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Center Column Archives
Community members protesting local laws that criminalize homelessness held their third group campout at Santa Cruz City Hall on July 26. Several dozen people slept in the City Hall courtyard from sunset until the following morning, when they were greeted with a large buffet-style breakfast served by a fresh-faced group. Organizers have more sleep-ins planned for the future, with the next confirmed for Sunday, August 2
, again at Santa Cruz City Hall.
Salinas police shot and killed Frank Alvarado one year ago. On July 10 at a memorial held outdoors near the location where he was shot, Frank's family members vowed to continue their fight for justice. Signs held at the memorial communicated supporters' lack of trust in the Salinas police, and some contained direct allegations of widespread departmental corruption.
For two months, the Muwekma Farm thrived at its location on the corner of 31st Avenue and International Blvd in Oakland. On July 9, however, the City of Oakland and OPD destroyed every single plant, raised bed, and bench. Muwekma Farm writes:
We have no specific date for retaking the land, but when we do there will be another announcement. To those who desire a world free of environmental destruction and economic slavery, we would like to remind you that there is an inordinate amount of vacant land in the City of Oakland.
On June 16, 2014, during a protest against police brutality and recent police shootings in Fresno, Brian Sumner used chalk on the Fresno Police Department Memorial, writing phrases such as “FPD = Guilty”, “Badges Don’t Grant Extra Rights”, and “Who do you call when the police murder?” He was arrested. On July 17, 2015, Brian was found guilty of vandalism and later sentenced to one year of informal probation, 50 hours of community service, and $250 in court fees and restitution. Brian says he plans to appeal his conviction and sentence.
The year 2013 was a busy one for animal liberation actions across the U.S., primarily at businesses that breed and/or sell fur. Tyler Lang and Kevin Johnson of Los Angeles recently pled guilty and currently await sentencing for a related charge of violating the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA). On July 24, the FBI arrested two more animal rights activists. Joseph Buddenburg and Nicole Kissane of Oakland were charged under AETA for 2013 actions. At a court hearing on July 28, Judge Ryu released Nicole from electronic monitoring but ordered that Joseph remain on home lockdown with continued monitoring.
On July 14, three of the remaining Santa Cruz Eleven defendants agreed to a plea deal with the prosecution, and the last remaining member of the group followed suit at his hearing on July 22, bringing to a close the Occupy-era case that has been slowly moving along since 2011. Defendants entered pleas of “no contest” to a charge of misdemeanor trespass. The felony vandalism charge was dropped.
Donations are being sought to support the family of 17-year-old Cyrus Hurtado, who was shot and killed by two Santa Cruz sheriff's deputies in Boulder Creek on July 9. Hurtado, who reportedly suffered from mental issues, was killed after a family dispute at his grandparents' house where he lived, and their home and possessions were severely damaged by the deputies' gunfire.