A group calling itself the Penokee Defenders has set up a fund to support its Website and provide a legal defense fund for Katie (Krow) Kloth, of Stevens Point, who is charged in connection with a protest at the planned Gogebic-Taconite mine.
A $5,000 signature bond was set in Iron County Court Monday for Kloth, 26, who faces charges related to a heated June 11 confrontation at the site of the proposed iron mine near Upson.
Kloth is charged with felony robbery and three misdemeanors related to the disturbance with G-Tac employees.
The criminal complaint alleges Kloth used force to grab and destroy a camera, wrestling it away from a G-Tac employee. As Kloth was pulling at the camera from the female employee, a man with blue hair came from behind and grabbed a phone out of the employee’s back pocket, according to the complaint.
There was a group of 15 to 20 protesters there that day and others may also face charges.
Damages at the site were estimated at $2,400.
Kloth waived her right to a preliminary examination within 20 days.
She faces up to 15 years in prison, if convicted.
“To fight this mine, we must become organized and capable of supporting our comrades and allies in the event that they are arrested or imprisoned,” the Penokee Defenders Website says.
It seeks donations ranging from $10 to $50.
“We must support all those that suffer from state repression for protecting the water! No mine means supporting those that defend the land!,” a statement on the Website says.
Since legislation clarifying mining regulation passed the Wisconsin legislature, protesters have been camping in the forests of Iron County near the mine drilling site.
A video of the violent protest has been posted. Kloth is seen in an altercation with the female worker and running from the scene.
The Website claims Iron County District Attorney Marty Lipske gave into political pressure to charge Kloth with a felony. Kloth wasn’t arrested until after an investigation revealed her identity.
Kloth didn’t speak in court, but issued a statement on the Website: “Those who fight against the destruction of the water, land, plants and human and non-human animals of the Penokee Hills and Bad River watershed are not ‘terrorists.’”
She accuses the police of protecting the people with the most money.
Kloth pleads for support. “Regardless of the diversity of tactics that will be used, we need to show solidarity with all who strive to stop the Penokee mine, and focus on just that, stopping the Penokee mine.”
Kloth’s next court appearance will be a pre-trial conference before Iron County Judge Patrick Madden at 11:30 a.m. on Aug. 16.
She has not entered any pleas to the charges.