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KPFA Evening News Speaks with Bradley Stuart Allen
by via KPFA Evening News
Sunday Mar 18th, 2012 8:50 PM
A Santa Cruz photojournalist is facing felony and misdemeanor charges arising from his coverage of a building occupation in Santa Cruz last November. Bradley Stuart Allen, a member of the National Press Photographers Association, and an Indymedia contributor, was charged with felony vandalism following his coverage of a three day building occupation by protesters affiliated with Occupy Wall Street.
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The KPFA Evening News (Weekend), for March 18, 2012

KPFA Evening News Speaks with Bradley Stuart Allen

(3:07 minutes)

Transcript:

DAVID LANDAU: A Santa Cruz photojournalist is facing felony and misdemeanor charges arising from his coverage of a building occupation in Santa Cruz last November. Bradley Stuart Allen, a member of the National Press Photographers Association, and an Indymedia contributor, was charged with felony vandalism following his coverage of a three day building occupation by protesters affiliated with Occupy Wall Street.

Late last week, a Santa Cruz judge threw out the vandalism charge [Count 2] after the Photographers Association had filed a brief on Allen's behalf. But the judge found that enough evidence exists to try Allen and codefendant Alex Darocy on charges of conspiracy and trespass. Speaking with KPFA, Allen read the texts of the charges he now faces.

BRADLEY ALLEN: Count 1, a felony. Conspiracy to commit a crime, in violation of Penal Code Section 182(a)(1).
Count 2, a felony. Felony Vandalism, in violation of Penal Code Section 594(b)(1).
Count 3, a misdemeanor. Trespass by entering and occupying, in violation of Penal Code Section 602(M).
Count 4, a misdemeanor. Trespass and refusing to leave private property, in violation of Penal Code Section 602(O).

DAVID LANDAU: Allen said he hopes to have these charges dismissed at his next court appearance on March 29th. He said he has no doubt that the charges are motivated by hostility toward independent media.

BRADLEY ALLEN: I had no idea that there was going to be an occupied building. I covered this occupation as a breaking news event. And the DA, District Attorney, Bob Lee and Rebekah Webb [Young] are now arguing, that my coverage of the events, alone, and publishing them on my website and Indybay.org, in and of itself, was an act to promote trespass. That my coverage alone of a news event was a conspiracy to promote trespass. So they are now criminalizing media.

I feel that it is crystal clear that I am being attacked for my political affiliations and media skills.

DAVID LANDAU: That is Santa Cruz photojournalist Bradley Stuart Allen who faces multiple felony and misdemeanor charges for his coverage of an Occupy protest last November. Santa Cruz District Attorney's Office could not be reached for comment on his case.

Outro:

And this is KPFA 94.1 Berkeley, KPFB 89.3 Berkeley, or KFCF 88.1 Fresno. Pacifica Radio for Northern and Central California. This program is the Weekend News. I'm Anthony Fest. I'm David Landau.
§KPFA 94.1 & Pacifica Radio
by via KPFA Evening News Sunday Mar 18th, 2012 8:50 PM
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Founded in 1949 by Lewis Hill, a pacifist, poet, and journalist, KPFA was the first community supported radio station in the USA. KPFA broadcasts on 94.1 FM and KPFB 89.3 FM, Berkeley, and KFCF 88.1 FM, Fresno, California. Our signal reaches one third of the state, utilizing 59,000 watts.

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Comments  (Hide Comments)

by brenda smoneson
Monday Mar 19th, 2012 12:51 AM
While Bradley Allen's case is unfair, there are actually 11 people being charged here for the crimes Mr. Allen is being charged with.
Many are long time activists that had a tangential relation to the event but were simply known to authorities and others are being charged
with felony conspiracy and felony vandalism and had no fore knowledge of the action and they worked tirelessly to prevent vandalism.
Thanks to KPFA and Bradley for getting the word out about D.A. Bob Lee's attack on journalists.

My name was at the top of the complaint citing eleven of us which includes Bradley and Alex and lists 2 felonies and 2 misdemeanors apiece.

I'm glad to see the completely cooked-up charges of "felony vandalism" and "conspiracy to vandalize" have been dropped in Bradley and Alex's cases. (They were included under a constructive conspiracy theory that Bradley and Alex were part of a "conspiracy" and hence any vandalism that others did that was "a natural and foreseeable consequence" can now be charged to anyone the D.A. proves was on the property during the 3-day occupation.

Eleven of us were charged more than two months after a peaceful 3-day occupation of a vacant bank building leased by the predatory lender and billion-dollar bailoutmeisters Wells Fargo. I've written about this issue in a Sentinel editorial at http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/ci_19998753?I .

There are other journalists among this group, and I hope Bradley and Alex, and their lawyers share their 1st Amendment concerns with others identically charged.

TRESPASS AND CONSPIRACY AS A NEW TOOL TO CRUSH OCCUPY'S
Occupy's throughout the state and indeed any protesters who violate the often cited trespass law, however briefly and peacefully, would be subject to "conspiracy to trespass" felony charges under D.A. Lee's fishing expedition. (It seems clear he's overcharging in order to intimidate activists and journalists to get them to abandon 1st Amendment rights in plea deals)

As one attorney explained it to me, if you and a colleague walk across the grass in a "trespass", say with a journalist walking parallel to you photographing the event, that would make all of you felons under cooked-up conspiracy charges.

We would have jails packed with felons if judges and juries were to succumb to this toxic theory. Why is it that only in "liberal" Santa Cruz that we apparently have the most number of felony charges against those connected with or reporting on Occupy Wall Street-inspired protests of all the cities in the country even the larger ones ?

Why two months after protesters and journalists peacefully left the building are these charges emerging (when police reports were presented in early December)? It gives the appearance that the SCPD and the D.A.'s office are acting as agents of Wells Fargo Bank in a kind of retaliatory vendetta which seeks to discourage future protest activity. On February 15th, the "Arrst the Real Criminals" protest against Wells Fargo Bank in Santa Cruz received significant harassment from the SCPD (See ""Occupy 74 River Street" Demonstration Brings Out Police " at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2012/02/17/18707600.php)

TEMPTATION TO SPLIT AND ISOLATE
It is always a temptation in "conspiracy" cases for some defendants to isolate themselves from other defendants on their attorney's advice so as not to give "the appearance of conspiracy". While I understand the motivation and can hardly fault defendants and their attorneys for seeking the best defense, I encourage us all to think of the broader significance of this attack on local liberties--a clear response to the nationally (and internationally) successful Occupy movement.

Deputies have cited and arrested numerous Occupy Santa Cruz activists for "trespass", "lodging", and other pretexts to drive OSC away from public buildings where they have a right to peacefully assemble and protest. An unprecedented 7 PM to 7 AM curfew now surrounds the county building and courthouse at night. Homeless people associated with OSC were driven into the night on December 8th creating 100-200 refugees from the San Lorenzo campground.

CRIMINAL COUNCILMEMBER TOO BE PROSECUTED AS WELL?
If "conspiracy to trespass" is allowed to stand as a "useful tool" of the police and D.A., even City Councilmembers will not be safe. SCPD Detective Gunter (Badge #182) observing Councilwoman Katherine Beiers in the building forwarded a report (Supplemental SCPD Report 11S-10203 on 12/19) recommending she be prosecuted for trespass and conspiracy. She was one of several hundred people who went in and out of the 75 River St. occupation.

The D.A.'s choice to selectively prosecute a few high-profile activists and journalists, none of whom have any connection with vandalism or violence, on serious felony charges is a dangerous bellweather of what the Occupy movement faces. We must stand together in a Conpspiracy to Resist these costly and abusive charges.

Becky Johnson and I have a Preliminary Hearing on April 16 (readiness on April 13). The other 7 involved go to Preliminary Hearing on April 23 (readiness April 20). Please urge the D.A. to drop all charges and get back to the business of prosecuting real crime.

GARY JOHNSON TRIAL FOR SLEEPCRIME BEGINS TODAY
For those interested in the heights of absurdity, homeless activist Gary Johnson faces 4 years in jail for sleeping on a bench outside the County Building with a sign "Sleep is Not a Crime" His case goes to trial in Dept. 2 this week. Jury selection begins today, Trial happens the next 3 days. I don't know if pillows, teddy bears, and bathrobes will be banned from the court.

Gary has asked to be able to wear his prison clothes (he's been in jail for 2 1/2 months awaiting trial because of the $5000 bail set by Judge John Gallagher). More on this at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2012/02/19/18707733.php , http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2012/01/11/18704560.php , & http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2012/02/16/18707536.php , and