlargement in Stockbridge, is now being depicted as less than peaceful.

"We endangered no one. We were even pleasant to cops," said Carter.

What Carter and the others didn't plan on, was being charged with more than a misdemeanor for trespassing. They're also being charged with resisting and obstructing an officer, which is a felony.

"I think a felony for a peaceful protest is completely un-lawful, and completely unconstitutional. Felonies are for rapists and for murders," said Carter.

If convicted, they could face up to three years in prison. It's a possibility that weighs heavy on all four.

"Being a mother this is a very big deal. A very very big deal. My son starts kindergarten on Tuesday," said Leggio.

But the nerves only go so far for Leggio. She added that if she had the chance, she would do it again.

"I'm doing this for my son, and for all our children. We don't have a second earth," said Leggio.

According to police testimony, all four were given the chance to release themselves.

"I gave them a warning. Basically (I told them) that they had the opportunity to un-fix themselves, and they would only be charged with trespassing," said Sgt. Melissa Brown with Ingham Co. Sheriff Dept.

The charges will be brought to circuit court. Leggio, Carter, and their fellow protesters say they're ready to face what comes. But they don't have to face it alone, fellow activists who were at the protest say they will be there for them every step of the way.

"It's awesome to have such support. It's been amazing all around," said Carter.

The fourth protester, Will Lawrence, waived his preliminary exam. He's hoping that the court will give him leniency as he pursues a new job. The other three did not waive their rights, and will continue fighting the charges.

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