Remaining 10 Hobet Mine protesters freed
HAMLIN, W.Va. -- The remaining 10 anti-mountaintop removal activists who were arrested during a demonstration last month were released from jail Tuesday.
The West Virginia State Police arrested 20 members of Radical Action for Mountain People's Survival, or RAMPS, on July 28 after they linked arms and refused to leave Patriot Coal's Hobet Mine in Lincoln County. They were sent to the Western Regional Jail and ordered held on $25,000 property bonds.
Dustin Steele, 21, a Matewan native who now lives in Blair, was released early last week after supporters raised enough money to pay his bail. Steele and his supporters are demanding a federal investigation into alleged abuse that Steele says he suffered outside the State Police detachment in Madison.
Nine more protesters were released Friday after each was sentenced to one year of probation and a $500 fine. The remaining 10 were released Tuesday with the same sentence.
Matthew Louis-Rosenberg, a RAMPS spokesman, criticized Lincoln County Magistrate Mona Snodgrass for setting high bail amounts for misdemeanor charges. A fellow magistrate has said bail amounts are left to the courts' discretion.