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Center Column Archives
On March 9, U.S. Marshals chased the wrong man, leading to Jabari Shaw, a friend, and his daughter getting into a car crash in East Oakland. All three were hospitalized. Initial media reports labeled the “suspect” as a “violent fugitive.” Activists quickly mobilized to counter that story when the man turned out to be Jabari Shaw, a college student, father, and well known anti-police brutality activist. With hospital bills mounting, friends and supporters held a fundraiser at East Side Cultural Center on March 29.
Sheriff Jim Hart is making an emergency requisition to install and iron fence in order to close off the area of the Santa Cruz County Main Jail's parking lot that is most commonly used by community members for public assembly and political demonstrations. Hart has specifically stated that recent political demonstrations held at the jail are the reason for building the new fence. In response, activists are calling for the community to pack the Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, April 21
when the proposal will be voted on.
On April 14, the Salinas City Council voted to approve the purchase of enough body cameras to outfit every officer in the Salinas Police Department. On April 9, the Capitola City Council unanimously voted to approve a request from their police department to use $100,501.31 in Supplemental Law Enforcement State Funds (SLESF) to purchase a dual video system for police vehicles and body cameras. The National Lawyers Guild and other groups caution that there are many unresolved legal and civil rights issues regarding the police use of Personal Digital Recording Devices (PDRDs).
On April 13, a group gathered at the Santa Cruz County Courthouse in support of Alix Tichelman, the woman charged with killing a Google executive named Forrest Hayes in 2013. Dozens of pamphlets were handed out in front of the courthouse detailing the case against Alix. Her parents personally thanked the group for their presence. Free Alix! writes:
She is being unfairly railroaded into jail for an accident that was not her fault.
On April 14, a call to end business as usual to stop police killings brought demonstrations and protests from coast to coast. In San Francisco protesters took to the streets in La Mission and on the steps of City Hall. At least two hundred protesters went to City Hall and disrupted the Board of Supervisors meeting, chanting "no justice, no peace, no racist police." Simultaneous actions took place in Oakland and Stockton, too.
The six UCSC students arrested in association with the March 3 blockade of Highway 1 where it meets Highway 17 in Santa Cruz returned to court on April 8. A prosecutor indicated the District Attorney's office will not offer them a plea deal to reduce misdemeanor charges of resisting arrest and creating a public nuisance. The Santa Cruz DA also desires a restitution amount of $19,000 be paid. Additionally, UCSC has suspended the students until the Spring of 2016.
Afrika Town is a community garden in what was long a vacant lot in Oakland next to the Qilombo social center. On March 26, the landowner came with a bulldozer to raze the garden, backed up by Oakland police officers. Activists quickly gathered and were able to convince the landowner to return a week later. On April 3, dozens of community members turned out to defend the garden. The owner backed down, giving Afrika Town the opportunity to buy the land. Afrika Town is now in dire need of funds to survive.