Oscar-nominated actor James Cromwell was sentenced to seven days in jail for his refusal to pay fines related to his arrest at a protest at a Wawayanda, N.Y., power plant in December 2015.
Cromwell and five other environmental activists, who dubbed themselves the “Wawayanda Six,” were arrested on Dec. 18, 2015, after staging a sit-in at a natural-gas-fired power plant set to begin operations in February 2018.
The protesters said their actions, which caused a traffic jam on Route 6, were justified because the power plant’s carbon emissions would accelerate climate change and pose an imminent threat to the local environment.
All six were found guilty of obstructing traffic on June 7 and each was ordered to pay a total of $375 in fines, due by Thursday.
— James Cromwell 🐷 (@jamesocromwell) April 25, 2017
Three of the convicted protesters paid their fines, but Cromwell and two others — Pramilla Malick and Madeline Shaw — refused to pay.
All three were summoned to court Thursday afternoon.
“Are you refusing to pay the fine?” Wawayanda Town Justice Timothy McElduff Jr. asked Cromwell.
“I am,” Cromwell replied.
McElduff sentenced Cromwell to report to jail by 5 p.m. Friday to serve his seven-day sentence, but gave him until 3:15 p.m. Friday to change his mind.
Cromwell said he will gladly serve his sentence and that he hopes to use the injustice of his jail sentence to mobilize more activists to protest the construction of the power plant.
“If we don’t stay together, nothing will change,” Cromwell said. “Power to the people.”
Malick said she couldn’t in good conscience pay the fine.
“I cannot pay this fine and feed the corruption that is trampling on the lives of so many people,” Malick said after being sentenced.
Cromwell has appeared in more than 50 films, including L.A. Confidential and First Contact. He earned an Oscar nomination for best actor in a supporting role for his performance in Babe.
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