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Darryl Cherney asks, "Who bombed Judi Bari?"

Photo courtesy of http://www.judibari.org/

It was called "Redwood Summer." Back in 1990, environmental activists were gathering in Humbolt County, staging tree sittings and calling for an end to clear cutting the redwoods and for the preservation of the Headwaters Forest.

Tensions between the activists and local loggers were rising. Earth First activists Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney had received numerous death threats for their work.  Still, they continued to fight for the forests.  On May 24, 1990, the two were in Oakland and got in the car to drive down to Santa Cruz for a rally.

Bari describes the trauma that ensued, “I was driving my car down the street and I was following somebody. At a certain point, I think she was getting ready to make a turn and I was trying to follow her and realized I wasn’t going right and I quickly hit the brake. At the time that I hit the break, there was a huge explosion. And I felt it rip through me, the explosion being so powerful that the sound itself had a force.”

Bari and Cherney were accused of planting a car bomb and spent years fighting the charges.  In 2002, after Bari had died of cancer, Cherney won a civil suit against the FBI and Oakland Police.  The federal jury found three FBI agents and three Oakland officers guilty of violating Bari and Cherney’s constitutional rights as a means to silence them.  Now, Cherney has produced a documentary called Who Bombed Judi Bari? The film will be playing at the Oakland Film Festival on April 8, 2012. KALW’s Holly Kernan spoke with Cherney.

For more information, go to www.WhoBombedJudiBari.com.  

Holly Kernan is the architect of the award-winning Public Interest Reporting Project. She is currently news director at KALW 91.7FM in San Francisco. In 2009 she was named Journalist of the Year by the Northern California Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Kernan teaches journalism at Mills College and the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and has taught at Santa Rosa Junior College, Youth Radio and San Francisco State University's Lifelong Learning Institute. She lives in Oakland with her husband, Mike, daughter, Julia, and retired greyhound Benjamin Franklin.