Court to Hamilton County Prosecutor: Return Tiger Suit

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters is down one Halloween costume after a recent magistrate’s that Deters must return a tiger suit used by activists during last year’s Greenpeace protest at Procter and Gamble.

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters is down one Halloween costume after a recent magistrate’s decision.

The county magistrate ruled April 13 that Deters must return a tiger suit used by activists during last year’s Greenpeace protest at Procter and Gamble.

The protest at P&G headquarters in Cincinnati March 4, 2014 was over the company’s use of palm oil, the harvesting of which activists say has lead to the destruction of rainforests.

As part of this protest, nine activists gained entry to a P&G building. One repelled down the side of the building in a tiger costume and unfurled 60-foot banners protesting the company’s use of palm oil. The demonstration drew attention from around the world.

The protests led to felony counts for the activists, including charges of burglary, inducing panic, vandalism and trespassing. Their lawyer, Louis Sirkin, objected to the felony charges, saying the protest was an act of free speech protected by the First Amendment. A Hamilton County Court judge threw out that argument last July. 

The activists were from Chicago, California, New York and elsewhere around the country. One protester, Tyler David Wilkerson, died in California in October.

The other eight accepted a plea deal with Hamilton County prosecutors and pleaded guilty to misdemeanor trespassing charges. Each received up to 30 days in jail and a $250 fine.

P&G asked prosecutors to grant that deal with the activists as part of an effort to bring the incident to an amicable end. The company announced last April that it was amending its palm oil sourcing practices to be more environmentally friendly.

For unstipulated reasons, Prosecutor Joe Deters filed a request in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court under asset forfeiture rules to keep the suit, which had been held as evidence, along with about 50 other items from the protest. But Hamilton County Magistrate Michael Bachman ruled that the statute of limitations for such a request had already lapsed and ordered Deters to release the suit and the rest of the items.

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