Tree sit security guards come forward about mistreatment of sitters and workers

ROCK CREEK, RALEIGH, W.Va.—Two people who worked as security guards, two weeks ago at the strip mining tree sit on Coal River, have come forward about TMK Security’s mistreatment of them and the sitters during the week-long occupation. Chris Carey, 26, and Patrick Curry, 18, came forward because TMK was subjecting the sitters to verbal and psychological harassment, verbal assault and sleep deprivation, and working the guards too long and deceived them about the situation. Carey was fired after coming and and Curry walked off the job.

Carey and Curry gave a one-hour interview on film, the full length of which is available at A 10-minute highlight reel is available at Both are no longer employed by Delbarton, W.Va.-based TMK.

“They wasn’t doing anything. They wasn’t cussing anybody, they wasn’t assaulting anybody, they wasn’t doing anything to anyone,” Curry said. “They had no right, the miners came down there and after they was throwing those rocks, that there told me that they were ready to do anything and that’s when we moved our posts a little close to the tree.”

“I served my country so people like Laura and Nick could do what they are doing and I totally respect them for that,” Carey said. “These people are truly concerned about the citizens here and the environment and you want to put them in jail, and the EPA should’ve been doing this job and the DEP should’ve been taking care of this. But when people don’t do their jobs, it’s up to the citizens to stand up and do something about it, and they get arrested… It’s not right, it’s not what these men over in Iraq and Afghanistan are fighting for. I’d be disgusted if I came home and this is what I saw.”

Laura Steepleton and Nick Stocks climbed 80 feet up a pair of tulip poplars, within 300 feet of blasting and 30 feet of the Massey Energy Edwight Surface Mine. They unfurled two banners from their treetop platforms: “Stop Mountain Top Removal” and “DEP – Don’t Expect Protection.” Blasting is prohibited when people are within such proximity, as Mining Safety and Health Administration regulations require that people not be hurt in the course of blasting and that non-blasting employees all be cleared from the area.

“The security guards that came forward are my inspiration for humanity. Those two and a few other people from TMK Security were actually concerned for our safety and acted as conscientious human beings. They were given orders by head security to intimidate us and keep us from sleeping, and the tactics that were utilized did not have our safety in mind whatsoever,” Steepleton said. “I only felt secure when those two guards and a few others were on duty. I want to thank them for standing up for what they believed in. They were my heroes!”

Steepleton and Stocks came down after being threatened with chainsaws and enduring five days of psychological torture, sleep deprivation tactics and verbal assault. They were both charged with trespass after being asked to leave, obstruction and littering. Their bail was initially set at $25,000 each, but was reduced the next day to $1,000 each and both are now out of jail.

The interview was filmed and conducted by Jordan Freeman, who recently finished his work on the new film, Coal Country.

6 Replies to “Tree sit security guards come forward about mistreatment of sitters and workers”

  1. These two “Guards” were assigned to the protest area to do a job, which they did not perform in a professional manner. These two guards were placed there to perform their duties as instructed, not to befriend the two tree sitters. Mr. Curry and Mr. Carey had no inclination of performing their duties in a professional manner and only goes to show that when a company pays $8.00 an hour for a Security “Officer” they are only going to get a “Guard.” I wish these two fellows luck in seeking employment in the future. Maybe the next time we meet you will be the ones in the tree. SUCKERS!!!!!!! Miss Steepleton and Mr Stocks were not kidnapped and forced to endure the sleep deprivation, psychological torture and verbal assault. These two human beings put themselves in harms way and knew exactly what they were doing. When a person trespasses on anothers property then they should be aware of the consequences of their actions. Just as these two environmentalists had a plan to prevent further blasting of the mountain, Massey Security had a plan to force these two out of their trees. As far as the rocks being thrown at the two environmentalists, where is the proof. Miss Steepleton was constantly using her cell phone/camera to document their protest and I am sure that if rocks were being thrown she would have captured it on film. When it comes to the safety of these two tree sitters, whose idea was it for them to position themselves eighty feet up two trees? Miss Steepleton was apparently not too concerned with her safety, being that she spent some of her time laying in a hammock suspended eighty feet high. So in the future when you decide to trespass on someone elses property and prevent the men from supporting their families think about the days without sleep, the mind games, and the name calling that you will endure. And Laura don’t forget about your mornings without hot coffee or the endless days without fresh cell phone batteries. And Nick, next time you may want to bring more books to read. And maybe for once you could both bring some clean clothes and some soap for your free ride to jail in a vehicle that my tax dollars helped pay for. Have you ever noticed that you cannot spell environmentalist without MENTAL!!!

  2. True, you cannot spell environmentalist, w/ out “mental”..thats because the MENTAL capacity and education of these people far exceeds the lack of mental capacity of Mountain Rapers, cemetary robbers..water polluters..basically your everyday “friends of coal”. We , the keepers of mother earth, will outlast Massey and Consol…our numbers grow each day, as friends of coal numbers diminish…John D Rose…””…

  3. Mr Rose educate yourself in the names and companies here in WV that have MTR sites. Seems we had the numbers at Marsh Fork though huh?

  4. Progress, just heard on the news Acorn’s losing it’s 501(c) tax exempt status for unlawful activity . Watch out Mr Roselle the tax man’s coming.

  5. Just watched the protest at the D E P office, wasn’t impressed at all. Where were your great numbers Mr Rose?

  6. Mr Rose says that Massey has SEVERAL MTR sites along Rt 60 near Montgomery, Fayette Co, WV…stretching from Kanawha into Fayett…Amsel/Consol has a HUGE MTR site in southwest Nicholas Co, and Clay CO…w/ their latest permit activities in Ike Fk..permit # 0302292…Atr 3 permit. Powelton coal was just bought out by Consol..although thy scream bankruptsy…they can afford MILLIONS for a strip thats been in existance for over 30 yrs…as for our numbers…I was in Charleston on 13 Oct 09..supposedly a PUBLIC hearing on caol permits…seemed that the Friends of coal had the numbers there, I admit….so much so that I was PHISICALLY restrained from entering the CCC. I was cussed, spit on, threatened,…admittedly in fear for my life at the hands of these “people”…and the Men WERE EVEN worse! My final point here tonight is 2 fold..I have water samples from 30 plus Strip mines in 6 counties..ANY friend of coal who will allow thier children to drink this water may have a debate w/ me anytime.You pick the water you want to feed them…from any of 30 plus sites…finally…if coal operators would have just ATTEMPTED to reclaim an acre or 2 of raped land..some of us would shut up..(maybe)…” clean carbon neutral coal”…amd you say I need to check MY facts????

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