The latest in a series of high profile protests of mountaintop removal coal mining ended with the removal and arrest of 12 activists, a filmmaker, and a documentary photographer from a Massey Energy site in West Virginia. On Thursday, they went before a judge in Boone County. I’ve been alerted by a colleague of the filmmaker that during the arrest, Massey Energy company employees confiscated the photographers’ equipment.
Azure Samuels writes:
“It has been determined that some of the media shot by filmmaker Kurt Mann has been removed from the camera after it was confiscated by the Boone County police department. It’s whereabouts are unknown. Paul Corbit Brown’s camera was completely destroyed, a fact verified by Chief Deputy Chad Barker. Kurt Mann’s camera also suffered heavy damages.”
Apparently, Massey workers threw filmmaker Kurt Mann’s $20,000 camera into the back of a truck for a ride to the sheriff’s office, destroying it. He also says Massey employees removed the media card from the camera, which contained shooting he’d done of the protest.
Regardless of whether the photographers were breaking the law, if these assertions are true, it certainly appears that Massey wants to keep people from seeing the footage they shot. A Massey spokesman did not return my call for comment.