Freedom in Sight for Bear Lincoln

One of the few pieces of good news in November’s elections came from Mendocino county, where DA Susan Massini lost her bid for re-election and Norm Vroman was voted in. Massini, besides having prosecuted many EF!ers and definitely not being a friend of progressives (much less radicals), had been rabid about prosecuting Bear Lincoln, the Indian man accused of fatally shooting a Mendocino county sheriff’s deputy in 1995. In fact, Bear’s friend Leonard Acorn Peters, another resident of the Round Valley Indian Reservation, was killed the night in April, 1995 by the cops in a case of mistaken identity. Most people close to the situation felt the partner of the deputy who killed Acorn did the shooting Bear was accused of.

Bear was acquitted by an all-white jury in a highly publicized murder trial in August 1997. He had spent over 2 years in jail without bail (after 4 months underground) awaiting trial, and the trial exposed corruption, cover-up and racism in the Mendocino county sheriff’s dept. Massini announced after the acquittal that she would pursue a second trial, and filed manslaughter charges. DA candidate Norm Vroman had said strongly and clearly early in his campaign that he would not pursue another trial for Bear Lincoln. So provided he sticks to his campaign promises, Bear Lincoln will finally be a free man, three and a half years after he watched his lifelong friend gunned down on a dirt road on the edge of the reservation in northeast Mendocino county.

Contact the Bay Area Coalition for Headwaters (BACH) Ecology Center 2530 San Pablo Ave. Berkeley, CA 94702 phone: 510 548 3113 email: