UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
Second Delcaration of Wade Varner
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
William Thomas, et. al. | C.A. No. 94-2742
Plaintiffs pro se, | Judge Charles R. Richey
The United States, et. al. |
SECOND DECLARATION OF WADE VARNER
December 21, 1994I, Wade Varner, hereby declare under penalty of perjury that the following is true and accurate to the best of my knowledge and recollection:
This ___ day of February, 1995.
- Because of my experience in the navy working on nuclear submarines, I became very concerned with the deadly nature of nuclear weapons and waste.
- For years I had heard about the anti-nuclear vigil in Lafayette Park, and was impressed by the commitment of people who had dedicated their lives to the same causes I believe in.
- I first heard about Proposition One in 1993 and thought it was a good idea.
- In September 1994 I found myself wanting to help Proposition One while Ellen was working on her trip to Japan. Because the vigil signs in the Park must be manned at all times there was a pressing need for help attending the signs while Ellen was away. I decided to volunteer my time.
- Beginning around September 20, 1994 I started a routine of arriving in the Park at 7:00 a.m and attended the signs until early afternoon.
- More than once Officer O'Neill would come up to the
signs, and strike one with his nightstick, hard enough to frighten me, while I was sitting there, fully awake, reading a book, and tell me to wake up. Then he would engage in verbal harassment.
- Another thing Officer O'Neill did was, a couple of times in November, after I had been watching the signs for a couple of weeks without incident, Officer O'Neill comes up to me and says the signs are illegal structures. I told him that I had read the regulations and that the signs were exactly the right size. He just said it was a structure. He said the sign could be seized.
- I told William Thomas about Officer O'Neill's new definition, and asked him what he wanted to do. He wasn't happy. With Ellen in Japan, he was busy with many different things and said he didn't need the hassle of having to deal with Officer O'Neill's new harassment tactic.
- A couple of days later Thomas showed me a letter he'd written to Richard Robbins, and asked for my comments. I said it seemed reasonable to me. Officer O'Neill didn't say anything else about the sign.
- During this time I saw some Park Police officers, particularly Officers Keness and O'Neill, harassing the people in the Park by prodding them with their appendages and nightsticks. This became what I saw as a regular morning routine.
- These were very unpleasant experiences, and I began to understand how being there in the Park, enduring this kind of harassment, three hundred and sixty-five days a year, twenty-four
hours a day could drive somebody to the brink of insanity. I feel that the Peace Park people have shown great restraint over years to take this kind of harassment and would like to see things changed so it would end.
- On December 20, 1994 while helping to maintain the continuous Peace Park Vigil.
- I was an eyewitness to the shooting of Marcelino Corneil, and incidents that preceded the shooting involving U.S. Park Police Officer Steven O'Neill.
- I saw Marcelino Corneil almost every day for three months. I know that he was severely injured. I watched Marcelino draw. He had to tape the pencil to his hand because it was too crippled to grasp it. I could tell that his feet caused him great pain because he did what I called "the Marcelino Shuffle."
- From signs that he sometimes had, I got the impression that Marcelino had come to the Park to seek redress of some grievance with the U.S. Government. But he wasn't all that clear in his communication skills. He also helped the Jackson brothers to attend their signs. In all the time I saw him Marcelino was quite and polite.
- On December 20, 1994 Marcelino was lying on the sidewalk with one cover and a small bag.
- I saw Officer O'Neill approach and kick Marcelino and prod him with his nightstick. I abhor any kind of violence, but when later I saw Marcelino jump up and run after O'Neill I could understand the violence of his rage against being harassed and kicked like he was some kind of animal, every day that he saw
the more sadistic Park Police officers.
- I think that this sort of out of control renegade officer should be rooted out, because they put a stain on the entire Park Police force.
- Routinely during the three months I was in the Park, I witnessed Officers O'Neill and Keness assault harmless people.
- I saw Marcelino lower his hands, standing still, looking very confused, and as he turned his head to look at the officer who apparently fired the deadly shots, I thought he was on the verge of surrendering. Although the officers carried non-lethal weapons, there was no attempt to use them. I saw Marcelino shot but wasn't sure which officer fired the deadly shots.
- I was later surprised to find out that the last officer on the scene, there for only fifteen or twenty seconds before firing the deadly shots; two shouts, two shots, and I didn't think he had the grasp on the situation.
- If this shooting wasn't murder, it was a very poorly coordinated use of deadly force.
- I was later questioned by D.C. Homicide detectives regarding those incidents, and answered all their questions, and signed a statement.
- On December 22, 1995 I also signed a Declaration about the morning of the 22nd, which, as I understand it, was submitted to the Court in support of the Complaint in this matter.
- On January 6, 1995 I was in courtroom 11 of the U.S. District Court for the TRO hearing in this case, prepared to testify about my observations relating to the shooting on
December 20, 1995.
- On February 10, 1995 United States Park Police Detective Robert W. Johnson, Criminal Investigations Branch, apparently left a business for me at the vigil signs in Lafayette Park. Written on the card was: 1100 Ohio Drive S.W., Washington, D.C. 20424. Office No. and Emergency Numbers were
stricken out with black ink and the number 690-5050 was written in by hand.
- A note on the back of the business card said, "Wade should call U.S. Attorney Eric Marcy 514-6946 re: Marcelino Corneil investigation."
- I have no desire to speak to agents of the Park Police because I felt I could no longer trust them.
- I would very much like to see the truth come out about this incident, which explains why I was so disappointed that I didn't get to testify at the hearing.
- I will fully comply with what the Court orders me to do with respect having the facts of this case closely examined, I feel the over zealous use of deadly force should be closely supervised, and regulations need to be enforced with professional understanding, and particularly in regards to the mentally ill. I also think that officers would be trained to carry and use non-lethal weapons. So that this terrible tragedy will never happen again.
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