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Center Column Archives
In 2013, the Santa Cruz City Council approved a number of new ordinances that disproportionately affect homeless and low income people. Local ordinances now govern such behavior as "loitering" on traffic medians and "disorderly" conduct in parks, which has been redefined and may now result in a 24-hour stay away order. Additionally, the amount of space artists, activists, street vendors and performers may use in downtown Santa Cruz has been significantly reduced.
A nine week official mourning for 13-year-old Andy Lopez has begun in the Moorland Area of Santa Rosa where Andy was shot seven times and killed by Sonoma County Sheriff Deputy Erick Gelhaus on October 22, 2013. Traditionally, a Novenario is nine days of prayer after a death. Attributed to the Catholic religion, these prayers assist the deceased in getting to Heaven, and it is the family’s way of getting some form of closure and peace over their loss.
At some point late in the night after the Oakland City Council voted to continue with the Domain Awareness Center on March 5 — albeit a significantly scaled-down Port-only version of the surveillance center — a group calling themselves the Technophobic Women's Action Team (T.W.A.T.) staged camover actions against stoplight cameras at two intersections in West Oakland.
Fearing open rebellion in the wake of the Oscar Grant, Occupy, and Trayvon revolts, those in power in Oakland have pushed for the Domain Awareness Center (DAC) to become a central hub for citywide surveillance. The system is not yet fully functional and local privacy advocates continue to fight to stop the DAC. The Oakland City Council discussed the DAC on February 18, appearing to swing against it with proposals to limit implementation to the Port of Oakland, rather than citywide, but put off a vote on this new scaled-back version until March 4
On February 11, U.S. Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley ruled that Indybay reporter David Morse should take his civil rights lawsuit against BART police to trial. Morse was arrested while covering a "No Justice No BART" protest on September 8, 2011. Prior to the demonstration, BART police commanders commissioned an intelligence officer to profile Morse, publish his photograph, and prepare officers to make his arrest. The Magistrate has now ruled that Morse has sufficient evidence to pursue his First Amendment claim against BART for arresting him in retaliation for his extensive and critical reporting on BART's police department.
H.H. Bhojani reports at AlterNet that about 10pm on January 29, Robert Asberry got on a train around Glen Park. A police officer got onto the car at the San Bruno station. He approached Robert and asked him to get off the train. Robert refused to obey the cop’s orders. After a brief back and forth, the police officer tases him. Other policemen file into the car, and while Robert is on the floor, restrained and posing no real threat, he is again tased. Police officers later carry Robert out of the BART car.
On the evening of February 12, a small crowd gathered in downtown Berkeley to demand answers regarding the death of Kayla Moore, a black transgender woman who was killed by Berkeley PD in early 2013. When the speakers concluded, about forty people marched to the Berkeley Police Review Board meeting, chanting “Justice For Kayla Moore!” The Review Board has allegedly been involved in an inquiry into Kayla’s death since last year but has yet to release any information to her family.