February 10 marked the fourth consecutive Santa Cruz City Council meeting where residents have protested the police purchase of a $250,000 BearCat (Ballistic Engineered Armored Response Counter Attack Truck) funded by two Department of Homeland Security grants. As with the previous protests, community members again rallied in the City Hall courtyard and entered the council meeting as a group to speak out against the purchase of the armored attack-style vehicle during the open communications period.
Family, friends, and community supporters came together on February 14 for a candlelight vigil to honor 23-year-old Phillip Watkins, who was shot and killed by two officers with the San Jose Police Department on February 11. About one hundred people attended the vigil, and many spoke about what a positive person Phillip was, and how he changed their lives.
Solidarity Monterey writes:
On February 22nd, 2014 a CSU Monterey Bay police officer arrived at a student’s apartment because the student was supposedly trying to commit suicide. Now that cop is likely going to be fired for not using excessive force; specifically, for not tasing the student. The details vary according to who recounts the story, and the whole thing has been complicated by a legal shitstorm between the CSUMB cop and their union on one side, and the city of Marina police department on the other.
On February 3, Yuvette Henderson was shot and killed by Emeryville police just inside of Oakland city limits. Nearly a hundred people turned out for a vigil for Yuvette Henderson that evening. On February 10, activists delivered printed questions for ExtraSpace Storage, where Yuvette was gunned down, and Home Depot, where Yuvette was accused of shoplifting and apparently some sort of altercation took place. A demand was issued for both the Emeryville and Oakland police departments to release surveillance video.
On January 27, about 100 citizens attended the Santa Cruz City Council meeting to demand the Council rescind its rushed approval of the Police Department's purchase of a fully armored vehicle, a BearCat. Activists claim Santa Cruz Police relied on questionable information about their need for an armored vehicle when they pushed the Council to approve this purchase, claiming it would take 3-4 hours for the nearest armored vehicle to arrive here from Santa Clara if needed. In fact, both the Sheriff's Department and the Scotts Valley Police Department have armored vehicles that can be quickly deployed.
From the blockading of Google buses to the blockading of major freeways. From riots against white supremacy and police in Oakland to anti-tech and gentrification brawls in San Francisco, 2014 was an explosive year. Battles erupted in a variety of places and around various issues. This year in review looks at some of the key struggles and outbreaks of rebellion that shook the bay area to its core.
At least six people have died in the Santa Cruz County Jail since August of 2012 while in the hands of the Sheriff’s Department and California Forensics Medical Group (CFMG). In light of the most recent death in November 2014, community-based organization Sin Barras, which fights to abolish prisons and the prison industrial-complex, held a demonstration on January 24 in downtown Santa Cruz.