by Nathan Crabbe (Gainesville Sun)
After winning one legal battle with the University of Florida over public records, animal rights activist Camille Marino is now fighting to find out the location of animal research labs — information that she insists won’t put researchers in danger.
Her assertion is at odds with sometimes violent rhetoric on the website of the group she founded, Negotiation is Over, including statements that led to felony charges against her in Michigan.
UF researcher Raymond Bergeron also accuses Marino of threatening to burn down his Gainesville home, an allegation that is being investigated for possible local charges.
Negotiation is Over held protests last weekend at Bergeron’s home and at the University City Church of Christ in Gainesville, a church that has no discernible connection to animal research. Marino, a Wildwood resident, denies issuing the threat against Bergeron but makes no apologies for using in-your-face tactics to protest research that she equates with torture of animals.
“Our tax dollars pay for this and our silence allows it to happen,” she said.
Her Gainesville attorney, Marcy LaHart, filed a brief Monday in the First District Court of Appeal to seek the location of research labs. A circuit court judge had denied the request based on a public-records exemption for security system plans, while granting access to other records on primates involved in research.
LaHart said the law was “stretched beyond any reasonable interpretation” to allow the locations to be withheld. UF Deputy Chief of Police Darren Baxley said that keeping information on university facilities and their capabilities from public view helps deter crimes from being committed.
The department must balance protecting UF students and employees with respecting First Amendment rights, he said, but Marino’s tactics seem to go beyond free speech.
“She relishes putting researchers and their families in a state of fear,” he said. “We don’t approve of those tactics and we think that may cross the line from protected speech to possibly committing a crime.”
The group’s tactics have included trying to publicly identify students involved in animal research and pressuring alumni and donors to speak against such research. Marino said gory pictures that she obtained of UF animals involved in research, recently posted on the Negotiation is Over website, add credence to her claims that animal research is torture.
She’s posted personal information online about a half-dozen UF employees that she claims are connected to such research, which university officials say has led to harassment and threats. UF successfully pushed the Legislature to expand the state’s stalking law to include electronically delivered threats, a change taking effect in October, to address the issue.
Marino said she’s never done anything violent and said charges being pursued against her are a “desperate attempt” to silence her.
She is scheduled to appear Friday in a Michigan courtroom in a case involving posting personal information about a Wayne State University researcher and statements that she hoped he would “die a slow painful death.” She’s trying to get charges of aggravated stalking and unlawful posting of messages online, both five-year felonies, and trespassing dismissed on free-speech grounds.
In Bergeron’s case, he filed complaints in February against Marino and another Negotiation is Over member, accusing them of felony intimidation. He alleges that a threat to burn down his home was followed by a statement questioning whether his house was “still standing.”
The State Attorney’s Office continues to investigate for possible charges. Marino’s house was raided last month by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and computer equipment seized in connection to the case.
Negotiation is Over’s website has targeted Bergeron, a UF College of Pharmacy professor, for animals used in research that includes looking into the causes of and drugs that treat diseases such as a rare anemia disease in children. After this weekend’s protests at Bergeron’s home, Marino posted a message on Facebook saying that activists were “setting up camp” for three days and intended to follow Bergeron everywhere he went.
She said Monday that may have happened but declined additional comment.
“I don’t want any stalking charges,” she said.
Group members also protested Sunday at the University City Church of Christ. Rich Howell, senior minister of the church, sent an email to Marino in which he said that she was “barking up the wrong tree” in protesting there.
“I know you care deeply for the animals you are trying to protect, but we are not involved or responsible for any such actions,” he wrote.
Marino said the church is part of the community and should take a stand against animal research.
“They’ve got the right to know what their taxes are being spent on and they’ve got an obligation as community members to protest what’s going on,” she said.
by Camille Marino
On December 30, 2011, I won a lawsuit against the University of Florida in which the Eighth Circuit Court ordered them to turn over their veterinary records to me. The ruling fell short, however, of ordering UF to disclose the location of their imprisoned monkeys.
While I am back in court in Detroit this Friday to argue the constitutionality of the 10 years of felony charges against me for what amounts to “criminal journalism,” I fully intend to use every available legal remedy to expose the real criminals and terrorists that comprise the vivisection complex. We just filed our brief to compel UF to disclose the location in the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals in Alachua to compel UF to disclose the physical location of their primates.
I intend to set a precendent in this movement to counter the assault on our freedoms. We can penetrate universities legally and get the documentation and pictures of their crimes, the public registries of their donors, and now I want the location of their prisoners. I hope every university campaign will follow suit and take a sledgehammer to the wall of secrecy.
If you support our work, please consider making a small donation to further our efforts at firstname.lastname@example.org
More pictures may be viewed HERE.
by NIO Florida
Saturday, July 7
4 – 6 pm: Did some community outreach, talking to people one-on-one and leaving flyers with sympathethic businesses in strategic locations to disseminate our information while demonstrations were in progress.
8 pm – Attempted Surprise Demo at Bergeron’s Home: Activists pulled up in front of the vivisector’s home at 6220 NW 56th Lane and were greeted by patrol cars that were stationed in front. Apparently, the Gainesville PD is sanctioned to take pre-emptive measures to protect vivisectors from potential dissent from compassionate activists. Five of us were detained and tresspassed.
Sunday, July 8
8:30 am – University City Church of Christ: Educational outreach in community. After demo, we all went to church where our presence was known by most and left our leaflets in the bibles. Spoke with Senior Minister Rich Howell who asserted that he could not rely on the information on this website because I misrepresented his church by writing in a previous post that the good christian churchgoers had Zeig Heiled us and cursed us out. Fortunately, the older gentleman at the door with Howell was quite proud of his actions and, contrary to what the minister was attempting to allege, the man blurted out “that was me!” lol
12 pm – Surprise demo at the home of vivisector Stephen Roberts. Our campaign was introduced to his community in no uncertain terms. The neighbors behind the gates of his upscale c0mmunity took note, and four police vehicles were on the scene within 5 minutes.
2 pm – Demo at the home of vivisector Raymond Bergeron. It seemed that there was a cop on hand for each activist present. Unfortunately for Ray, they will never silence us. And despite the malicious and false police reports he filed against two activists, both activists were present and vocal in their outrage!
Overnight camps will be intermittently set up at Bergeron’s private community over the next three days. Teams of activists are following him everywhere he goes and recording everything he does.
In October of 2010, the University of Florida refused to comply with Florida State statues and provide the public with documentation about their primate experiments.
In December of 2011, activists won a lawsuit against the University of Florida in Alachua Circuit Court. Judge Martha Ann Lott ordered veterinary records to be released. The Judge failed, however, to order UF to disclose the location of their enslaved primates. Our appeal on this issue will be heard over the summer.
The University City Church of Christ in Gainseville believes that their silence about the atrocities committed against animals (God’s creations) at UF renders them off limits. They would prefer that we did not protest there on Sunday. They have been given the option of taking an active stand against taxpayer-funded animal abuse or, by virtue of their tacit approval of monkey torture, embracing this Sunday’s demo to protest their complicity and hypocritial endorsement of evil.
Subject:Clarification from University City Church of Christ
From:Rich Howell (email@example.com)
July 2, 2012
To whom it may concern,
My name is Rich Howell, senior minister of the University City Church of Christ. We have been notified by police that you are planning a protest event for this Sunday at our facilities. I wanted to make sure you knew the facts about this church and the alleged monkey torture you are raising your voices about:
1) Our church is not affiliated with the University of Florida. We wear the name University City because prior to 1980 our facility was located on University Ave. We have a Christian campus group called Gators for Christ which promotes Christian values and wholesome activities for college age members of our church.
2) We have nothing to do with the alleged monkey torture at UF – none of our members are involved in it, nor do we have any leverage or authority to stop the alleged abuses.
3) You spoke falsely of our church on your web site regarding our worship and message. If you want to know what we teach and preach see our website at www.universitycitychurchofchrist.org. You will find messages of things that are good and true and biblical. We promote love and compassion as God defines and displays it in His Word.
4) Anyone from your group is welcome to worship with us or attend one of our classes on Sunday. Please be respectful and come empty-handed – no fliers, please. We come together to worship God and enjoy fellowship with each other and all are welcome!
5) Our facility is private property, however, and you can only come on to the premises on our terms, not with a political agenda or negative message. You have the right to be on the sidewalks outside our property lines, but if you insist on propagating your cause on our private property, you will be asked to leave.
I know you care deeply for the animals you are trying to protect, but we are not involved or responsible for any such actions. I feel badly for you and your organization for wasting your time at our facility, but we will not allow our members and guests to be disturbed or distracted as they worship God. Please do your homework and you will learn that this is truly “barking up the wrong tree”.
Subject:Clarification from University City Church of Christ
To: Rich Howell (firstname.lastname@example.org)
July 2, 2012
Dear Mr. Howell,
Thank you for your message regarding the mission of your church. Please be assured that neither I nor any member of my group is attacking christianity.
But you are incorrect in your position that you do not support the atrocities committed against animals, paid for with tax dollars, at the University of Florida. As an influential and respected member of the community, anything other than a public denunciation of UF is a demonstration of tacit approval. It is this silence that has allowed them to commit their crimes with impunity for far too long.
If you would consider taking a public stand against the university in defense of God’s precious, innocent, voiceless, and suffering Animals, I would be more than happy to cancel this demo. A statement that I might publish on my site would suffice.
Please consider my offer seriously as i would enjoy the opportunity to work with you toward creating real compassion for all beings on this planet.
Otherwise, please understand that as a member of the immediate community with so much influence, you remain more complicit than most. We have done these community outreach exercises in malls, at celebrations, sporting events, and even gone door to door.
So the decision is solely yours Mr. Howell. Will the church take a stand against evil in your own community?