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Demonstration at Wells Fargo in Santa Cruz: "Drop the Charges! Bust the Banksters!"
by Bradley Stuart ( bradley [at] riseup.net )
Wednesday Apr 4th, 2012 7:29 PM
On April 4th, a dozen people demonstrated on the sidewalk in front of the Wells Fargo Bank located at 74 River St. in downtown Santa Cruz, and across the street from the vacant bank building apparently controlled by Wells Fargo at 75 River St.

The event was held to "encourage those victimized by the bank to learn they have allies", according to an announcement published on Santa Cruz Indymedia that morning.

The demonstration was also called to "support the hundreds of people who visited or protested the vacant building at 75 River St. in late November and early December last year." The announcement asserts that Santa Cruz County District Attorney Bob Lee "has selectively chosen 11 people" for prosecution, including journalists and activists, "in a case of political targeting previously unknown in Santa Cruz."
journalism-is-not-a-crime_4-4-12.jpg
journalism-is-not-a-crime...

Demonstrators cited many grievances with Wells Fargo Bank, including the bank's responsibility for global inequity, home foreclosures, investments in private prisons, and the eviction of people trying to create a community center at 75 River St.

Tom O'Leary held a sign proclaiming "Banks Steal". He was protesting because, "Wells Fargo signed off orders to evict people from the community center at 75 River St. in early December. Wells Fargo handles drug money while the United States government is supposedly fighting a War on Drugs, yet they bail out banks that handle most of the money, including Wells Fargo. Wells Fargo finances Guantanamo Bay, so that makes them complicit in a fascist institution."

Tom continued, "They've been behind so many foreclosures, and it's useful to speak out not just as an abstract issue, but to go after the local culprits in foreclosure so there's a concrete institution people can identify, so they can pin it down and make it more accountable, before ultimately kicking it out of the community."

Justin, who worked in construction before being laid off, held a sign inviting people to "Join the Conspiracy to Restore Justice". When asked what brought him out to protest, Justin replied, "Wells Fargo, Bank of America, it's all the same. I lost my job in construction. My boss couldn't afford to pay us. The guy who's house was being repaired couldn't afford to pay anymore. So it's a domino effect, on a mass scale, of unemployment."

At least one person travelled several hours to attend the demonstration. Denica De Foy explained, "I came up from Prunedale, got a ride, then walked 3.5 miles from Capitola to Santa Cruz. I wanted to show support for all comrades who have been erroneously charged for their alleged participation in reclaiming a community space that lay fallow."

Denica's sign, rebuking the stance of the Santa Cruz County District Attorney, neatly stated in cursive letters that, "Journalism is not A Crime".

After seeing the list of people being charged, Denica said it was clear to her that the Santa Cruz Police Department and District Attorney are targeting independent media.

Throughout the demonstration, numerous people showed their support by honking and giving a thumbs-up from their cars.

Representatives of Wells Fargo Bank could not be reached for comment.


For more information, please see:

Indybay Journalists Charged with Felony: Conspiracy to Make Media
Viewpoint Discrimination, Selective Prosecution in Charges Against Independent Journalists

http://www.indybay.org/mediaconspiracy
§Representative of Wells Fargo Bank
by Bradley Stuart Wednesday Apr 4th, 2012 7:29 PM
wells-fargo-representative_4-4-12.jpg
wells-fargo-representativ...

§Banks Steal
by Bradley Stuart Wednesday Apr 4th, 2012 7:29 PM
banks-steal_4-4-12.jpg
banks-steal_4-4-12.jpg

§Join the Conspiracy to Restore Justice
by Bradley Stuart Wednesday Apr 4th, 2012 7:29 PM
conspiracy-to-restore-justice_4-4-12.jpg
conspiracy-to-restore-jus...

§An Idea Whose Time Has Come
by Bradley Stuart Wednesday Apr 4th, 2012 7:29 PM
an-idea-whose-time-has-come_4-4-12.jpg
an-idea-whose-time-has-co...

§Robert Norse Documents
by Bradley Stuart Wednesday Apr 4th, 2012 7:29 PM
robert-norse-documents_4-4-12.jpg
robert-norse-documents_4-...

§Bust the Wells Fargo Conspiracy
by Bradley Stuart Wednesday Apr 4th, 2012 7:29 PM
wells-fargo-conspiracy_4-4-12.jpg
wells-fargo-conspiracy_4-...

§Journalism is Not a Crime
by Bradley Stuart Wednesday Apr 4th, 2012 7:29 PM
journalism-conspiracy_4-4-12.jpg
journalism-conspiracy_4-4...

Join the Conspiracy to Restore Justice
§Wells Fargo Security Guard
by Bradley Stuart Wednesday Apr 4th, 2012 7:29 PM
wells-fargo-security_4-4-12.jpg
wells-fargo-security_4-4-...

§Hella Hella Occupy
by Bradley Stuart Wednesday Apr 4th, 2012 7:29 PM
hella-hella-occupy_4-4-12.jpg
hella-hella-occupy_4-4-12...


Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Donna
Wednesday Apr 4th, 2012 9:37 PM
Prosecute the Banks & Hold Banks Accountable.
Join with members of the Occupy & 99% Movements and Move-On
Take a stand in the No Justice Zone
STAND IN SOLIDARITY WITH FORECLOSED HOMEOWNERS
Call AG Harris @ 916-324-5435
Demand Accountability & Criminal Prosecutions
For Vieira Family
Foreclosed by Wells Fargo Bank, Hunger Striking Homeowner, Donna Vieira demands that Attorney General Kamala D. Harris arrest, criminally prosecute the banks, and hold banks accountable. April 5th will mark Day #16 of Donna Vieira's Hunger Strike for Justice and Sit-in outside the Office of California Attorney General, Kamala D. Harris.
Justice is Truth in Action.
Please sign the petition at http://www.NoJusticeZone.com
by Robert Norse
Thursday Apr 5th, 2012 4:11 AM
A disappointingly limited story by the local Ad Rag, SC Weekly, essentially summarized and regurgitated longer more detailed accounts focusing on the journalistic credentials of two of the eleven. While certainly true and relevant, Jake Pierce's story is disappointing as I tried to raise in the following comment in the on-line edition. As of the next day, the comment had not appeared on line.

Go to http://www.santacruz.com/news/2012/04/03/journalists_say_they_were_targeted_for_covering_occupy for the article.

My apparently censored comment:

"A narrowly-focused story which reiterates more extensive info already published on http://www.indybay.org/santacruz.

Pierce also misses the dire First Amendment implications of the 2 1/2 month late prosecutions which selected 11 out of more than 300 (not 75).

This attack on local activists and journalists is of a piece with prosecutions around the country against Occupy-inspired activism exposing bankster crime, anti-homeless abuses, and the privileges of the wealth.

It is really an attempt to frighten people away from direct action activism. In no other city, have activists occupying buildings been charged with felonies even when there was vandalism done.

There is also little or no discussion of the target of the occupation--Wells Fargo Bank--the biggest foreclosure criminal and bailout panhandler in the nation. Nor of its local scams.

Pierce does mention the apparent presence of the Sentinel photographer in the building. But he doesn't go into the presence of other city officials and other more favored media (Santa Cruz Patch writers).

Wells Fargo fancier D.A. Bob Lee produced no evidence of any vandalism by Bradley and Alex at their Preliminary Hearing, Yet even after the judge dismissed felony vandalism and conspiracy to commit vandalism charges, Lee's hatchet woman Rebekah Young (the D.A. who is arguing these cases) moved to refile these spurious charges.

For more information that goes to the heart of these malicious and bogus charges, go to "Drop the Charges; Bust the Banksters..." at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2012/04 "


Thanks to the surprisingly large turnout for the 74 Wells Fargo protest--which happened at surprisingly short notice.

Thanks as well to those Occupy Santa Cruz and other activists and interested folks who showed up and were not afraid to make themselves visible in a climate of fear where many have been afraid to even discuss the substance of the 75 River St. action, support for the 11 defendants, and (perhaps most important) Wells Fargo's continuing criminal behavior.

The next Preliminary Hearing for 2 of the 11 (myself and Becky Johnson) will be coming up April 16 (though there's a readiness hearing in court where we're required to appear on April 13). Attorneys for two others (Bradley Stuart and Alex Darocy) are expected to file a formal motion to dismiss charges-a 995 motion--soon if they haven't already. Stuart and Darocy are slated for jury trial at the end of May.
by Robert Norse
Friday Apr 6th, 2012 2:22 PM
Looks like S.C. Weekly's on-line version has published my comments.

If anyone has updates to the latest Wells Fargo antics in Santa Cruz or elsewhere---please post them here and/or e-mail them to me at rnorse3 [at] hotmail.com . This includes critics who wish to make corrections or additions.
by G
Monday Apr 9th, 2012 8:47 AM
Fire Bob Lee!
Contact them. They know lots about legal issues for (citizen) journalists.