Environmental crusader John Froines, who stood trial with the Chicago 7, dies

Lengthy earlier than he turned a famend scientist who fought for environmental justice in Los Angeles and past, John Froines was an antiwar activist who turned a well-recognized face as a member of the fabled Chicago 7.

The Vietnam Struggle was at a pitch, the nation was heaving with racial rigidity and school campuses had turn into battlegrounds when Froines joined Abbie Hoffman, Tom Hayden and the others on the Democratic Nationwide Conference in Chicago in 1968 to protest the long-running and more and more unpopular warfare.

The conference was a loud, blurry, chaotic occasion. Activist Jerry Rubin tried to appoint a pig for president after which converse on the hog’s behalf. Dan Quite was roughed up by police whereas attempting to interview delegates, and writer Norman Mailer waded via the gang attempting to get a deal with on what all of it meant — if something.

There was a lot tear fuel within the air that it seeped into neighboring accommodations, together with the suite the place Vice President Hubert Humphrey had arrange camp.

A yr later, Froines and 6 others had been charged with conspiracy to incite a riot on the conference and stood trial in a spectacle that turned a long-lasting emblem — and a pair of films — of an period when the nation was all however at warfare with itself.

Froines, who was one in all two acquitted within the trial, lived comfortably with the reminiscences of his days as a road activist however extra comfortably nonetheless as a number one environmental scientist who helped form authorities requirements on lead and clear air, significantly in impoverished neighborhoods.

“We nonetheless want scholar protesters as a result of most of the issues of the ‘60s proceed and new points have emerged,” he instructed The Instances shortly after he was named director of UCLA’s Occupational Well being Heart.

“However no person’s a scholar activist at 50. You’d need to have your head examined.”

A content material grandfather who ran marathons and was an obsessive skier, Froines died Wednesday in Santa Monica, mentioned his spouse, Andrea Hricko, a professor emerita at USC Keck Faculty of Medication. He was 83 and had been affected by Parkinson’s illness.

Because the ‘60s slipped into the rearview mirror, the lives of the Chicago 7 scattered in all instructions.

Hayden married Jane Fonda and served 18 years as a California assemblyman and state senator earlier than dying in 2016 in Santa Monica. Rubin turned an writer and stockbroker who was fatally struck by a automotive whereas crossing Wilshire Boulevard in 1994. Hoffman dedicated suicide, and Bobby Seale — co-founder of the Black Panther Celebration whose trial was severed from that of the others — turned a lecturer and school recruiter and wrote a guide on barbecuing.

Froines returned to academia. And the fervor he as soon as aimed on the warfare in Vietnam he now directed at lead, diesel fumes and different environmental hazards that affected the lives of so many, and sometimes those that lived in near-poverty.

As head of the occupational well being division of the Vermont Well being Division, he helped persuade the state’s nuclear energy business to just accept well being requirements more durable than federal rules. As director of a division of the Occupational Security and Well being Administration in Washington, he was principal writer of federal requirements regulating employees’ publicity to guide and cotton mud.

As a UCLA professor, Froines performed a research to find out which Southern California jobs and industries had the best publicity to 500 completely different chemical compounds. And as head of the UCLA’s Occupational Well being Heart, he oversaw a research to find out how some industrial chemical compounds trigger early ageing of the mind and the way others assist set off the primary phases of most cancers.

Defense attorney Leonard I. Weinglass, left, listens as defendant John Froines speaks in 1970.

Protection legal professional Leonard I. Weinglass, left, listens as defendant John Froines speaks in 1970.

(Fred Jewell / Related Press)

John Radford Froines was born June 13, 1939, and raised in Oakland, the place he mother and father had been shipyard employees. His father was murdered whereas strolling residence from the shipyards when John was 3. He turned a star operating again in highschool, gradated from UC Berkeley and earned his doctorate from Yale.

At Yale, he joined College students for a Democratic Society, then a hub of left-leaning exercise, and bought to know Hayden, Rennie David and David Dellinger, all future members of the Chicago 7. The three persuaded Froines, together with Hoffman, Rubin, Seale and Lee Weiner, to hitch them in protest on the conference.

Hundreds of protesters there have been met by riot police and scores had been injured within the violence that adopted.

The trial that adopted was a circus. Hoffman wore judicial robes and paraded in entrance of the decide shouting “Heil Hitler!” Dellinger referred to as the decide a liar and Rubin plopped his boots on the defendants desk and pretended to sleep. Seale was so incensed by the legal professional the courtroom appointed for him that the decide ordered him certain and gagged. In all, the decide cited the defendants almost 200 instances for contempt of courtroom.

Froines was acquitted, and an appeals courtroom dismissed many of the costs in opposition to the others.

John Froines

John Froines

(UCLA Fielding Faculty of Public Well being

After the trial, Froines set off on an antiwar talking tour and joined the Black Panther Celebration Protection Committee, which labored with Seale and Ericka Huggins of their controversial homicide trial. Each had been freed when the jury deadlocked.

Froines stayed in contact with a few of his fellow defendants and attended a Chicago 7 reunion in 1996, staying lengthy sufficient to catch the Crosby, Stills and Nash live performance earlier than heading off to an environmental convention in Mexico Metropolis.

“Persons are at all times saying, ‘Is John Froines the identical radical he was in 1968?’ ” he instructed The Instances years after the trial. “Nobody is identical now as then. I believe it’s extra precious to have a look at an individual’s historical past — to see if they’ve been constant throughout the context of their values. And I imagine I’ve.”

Froines is survived by his spouse of 42 years; a daughter, Rebecca Froines Stanley; a son, Jonathan Froines; and two granddaughters, Kayla and Jessica Stanley.

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