Protester Maimed by Train, 4 Others Sue Over Incident

Associated Press

Peace activist S. Brian Willson, maimed by a Navy weapons train, and four other demonstrators who said they were injured or traumatized by the incident, sued the crewmen and their supervisors Friday, claiming that they acted deliberately.

The U.S. District Court suit came a day after published reports quoted federal records as saying the train's civilian crewmen had seen protesters on the tracks last September but followed orders not to stop.

The crew was under orders to continue across Port Chicago Highway from one part of the Concord Naval Weapons Station to another if demonstrators tried to board, according to a copyrighted story by the Center for Investigative Reporting published in the San Francisco Examiner on Thursday.

Willson, whose legs were severed by the train, was joined in the lawsuit by his wife, Holley Rauen, and three others who were on or beside the tracks.

The suit says the three crewmen, on the orders of civilian and military supervisors, drove the train at the protesters at more than three times the posted speed limit, "with the motive and design of retaliating against them for peacefully protesting against the shipment of arms from the United States to Central America."

The suit seeks unspecified damages for medical expenses, civil rights violations and punitive damages.

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