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WeCopwatch is reporting for Indybay from Ferguson, Missouri, where on August 9 a Ferguson police officer shot down and murdered 18-year-old local resident Michael Brown in broad daylight in front of numerous witnesses. In a town that is 67% African American, and constantly the subject of racist police stops and citations by a Ferguson police department made of up 53 officers, of whom only three are African American, the community is outraged by the murder. Click "Read More" below for daily updates with photos and video.
San Francisco youth are holding a fast for 5 days to call our attention to the crisis of the children trapped at the U.S. Mexico border. Youth from ages 16 to 20 held a press conference at City Hall on August 12 and announced their plan to set up a tent across from City Hall Tuesday and Wednesday for donations. They will then return to ICE headquarters Friday at noon to end their five-day fast.
Restore the Delta (RTD) and many other groups held a large rally at the State Capitol on July 29, featuring the delivery of a “Death of the Delta" coffin containing thousands of public comments opposing Governor Jerry Brown’s peripheral tunnels. Hundreds of people, including fishermen, Tribal leaders, environmentalists, Delta farmers and environmental justice advocates, rallied to protest Jerry Brown’s tunnel plan and to call for a new Draft Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS).
Latino activists in solidarity with Palestinians marched down Market Street in San Francisco on August 2 in a unity call for saving the children of Central America who are languishing at the US-Mexican border, as well as the children dying in Gaza. Movimiento por la Reunifacacion Familiar organizers reached out to everyone to join together in a march chanting, “No mas ninos deportados nuestros ninos son sagrados!” “No more children deported; our children are sacred.”
At its board meeting on June 30, ACLU Santa Cruz County adopted a statement of principle in support of a proposed moratorium on camping ban laws and ordinances within the City and County of Santa Cruz. Proponents argued that criminalizing homelessness, and particularly the essential right to sleep, is a failed policy. It is the intention of the Board that the statement be read publicly before both the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors and the Santa Cruz City Council at their next meetings.
In response to pressure from conservation groups, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) announced an area closure for the swordfish drift gillnet fishery in the Pacific Ocean off California from July 25 through August 31 to prevent entanglements and drownings of endangered loggerhead sea turtles. This year’s El Niño conditions, warmer than normal waters, attract the endangered loggerhead sea turtles to the nutrient-rich waters where the deadly fishery operates.
The Santa Cruz Police Department announced they will be partnering with 7-Eleven stores to launch "Operation Chill," which is code for a program that attempts to affect the behavior of kids, and change their perception of the police department, by bribing them with coupons for free slurpees. According to police, since its inception in 1995, police departments have issued more than 12.5 million coupons,or “tickets” to kids in communities throughout the country.
Seconds after an Oakland police officer shattered Scott Olsen’s skull with a lead-filled munition on October 25, 2011, officer Robert Roche threw an explosive teargas grenade at persons who were attempting to come to Olsen’s aid as he lay critically injured on the ground in clear view of the police. Roche was subsequently fired, but on July 30, 2014, an arbitrator overturned the termination and reinstated him with full back pay. Roche officially returned to work at OPD on Monday, August 4.
Seniors, union workers and community supporters stopped tech company buses on August 1 at 24th and Valencia Streets to protest the epidemic of evictions caused by the City of San Francisco, which has allowed tech buses to bring thousands of Silicon Valley workers to the City, pushing up prices and evictions.
Citing concerns about water use and contamination, a Monterey County Superior Court judge has ruled that San Benito County unlawfully approved a dangerous new oil-development project near Pinnacles National Park that could result in hundreds of wells being drilled in important agricultural and wildlife habitat in the Salinas Valley watershed. As the judge’s ruling notes, “There are numerous opportunities for toxic spills to occur that the County has apparently not contemplated.”
Rallies have been held around the world in opposition to Israel's recent air strikes on Gaza and the collective punishment carried out against the Palestinian people living there and in the West Bank. In Northern California, demonstrations have been held in Fresno, Oakland, Palo Alto, San Francisco, Salinas, and Santa Cruz. According to the International Middle East Media Center (IMEMC), as of August 17, approximately 1939 Palestinians, including whole families, have been killed since July 8. A total of 9886 Palestinians, including 2878 children, 1854 women, and 374 elderly, have been injured. 47 Israeli soldiers, most of whom were invading Gaza at the time of their death, have been killed by Palestinian resistance, and two Israeli civilians were killed by Palestinian shells.
On July 19, the Raging Grannies passed out flyers in front of the Palo Alto Whole Foods store, telling customers why they should boycott Eden Foods, a company that is suing the Obama administration for exemptions to the Affordable Care Act. Eden Foods owner Michael Potter wants to stop covering birth control of all kinds, including pregnancy counseling, for his employees. The Grannies sang their message as well, calling out Whole Foods CEO John Mackey, who has also publicly campaigned against the Affordable Care Act.
In response to the decision from Sonoma County district attorney Jill Ravitch's decision not to prosecute Erick Gelhaus, the Sheriff's Deputy that killed 13-year-old Andy Lopez, protesters assembled in Santa Rosa on July 12 and marched through the downtown streets. After the official march was declared to be over, many continued to march in an act of civil disobedience towards Highway 101, where they blocked an off-ramp and all three northbound lanes of traffic.
In response to the killing of Frank Alvarado, the Direct Action Monterey Network called for a rally on July 12 in East Salinas against police violence. Frank's sister Angélica Garza spoke, saying she wanted justice for "Frankie" and "he had a big heart." For the duration of the rally, Frank's niece held a sign that read "Stop Police Brutality. Justice For My Uncle!"
On July 8, community members in Santa Cruz and around the state gathered to commemorate the one year anniversary of the California Hunger Strike. Sin Barras writes:
"July 8, 2013 is a day we remember to never forget the torture the state of California willingly inflicts on human lives. On that day, 30,000 prisoners followed the lead of their fellow prisoners locked in solitary confinement and refused to eat. By one account, close to 100 people went without eating for 59 days before agreeing to eat in exchange for serious concessions from the California Department of Corrections."
On July 10 at around 5am, two officers with the Salinas Police Department shot and killed Frank Alvarado at a private home in Salinas. Frank was well known in Santa Cruz, where he recently spoke out against California prison expansion at a rally in May. His killing was the fourth use of lethal force since March 21 by officers with the SPD, and all of the killings have occurred in East Salinas neighborhoods.
Direct Action Monterey Network has announced the group will be celebrating Bastille Day and launching the Monterey chapter of the Anarchist Black Cross. On Monday, July 14
a launch party will be held on Del Monte Beach in Monterey, and on Tuesday, July 15
a letter writing party will be held to support political prisoners in California's jail and prison systems.
Community members in Santa Cruz gathered once again along busy Ocean Street to greet this year's Independence Day beach tourists with a message of peace as they drove into town. The weather was warm and traffic was bumper to bumper as long-time anti-war activists lined the streets holding signs and greeting people. The rally is an annual event in Santa Cruz.
In solidarity with Brazilians protesting the FIFA Would Cup, on June 29 a group of 12 queer radicals blockaded the Google FIFA Float at the San Francisco Pride Parade. "We couldn't pass up the opportunity to connect issues of gentrification and evictions in the Bay Area with the violent displacement of Brazilians who live in the Favelas. The Google/FIFA float was a perfect target for direct action to raise awareness about these issues!" A further solidarity demonstration is set for Thursday, July 3
at the Brazilian Counsulate.
On June 28, Kink.com sponsored an official San Francisco Pride event called “Pride at the Armory." It was a prison-themed dance party that invited attendees to “get incarcerated.” Gay Shame and LAGAI – Queer Insurrection called for a march to disrupt and shut down Pride at the Armory. After the Kink protest, at least seven people were arrested, including a National Lawyers Guild Legal Observer at 16th and Mission streets. Several protesters were tackled, beaten, and bloodied by SFPD.
The U.S. Forest Service is proposing to log 661 million board feet of timber in the area burned by the Rim fire last summer in California’s Stanislaus National Forest. The new proposal would sell almost four times the timber volume sold by the Forest Service in the entire state of California in 2013. It would ignore longstanding rules protecting old-growth trees and destroy habitat for roughly 60 percent of imperiled black-backed woodpeckers.
After two and a half years of protests at La Playa Carmel, former workers who lost their jobs in 2011 continue to return to the hotel to walk the picket line and protest. At a rally held at the expensive, Carmel-by-the-Sea area hotel on June 20, two of those in attendance were former workers who had each been employed at La Playa for over 20 years before losing their jobs. "We continue to fight La Playa to make sure that employers around this area don't try to hurt us," union organizer Hector Azpilcueta said.
On the afternoon of June 24, a group of activists set up tents and banners in front of Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, CA. The protester’s demanded that Google engage in a conversation about what the company should be doing in the fight for Net Neutrality. The activists claim Google could be doing a lot more, and started the camp-out to apply pressure. Late in the night, ten activists, including a journalist who was livestreaming the event, were arrested for trespassing.
In a move that stunned but was welcomed by long-time opponents, the Army Corps of Engineers (ACE) suspended the permit for the Caltrans Willits Bypass on Friday, June 20. The project has been highly contested, with Native American involvement and over 50 arrests last year. “This appears to be the first time ACE has ever pulled a permit on an approved project under construction,” said Ellen Drell, co-founder of the Willits Environmental Center, one of the project’s opponents.
On June 10, activists rallied in front of Martin Luther King Jr. Library in San José to protest the unjust prosecution of 66-year-old Palestinian-American activist Rasmea Odeh. Last October, Homeland Security agents arrested Odeh after the Department of Justice charged her with “unlawful procurement of naturalization.” The Obama administration’s filing of these charges could result in her being stripped of her U.S. citizenship and deported.
An energetic life celebration and march through Santa Rosa was held on June 7 for Andy Lopez, who would have celebrated his 14th birthday earlier in the week if he had not been shot and killed by Sonoma County Sheriff's Deputy Erick Gelhaus on October 22. Young people were abundant at the birthday celebration. Some who appeared to be not much more than elementary school age could be seen helping organize the proceedings, with many guardians simply watching and playing more of a background role.
A large and militant protest was held in Fresno on June 16 after a young man was shot 17 times by two Fresno Police officers on June 11. 100 people protesting the shooting held a rally, attempted to see mayor Ashley Swearengin, and then marched to police headquarters. It was a spirited event, which included several of the family members of the man who was shot 17 times. The protesters demanded changes at the Fresno Police Department (FPD) that would lead to fewer officer involved shootings (OIS).
In response to the recent threat of U.S. military attacks in Iraq, community members in Santa Cruz held a vigil for the Iraqi people on June 23 at the Town Clock. Those who participated in the vigil are calling for nonviolent diplomacy, reparation and repairs, no military intervention in Iraq, and an end to weapons sales in the Middle East. "We are sick and tired of violence being thought of as a way to prevent violence," Marjorie Langdon said at the vigil.
After a court hearing on June 3, the Santa Cruz County District Attorney's office faces disqualification and the remaining four Santa Cruz Eleven defendants are left without a trial date. The case continues to cost tax payers thousands, and the defendants continue to fight the charges. Their attorneys have filed a motion to recuse the Santa Cruz District Attorney's office from the case based on bias stemming from DA Bob Lee's financial relationship to the "victim" of the case Wells Fargo.
California is experiencing a serious drought and the corporate media is filled with recommendations on how to save water: Switch to dry landscaping; don't run water when you are shaving or brushing your teeth; install low-flow showerheads; and don't wash your car. All those ideas would help, but much less than people think. An astounding 93% of California's water goes to agriculture.
On June 18, Tony Serrano stood before the Half Moon Bay City Council to demand justice for his sister, Yanira Serrano Garcia. Yanira was killed by San Mateo County Sheriff's deputy Menh Trieu on June 3 when she was having a health crisis outside of her home at the Moonridge housing complex. The Serrano family and their supporters are asking the Half Moon Bay City Council to support a number of resolutions, including one that calls for a transparent criminal investigation into the killing of the 18-year-old.
Following the release in May of the Santa Cruz County Grand Jury report on jail medical care and conditions, one juror reported he was “shocked” at the lax oversight and poor communication between jail staff and medical personnel that led to five deaths in the facility during the past 11 months. While the "normal" mortality rate is around 125 per 100,000 inmates, Santa Cruz County's rate was 10 times that number during that period.
08/16/14 Sam Farr Votes Again and Again to Strengthen U.S.-Israel Military Ties santacruz
08/16/14 WeCopwatch Reports on Protests and Police Abuses from Ferguson, Missouri police | race
08/12/14 Youth Press Conference in San Francisco Calls Attention to Children at the Border international | americas | immigrant
08/09/14 Homeless Activists Urge ACLU to Take More Principled Stand on Criminalization of Sleep poverty | santacruz
08/09/14 Environmentalists, Farmers, Tribal Leaders Call for New Bay Delta Conservation Plan EIR environment | california
08/09/14 Latino Activists Demonstrate in Solidarity with Children Detained by U.S., Killed in Gaza immigrant
08/09/14 Community Calls for End to U.S. Funded, Seven-Year Siege by Israel's Military palestine
08/05/14 'Operation Chill' Provides Santa Cruz Police with New Weapon: Free Slurpees police | santacruz
08/04/14 Three-Time Killer Reinstated After Being Fired for Throwing CS Flash-Bang at Scott Olsen police
08/04/14 Angry Seniors, Teachers, Hotel Workers, Artists and Community Block Tech Buses in SF poverty
07/28/14 Project Could Launch New Oil Field in Condor Habitat, Waste Millions of Gallons of Water environment | santacruz