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Copwatch the New Order Downtown Halloween Night
Copwatchers will gather at the Coffee Roasting Company downtown on or slightly before 8 PM Wednesday October 31st to monitor police and take reports of excessive police exuberance.
Are police profiling and selectively enforcing laws downtown?
Recently police power has expanded significantly and public space contracted with the passage of the Parking Lot Trespass Law (making it illegal to socialize in a parking lot at all, or to linger for more than 15 minutes even if you're parking your car or bike--law to go into effect in all downtown parking lots November 22 or so).
Police are expected to be out in unusually heavy numbers to enforce the "Triple Fine Zones". Such crimes, as carrying around your own beer in a paper bag can earn you hundreds of dollars in fines, as well police intimidation and a trip to the pokey. An incentive to folks to buy from local bars and restaurants rather than risk DIYing it.
When Councilmember Tony Madrigal raised the forbidden "profiling" concern briefly at a September City Council meeting discussing the "Triple Fine Zones", he suffered the combined fury of the SCPD, the Sentinel, and every other member of the City Council. (Listen to it archived at http://www.radiolibre.org/brb/brb071007.mp3 -- about 2/5 of the way through the audio file)
Santa Cruz's weak but struggling Citizens Police Review Board was amputated without apology by the Mathews-Rotkin City Council in January 2003. Even when it was there, it was community activism that got the first independent review of the police department's mini-riot in May 1999. Then Officer David LaFaver abused a woman and her child, part of a crowd surrounding a police car that had made a false arrest at the demonstration against Clinton's Yugoslavia bombing. Complaints against LaFever's behavior towards the woman's defender, Steve Argue, were later sustained. LaFaver quit the SCPD (and transfered to another cop shop over the hill).
What's the current situation?
Come and find out for yourself. Bring a camera, tape recorder, videocam, cell phone, and/or just a notebook and watching eyes. We'll be keeping an eye on the quasi-military police presence that has become a regular and unwanted presence on Pacific Avenue on Halloween.
Bring a friend. Come in costume if you wish. We'll be taking complaints (and commendations), as well as encouraging people to call the HUFF line (831-423-4833) with updates on how things are going.
Don't let the Sentinel and Megabucks Mainstream Radio echoing police hand-out's be the only voices in the community.
Short video of HUFF's Cop Watch