The family of Frank Alvarado was joined by community supporters for a protest at the Salinas Police Department on October 22, which is National Police Brutality Day. Frank Alvarado was killed by Brian Johnson and Scott Sutton of the Salinas Police department on July 10 of this year. Officers with the Salinas Police Department killed four people in 2014. In addition to Frank, they killed Angel Ruiz on March 20, Osman Hernandez on May 9, and Carlos Mejia on May 20.
Shortly before the October 28 City Council session, it was announced that the second reading of Santa Cruz Municipal Code Section 13.08.100, pertaining to orders to vacate park property, had been pulled from the meeting agenda. Civil rights groups have voiced strong opposition to the ordinance and called into question the constitutional sufficiency of the amendment.
On October 22, Homeless United for Friendship and Freedom (HUFF) participated in the 19th annual National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and Criminalization with a demonstration in front of the Santa Cruz Police Department. This week, HUFF announced that after analyzing the citation records of SCPD Community Service Officer B. Barnett, they have found that he has disproportionately targeted homeless people and African-Americans.
Santa Cruz City Council Member Micah Posner writes:
Deputy Chief Steve Clark labeled Santa Cruz City Council candidate Leonie Sherman an "anarchist" on the evening news due to the fact that she hung a banner at the WTO protest 15 years ago. The courage and conviction that she displayed as part of this non-violent protest are just some of the reasons why Sherman will be an excellent City Councilmember.
Hannibal Abdul Shakur and Tanzeen Doha were arrested during protests during the summer of 2013 in downtown Oakland, after the George Zimmerman verdict was announced, where he was acquitted for the February 26, 2012, murder of Trayvon Martin. At an October 10 pre-trial readiness conference, the Oakland prosecutor finally admitted that they had “insufficient evidence” to go to trial, putting forth a motion to drop the remaining charges.
Witnesses to the recent tasing and arrest of a man in Santa Cruz describe the incident differently from the account communicated by police through the reporting of the Santa Cruz Sentinel. Individuals on the scene report excessive force was used when officers with the SCPD arrested Oliver Howard near the Court House on Water Street on the afternoon of October 13. They say officers struck Howard with a baton, tased his bare body, piled on top of him, wrenched and twisted his limbs, and grinded his face and body into the ground, all unnecessarily.
At a rally in Palo Alto on October 5th, speakers Mary Kay Raftery and Chris Walker said that there is no such thing as the "closure" that death penalty advocates promote. Mary Kay's son was murdered; Chris spoke of his experience as an innocent man in Pelican Bay prison. Long time Amnesty International member Terry McCaffrey said it is clear that support for the death penalty is in decline, but "we must not let up on our struggle to put an end to capital punishment".