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Santa Cruz Indymedia | Health, Housing, and Public Services | Police State and Prisons

Four SCPD Officers Issue Groundless Citation to Woman for Spitting on Pacific Avenue
by ~Bradley ( bradley [at] riseup.net )
Wednesday Oct 20th, 2010 10:58 PM
On the night of October 20th, four Santa Cruz Police Department officers flexed their arbitrary rule in the ongoing war against poor people trying to survive on the streets when they ticketed a woman on Pacific Avenue for spitting. These boys in blue did not find it prudent to give this guest to our city a warning about spitting on the sacred sidewalks of Santa Cruz. She was issued a ticket for nothing more than spitting.

Santa Cruz Municipal Code section 9.50.020, governing conduct on public property, monuments, and lawns, indicates that the ticket is unjustifiable and therefore should not have been issued. 9.50.02 (d) forbids the intentional discharge of a liquid substance. However, the municipal code states that a person is violating 9.50.02 "after having been notified by a police officer, public officer or downtown host that he or she is in violation of the prohibition."

The woman who was cited for spitting told the SCPD officers that she is a military veteran who helped people as part of a special K9 unit. She also demonstrated a chant and march from her military training before giving Officer Winston an "autograph." After the police left, she showed me and another observer where she got shot in the knee while in the military. She told me that she had been in Santa Cruz for two days.
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The Santa Cruz police generally do not like to be observed when they are harassing people. And they appreciate it even less when their persecutions are documented by people on the street.

Myself and another individual were observing the police harassment from a reasonable distance on the sidewalk, at the corner of Pacific and Soquel Ave. The police began to disrupt my observation and documentation by approaching and photographing me. The other observer was also bullied by the police. He was intimidated into briefly leaving after being told he was on probation. He later told me that he is not on probation, but even if he was, it would probably still be lawful for him to stand on the sidewalk.

Officer Winston issued the ticket to the woman for spitting, even though no prior warning was given, which is required under Santa Cruz Municipal Code section 9.50.020. He then chose me for his next person to harass. I was standing on the sidewalk next to my bicycle and he said that I better have a light. But he was not done looking for a reason to issue me a petty ticket. Winston then said, "You better have a license for your bike." Then he looked and said, "You don't have one. Take out your identification." Even though I was not even riding my bike, Winston was ready to write me a ticket, but I pointed out that I have a license on my bike.

The officers refused to give me one of their cards, or their badge numbers.

Four Santa Cruz Police Department officers have the time to harass and unlawfully ticket someone for spitting on the sidewalk. In retribution for my documentation, Officer Winston looked to give me a ticket for not having a bicycle license. At the same time, the SCPD insists that public safety is in serious jeopardy and that Measure H needs to be passed on November 2nd because the police need more money and more officers on the street.
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Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Robert Norse
Thursday Oct 21st, 2010 12:42 AM
Again--good work under pressure.

I encourage others to photograph such SCPD abuses, which are regular occurences on Pacific Avenue and elsewhere.

I regularly play audio of such stuff on my show on 101.1 FM (also at http://www.freakradio.org) on Thrusdays 6-8 PM and Sundays 9:30 AM to 1 PM.

Past shows are archived at http://www.huffsantacruz.org under "Bathrobespierre's Broadsides".

Please call 423-4833 to report such incidents, or write up the incident in the notebook at the Sub Rosa Cafe at 703 Pacific Ave.

HUFF has also been holding more regular meetings at the Abbey Cafe on Wednesdays at 10:30 AM (Vintage Faith Church at the intersection of Mission, High, and Highland streets).
by circle that a
Thursday Oct 21st, 2010 7:51 AM
I've attempted to fight a few tickets on the grounds of not being warned first that I was doing something wrong, it seems to just not be acknowledged at all. Most recently, I got the option of a four hundred dollar fine or 36 hours of community service for "sitting on a utility box", naturally by Officer Winston who drove the wrong way on a one way street, then halfway onto the sidewalk (passenger side of the car) on a red curb, leaping from his car with his ticket book and that smug, shit-eating grin. No warning whatsoever, just a ticket and insults. When I told the commissioner I didn't think that large of a ticket was fair (400 dollars is about 4 camping tickets, or 3 open container charges, worth of fines), he gave me the maximum sentence the charge would allow. They don't care about the wording of the law, just the general gist of it, and god's mercy on you if you vocally disagree with them.
by roknich
Thursday Oct 21st, 2010 8:13 PM
Bradley,

certainly they were wearing badges?
get out your pad, look closely and write them down.

Laws vary from state to state regarding badge requirements - but a badge is essential as indentification that they are properly acting under the color of law.

- dave
by police state in SC
Friday Oct 22nd, 2010 12:33 AM
we could replace these 4 tax wasters with 15 security guards for
the same money.

is there a copwatch program that people can do for community service
instead of paying fines?
While it is difficult, if not impossible, to get attorneys interested in fighting these "power to the police" ordinances, used repeatedly against poor, homeless, youth, and minority groups, it's still a good thing to publicize stuff like this as Bradley has repeatedly done.

If you video and post on You-Tube or elsewhere incidents of this sort, please provide a brief description and a link for indybay.org.

HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) is interested in Copwatching. What with the "Triple Fine Zones" and 60G's for "police presence" coming up on Halloween, that might be a good time.

Another option is just following around cops, hosts, and or the "False Alarm" security guards on the mall.

I've recently heard repeated reports of ACLU and Oxfam petitioners that Trader Jo's in downtown Santa Cruz has run them out of their parking lot with threats of trespass. Last spring, I actually witnessed cops giving a misdemeanor citation to one of two blue-shirted ACLU guys. (Interview Richard Anderson at http://www.radiolibre.org/brb/brb100502.mp3 towards the end of the long audio file).

At that time, Trader Jo's management pled innocent to any interest, saying it was the Property Management Scrooge. However, last week another ACLU canvasser showed me a "don't trespass or else" form given him by a Trader Joe's employee in Santa Cruz with the Trader Joe's letterhead on it.
by Tom Kuestersteffen III
Sunday Oct 24th, 2010 3:22 PM
I don't understand this, Robert. Are you suggesting that Trader Joe's is overstepping its authority in telling canvassers not to solicit on its private property? Are they some sort of oppressor for doing this? Did someone brain you with a wooden mallet last night?
by Gene
Sunday Oct 24th, 2010 10:55 PM
Do you know where anti spitting laws come from? Guessed that you didn't. TB is spread that way. Yes it's true.
by David Roknich
Monday Oct 25th, 2010 12:30 AM
seems that Robert has a clue about the owners of Trader Joe -
there are other health food stores in town. go to them instead.
I have always suspected that TJs was owned by a bunch of
right wing corporate slime - though the employees are always nice.
and this is true in other cities.
Don't think Trader Joes is some kind of Santa Cruz institution.
It is a chain store operation. Clue.
I head to research their corporate filings.

ciao.

- dave
by David Roknich
Monday Oct 25th, 2010 12:37 AM
Don't blame the Trader Joe's chain - they are pretty clean as far as corporations go.

"Ethisphere Magazine named Trader Joe's one of the most ethical companies in the United States in 2008, 2009, and 2010" see wikipedia

the local manager might have some problem with those non-profit anhangers Robert mentioned
by look into Aldi
Monday Oct 25th, 2010 8:27 AM
While Trader Joes domestically may be run by decent folk, it was bought several years ago by two wealthy brothers who are right-wing nuts who literally served in Hitler's army! One just died a few weeks ago. They made their money off of "Aldi", which is basically the Walmart of Germany.

That being said, there is no "free speech" case here as that parking lot is private property and they've been rather polite in letting some of those canvassers (some of who are VERY annoying) stay as long as they have. They ask you "Do you have a minute for gay rights?" making me think that they were getting signatures for an anti- Prop 8 ballot initiative, but then it turns out they are just trolling for money. Move to the public sidewalk and they can do it all day and nobody will mind.

by A
Monday Oct 25th, 2010 9:53 PM
Good Work. Besides the obvious injustice having four police officers to give out a single spitting ticket to a non violent person not resisting is beyond ridicules. Sort like the light bulb joke. ( How many Santa Cruz Police does it take...) but this affects lives. I have cop watched before and I think asking for badge numbers is always good. Staying aware while writing down tiny badge numbers by upset cops is hard at best. Keep up the great work. Most cops carry cards as you know. I have never been told no here before. Times are a changing I guess. I think its illegal in California. It used to be.
by police state in SC
Friday Oct 29th, 2010 10:03 PM
like singing or walking in a parade.
hey, we have ro pay for those 6 figure
police pensions somehow.
by Robert Norse
Saturday Oct 30th, 2010 11:23 AM
In response to Tom and David on the rights of petitioners (and political solicitors) to access privately-owned but publicly-accessible shopping malls:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pruneyard_Shopping_Center_v._Robins

I spoke with some Trader Joe's employees a few nights ago. They didn't suggest any particular problems, just that, any private business has a right to eliminate the First Amendment in their parking lots, even in a large shopping mall. This doesn't comport with the Pruneyard decision. I was told by an ACLU canvasser that in the most recent incident (last week), the police sided with the canvasser in what was an apparent change of policy. Tthis spring an unconstitutional citizen's arrest from one of the private security guards there to an ACLU fund-seeker; he was driven away with a trespass ticket, which hadn't been filed when he went to court later (i.e. harassment).

As someone who likes to shop at Trader Joe's, this puts me in a bad position. Anybody interested in challenging this policy--particularly someone with some legal muscle and staying power? I'd suggest a letter to the management followed by some simple peaceful First Amendment activity. Please advise us on line if anyone decides to actually use the First Amendment there, rather than watch it wash way in the fall rains.

HUFF's Halloween Copwatch isn't going to happen because of logistical problems. However, there are more cellphones with video capacity than ever around. Please describe and post accounts of abusive police behavior (as well as situations were cops are actually defending people's rights).

I don't think there's a big TB threat in Santa Cruz, for those who want to fine or jail spitters.

It has rather to do with expanding police power to monitor and control what they consider “undesireable” behavior—particularly behavior critical of or out of synch with commercial interests downtown.
by Gene
Monday Nov 1st, 2010 1:44 PM
Huge rise in TB lately Robert. Partly due to a huge influx of immigrants from areas where it is very prevelant. Not saying this person had it but that is why the law is on the books. esdies who wants to walk in someone elses expectorent, oh wait I forgot the rules of civility do not belong in your world.
by Thos Kuestersteffen II
Wednesday Nov 3rd, 2010 5:17 AM
LOL. Good luck with your Trader Joe's crusade, Robert. Maybe you can get yourself banned-for-life from there too.

I shall watch your future with considerable interest :-)
by Sarah
Wednesday Nov 3rd, 2010 7:31 AM
Quote: She told me that she had been in Santa Cruz for two days.


Enough said. Anyone who thinks Santa Cruz is NOT a homeless magnet needs -- here is a prime example.
by gene loves jackboots
Monday Nov 15th, 2010 5:43 PM
the idea that this rediculous law prevents tuberculosis= bullshit. anytime someone criticises the cops their supporters come up with a stupid excuse. TB is spread by the cops who constantly put homeless people in jail together instead of providing medical service and hygiene
by wealth is a crime
Tuesday Nov 16th, 2010 11:55 PM
since TB is commonly spread in shelters or jails,
if TB is on the rise, homeless shelters are not a safe place to sleep.

outside is safer.
put that in your PC2010 necessity defense and smoke it.
by THE REAL ISSUE
Sunday Feb 20th, 2011 11:50 AM
THESE PUNK PIGS,, IT seems they are to scared to take on REAL CRIME!!!! SO they ticket NON VIOLENT people, and CLOG the legal system,,, I say,,, TAKE THEM TO COURT individually,, Let them feel the pain! It is possible to take legal action against an individual working for the city.. I DID IT AND WON<<<<<< $$$$$$$