CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Police arrested a California filmmaker on her way to shoot a mountaintop removal protest Saturday morning. At least four others also were arrested before and during the protest, which took place at Patriot Coal's Hobet Mine in Lincoln County, according to organizers.
Babette Hogan, 52, of San Francisco, said she was taking pictures from the passenger seat of a vehicle on Kanawha State Forest Drive before the protest when a West Virginia State Police trooper demanded her camera.
"I started shooting what looked like a scene to me and the trooper came over and asked me if I had been taking his picture," she said. She said she replied that she had been taking pictures of what was going on.
"He said, 'Give me your camera,'" Hogan alleged.
When she refused, Hogan said, she was placed in handcuffs and eventually taken to the detachment in Marmet, where she was fingerprinted.
Hogan claimed the trooper, whom she described as young, most likely was concerned about having been photographed while being out of uniform -- the man was not wearing his State Police-issued hat, she said.
At the time Hogan was taking pictures, officers were trying to clear the road, where numerous cars had parked, she said.
Hogan said she empathized with the officers, who she said were attempting to manage a tense situation on little sleep. On a different day -- when tensions were not so high -- the man might not have arrested her, she said.
"I have shot in West Virginia before and shot troopers with no problem," Hogan, who is working on a documentary about the environment, said. "[I have] found them to be really responsible people under the circumstances that they have to work. I have a high respect for them and what they're facing. It's just so tense."