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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.
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.
On June 27, friends, family, and supporters of Richard "Pedie" Perez, killed by Richmond police, took the streets downtown. The diverse group chanted, held signs, and distributed flyers. The march, which followed a rally outside of the Richmond BART station, came after a recent decision by the District Attorney which ruled the police killing of Perez was justifiable. Richard “Pedie” Perez was shot and killed by officer Wallace Jensen outside of a liquor store in Richmond on September 14, 2014.
Same-sex weddings took place across the country after the Supreme Court ruled on June 26 that all 50 states must now permit LGBTQ couples "the fundamental right to marry." After the Supreme Court’s historic ruling on marriage equality, many LGBT organizers are now redirecting their attention to obtaining federal, state and local legal protections in areas of employment, housing and commerce. Locally, activists want to shift the focus to issues that LGBT immigrants and prisoners face in detention centers across the U.S.
On July 4, community members in Santa Cruz held a public campout at Santa Cruz City Hall, but it was quickly cut short by police at about 1am. The campout was organized in response to the recent reduction of services at the Homeless Services Center that occurred due to a funding deficit, as well as to protest local laws that criminalize sleeping outdoors. At least eight individuals were issued infraction citations for refusing to leave City Hall.
In June, the Santa Cruz County Grand Jury released its report: "Medical Services at the Jails: How Does the Sheriff­ Coroner Manage Oversight?" Since 2012, Santa Cruz County has outsourced its jail medical services to the private for-­profit corporation California Forensic Medical Group (CFMG). The Grand Jury has found that there is, "a lack of transparency and accountability on the part of CFMG and there is insufficient oversight by the Sheriff ­Coroner’s office."