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Center Column Archives
Rallies and marches in solidarity with the people of Ferguson, Mo. were held across the world following the events of August 9 when Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown in broad daylight in front of numerous witnesses. Michael was reportedly unarmed and holding his hands up while attempting to surrender when he was gunned down. Protests in the Bay Area were held in San Francisco, San Jose, and Santa Cruz.
To send a strong message that "killer cops" are not welcome in Santa Cruz, community members gathered on August 26 to protest a speaking engagement at Bookshop Santa Cruz featuring Salinas Police Chief Kelly McMillin. "We are creating a public presence to say loud and clear that the Salinas police chief who oversaw the killings of four Latino men in four months is not welcome in our community," read a flyer provided by Sin Barras, the Santa Cruz-based organization that called for the demonstration.
On August 22, another energetic parade was held in support of the final four Santa Cruz Eleven defendants, who are still facing criminal charges in relation to the 2011 occupation of the vacant bank building located at 75 River Street. Wells Fargo is the so-called plaintiff in the case. Though defendants argued in court District Attorney Bob Lee should be recused from the case, due to his financial relationship with the bank, Santa Cruz judge Stephen Seigel on August 27 denied their motions and set a new trial date of July 27, 2015.
Former Santa Cruz Patch editor Brad Kava, who is still a journalism teacher at Cabrillo College, is now selling a device he invented that offers senior citizens the ability to secure a pepper spray can to their canes. He has named it: "Cane-O-Mite." It is essentially a holster for pepper spray and, in the Indiegogo campaign and YouTube video produced to market it, Kava preys on the fears of the elderly. He cites an increase in news reporting on crime as a justification in his sales pitch for the product, saying "everyone who follows the news knows how bad it [crime against senior citizens] can get."
Yannidies Brown writes:
Today, August 21, 2014, I, Yannidies Brown, have just not only witnessed, but experienced, police brutality. It started roughly at about nine o'clock in the morning when my brother Rogiers Brown, my fiance Christopher Wuerfel, and I were at an empty parking lot waiting on a ride. An SCPD officer, Bradly Barnett, approached my brother Rogiers telling him that he needs to "get the fuck out of the parking lot" and "I'm going to write you a ticket."
On August 17, the Direct Action Monterey Network joined a group of residents in Salinas at a demonstration against police violence. Four unarmed Latino men have been killed by Salinas police since March. Although the event was intended to be a community forum, the Cesar Chavez Public Library refused to let the group use their facilities. The gathering was interrupted when someone came over to tell the group that a man was being arrested across the street, but cops were prevented from arresting him by the newly formed local Cop Watch.
In a major victory against the Israeli Zim Lines shipping company, their ship the Piraeus was forced to leave the Port of Oakland after a mass march, four days of picketing, and the refusal of ILWU Local 10 and ILWU Local 34 to work the ship despite attempts by the Oakland police department and Alameda County deputies to break up the ongoing pickets. The Zim ship is believed by some to have unloaded only a portion of cargo before giving up and heading back out to sea. Oakland's "Block the Boat" victory represents a historic first for the worldwide Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) movement.