Judge frees Greenpeace protesters without bail

BAYTOWN, Texas (KTRK) -- The Greenpeace protesters who rappelled off the Fred Hartman bridge, closing part of the Houston ship channel earlier this week, walked out of federal court Saturday morning after a judge granted a Personal Recognizance bond to all the defendants.

According to Greenpeace, four of the 26 protesters were released on PR bond early Saturday morning, facing a state felony under Texas's critical infrastructure law. The remaining 22 faced a federal magistrate Saturday morning and were then released on PR bond as well.

In addition to the state felony, they also now face a federal misdemeanor charge.

The video above shows the protesters leaving the federal court.

The PR bond means the defendants don't need money to leave custody, they just have to agree to appear at future hearings.

The judge made the decision to do a bond and arraignment because none of the defendants live in the Houston area.

All of the defendants entered not-guilty pleas.

Federal charges were filed against 22 people believed to be involved in the day-long protest on the Fred Hartman Bridge.

U.S. Attorney Ryan Patrick said each activist is charged with one count of aiding and abetting obstruction of navigable waters.

The new charge comes hours after Harris County authorities announced state charges against group members.

The Harris County Sheriff's Office said the activists face individual charges of obstructing critical infrastructure.

In addition to the felony charge, the protesters were also charged with criminal trespass and obstructing a highway.

Criminal trespass is a Class B misdemeanor. If convicted, those charged could face up to 180 days in jail and a $2,000 fine.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Final Greenpeace protester arrested after rappelling from Fred Hartman Bridge

Of the 31, 11 had to be pulled down from beneath the Fred Hartman Bridge. The operation to remove the group took most of the day Thursday. The last person to be taken was pulled overnight Friday.
Those charged are:
  • Mary F Zeiser
  • Sarah Francis Newman
  • Cole Taylor Martin
  • Tyler N McFarland
  • Shavone Torres
  • Dakota Paige Schee
  • Jonathan Butler
  • Chelcee Price
  • Piper Werle
  • Jayden Chayanne Allen
  • Sydney Lae Cliffard (not in custody to-be-warrant)
  • Ryan Harris
  • Zeph Fishlyn
  • Heidi Nybroten
  • Christian d Bufford
  • Heather Glasgow Doyle
  • Amanda Lee
  • Mariah De Los Santos
  • Stephanie Hillman
  • Brianna Latrell Gibson
  • Graham Evan Clumpner (not in custody to-be-warrant)
  • Daniel James Rudie (not in custody to-be-warrant)
  • Mitchell Wenkus (not in custody to-be-warrant)
  • Tamura Russel Seiji
  • David Lynn Mcnew (not in custody to-be-warrant)
  • Tracye Redd
  • Richard Alex Sisney
  • Julie Ann McElvain
  • David A Rappelet (not in custody to-be-warrant)
  • Irene Kim
  • Michael Anthony Hebert

The protest forced the closure of part of the Houston Ship Channel. The Coast Guard reopened the waterway early Friday morning.

The group formed a blockade over the bridge ahead of the third 2020 Democratic debate, forcing the closure of the Houston Ship Channel and snarling traffic in the area.
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