BLOOMFIELD, NJ — Bloomfield environmentalist Ted Glick was arrested Wednesday, May 22, during a peaceful demonstration in Roseland and charged with failure to obey an order from a police officer.
Glick and a group of about 20 environmentalists, sometimes joined by local and county elected officials, have made 563 Eagle Rock Ave. in Roseland, a regular protest site because of a proposed gas compressor under construction there. The location already has one natural gas compressor. The environmentalists believe a second compressor would dangerously overburden the 60-year old pipeline infrastructure meant to carry the gas. The pipeline goes through 17 communities including Bloomfield. Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo, Jr. has written to the NJ Department of Environmental Protection to oppose the construction.
In a telephone interview earlier this week, Glick said he knew he would be risking arrest before arriving for the demonstration.
About 15 environmentalist were present and the gate to the property, owned by Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company, was unlocked.
“There were seven of us who were willing to get arrested,” he said. “We pushed open the gate and went 15 feet into the construction area.”
They were carrying two banners, according to Glick: “Gov. Murphy, No New Fossil Fuel Infrastructures,” and “Roseland Not Gasland.”
About seven Roseland Police Department officers arrived and told them to leave. Glick told them he understood they had a job to do, but so did the protestors. There was some back-and-forth talk when an officer said, “OK, now you’re all under arrest,” and starting pushing the protestors toward the open gate.
Glick, who has been an activist since the Vietnam War-era, said he remembered a similar demonstration experience when he was engaged in a sit-down protest in an office.
When the police arrived, he was told he was under arrest. Standing up and expecting to be handcuffed he was instead pushed out the door. An officer said “goodbye” and locked the door behind him.
“I remembered that,” he said. “So I just stopped and said, ‘I’m not moving.’ The police officer immediately put my hands behind my back and handcuffed me.”
Glick was read his rights and taken to the Roseland police station and questioned there. The police discussed if he should be charged with defiant trespass or failure to obey an officer. The lesser charge was decided upon. He was given a summons to appear in court June 5.
Another man was also arrested with Glick, but Glick only remembered his name was Carlos. Glick presumed Carlos was given the same charge. But when Carlos was pushed out the gate, he was left alone. So he went across the street and held up a sign from the demonstration. A police officer ordered him to put it down, he refused and was arrested.
“Sometimes you need to risk arrest to get something accomplished,” Glick said. “Last month, I fully expected to get arrested.”
On April 18, Glick protested national fossil fuel policies by climbing 30 feet above the sidewalk to the awning of the Washington, D. C. building where the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has its offices. Glick staged this protest on the day the FERC commissioners were considering applications for new fossil fuel infrastructures.
“In that case, I felt strongly that I wanted to get arrested to show what’s going on is wrong,” he said. “We still have an appeal to the state Department of Environmental Protection.”
The appeal of the Roseland construction application requests a reconsideration because the site is on wetlands. Glick made the appeal on behalf of Roseland, NJ Sierra Club, 360NJ, Food and Water Watch and Roseland Against the Compressor Station. The appeal was moved from the DEP to the Office of the Attorney General.
“There’s not much we can do with the attorney general,” Glick said, “but we can pressure the governor.”
The next Roseland protest is scheduled for June 3, from 4 to 6 p.m.