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Center Column Archives
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.
Environmental groups filed a legal petition on August 26 to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service seeking Endangered Species Act protection for monarch butterflies, which have declined by more than 90 percent in under 20 years. During the same period it is estimated that these once-common iconic orange and black butterflies may have lost more than 165 million acres of habitat — an area about the size of Texas — including nearly a third of their summer breeding grounds.
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 21, Santa Cruz activists picketed outside of a talk at Temple Beth El about Israel and Gaza, given by Dr. Andy David, Israel's Consul General for Northern California and the Pacific Northwest. The topic of the talk was "Operation Protective Edge," Israel's name for their most recent military assault on Gaza, which began on July 8 and has killed thousands of Palestinians. To greet those entering the talk, a series of large signs with the names of those killed in the war was displayed near the temple's entrance, and individuals held a large banner on Soquel Drive that read "Sick of Gaza Massacre?"
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.