Free Assembly Project calls for Ingram’s criminal prosecution 

Scottie Addison, coordinator of the Free Assembly Project, in St. Louis, Missouri, wrote a letter to Lassen County District Attorney Melyssah Rios, calling for the prosecution of Lassen County District 5 Supervisor Jason Ingram for cutting the waterlines at the Rainbow Family Gathering site last week.

Local rancher Richard Egan and Rainbow Family Gathering participants discuss the diversion of water from Indian Creek.

Here’s the text of that letter.

Based on confirmed reports and confessed actions, this is a call for criminal charges to be filed against Lassen County Supervisor Jason Ingram, for willful destruction of property and sabotage to obstruct and intimidate First Amendment exercise.

Ingram has admitted to chopping water lines at the site of the Rainbow Gathering in Plumas National Forest. There is clear probable cause for his indictment, and other such crimes in the area should be investigated in this light. He should be so charged in his personal capacities, possibly extending to statutory hate crimes in light of his brazen vigilante motives and methods.

Tiny Indian Creek is supposed to provide water for up to 10,000 Rainbow Gatherers?

Further sanctions in his official capacities are appropriate, where his actions are clearly contrary to public interests he is bound by oath to protect, and it is abuse of his position to promote and provoke violence against harmless citizens, their necessities and welfare.

To be clear – the annual Rainbow Gathering is a peaceful assembly, a sacred pilgrimage for many, and a commitment to mutual care and public land stewardship for all. Any destruction or theft of on-site water systems is not a trivial crime, where water needs for sustenance, sanitation, and fire protection are put at risk.

Understand that there is a long history of innovative gravity water systems for the gatherings, respected and authorized by the Forest Service in the past. These installations are temporary, non-invasive in construction, and removed at the close of the event without impact. Water use on-site is “non-consumptive,” retained in the local watershed, returned naturally to the aquifer without erosion, and not “diverted” elsewhere for private benefit.

Lassen County District 5 Supervisor Jason Ingram makes good on his promise to cook smash burgers for the folks protesting the Rainbow Gathering.

On June 17 gatherers proposed an Operating Plan to the District Ranger, including provisions for such a water system and other facilities, responsibly seeking special use authorization for this public assembly. 36 CFR 261.1a. Skilled volunteers install these water systems for the protection of public health, safety, and resources … by law they are protected in turn, acting in accord with Public Authority for the well-being of citizens and the land, in service of First Amendment exercise. U.S. v. DeMars, 5:15-mj-00130 (Dist.SD, W.Div., 2016).

Conversely, the avowed actions of Jason Ingram are unlawful and unbefitting any elected official.

Reportedly he has convened local protests and drummed up hostilities against the gathering. He has a right to express ignorant opinions, but his conduct crosses the line into hate speech and incitement by example.

This crime goes beyond petty vandalism or property losses of a few victims: There is a clear intent to cause collateral harms to many others – and to obstruct their exercise of protected rights of assembly on public land.

“…public Forest Service lands are the type of forum in which expressive activity has historically occurred, and in which public expression of views must be tolerated to a maximum extent.”
U.S. v. Rainbow Family, 695 F.Supp 294, 303 E.D. Tex. 1988; at 308.

The prosecution of Jason Ingram is warranted, aligned with the mission of the District Attorney’s Office to act in the public interest. This is not proposed lightly, nor can it be done lightly as a symbolic gesture … where political power openly resorts to sabotage and mob incitement, the implications are far too serious
for our safety and social compact as citizens.

Like his obvious orange hero, Ingram is not above the law.

We have deep supporting research, and can assist in securing complaining witnesses.

Thanks for your earnest consideration and sense of duty.