Eight of the nine Greenpeace activists charged with hanging a giant banner from the Procter & Gamble building downtown in March showed no interest in a plea deal with prosecutors July 21, a lawyer for the group said. Without a plea deal, the eight risk a maximum sentence of eight years in prison on felony burglary and vandalism charges.
The proposed deal would still add felony burglary charges to the activists’ records and require community service in the Cincinnati area but would spare them from serving prison time. One activist expressed interest in the deal, though no arrangement has been finalized, according to defense attorney Bill Gallagher.
The activists argued that their actions constitute free speech and are constitutionally protected. A judge last month ruled against that line of defense, and now the activists will face trial. No date has been set for the hearing.
The group on March 4 snuck into P&G headquarters and staged a protest against the company’s use of palm oil, the harvest of which Greenpeace says causes destruction of rainforests. The protest included a helicopter filming the group as it hung a banner from the building and a protester in a tiger costume rappelling down the building’s side. Prosecutors charge that the group did $18,000 in damage to the building’s windows.
In April, P&G announced it would end palm oil harvesting practices that contribute to deforestation and would work to ethically source the oil. The company uses it in shampoos and other products. Greenpeace applauded that announcement, but said those efforts alone are not enough.