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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: Santa Cruz Indymedia | Health, Housing, and Public Services | Police State and Prisons
SCPD ignores my advocacy for disabled homeless victim of alleged assault
On July 29, 2012, disabled homeless woman Andrea Morgan was allegedly assaulted by a volunteer of the Elevation Church which provides meals on the weekends at the Homeless Services Center (HSC) while requiring diners to listen to prayers and a sermon. Ms. Morgan believes this happened because the volunteer refused to acknowledge that Ms. Morgan is disabled. Ms. Morgan, helped by my sister on my behalf as her representative and advocate, filed assault charges against this individual on July 31, 2012 with the Santa Cruz Police Department (SCPD). SCPD Officer Peabody took Ms. Morgan's testimony and her detailed notes describing the incident. He indicated to Ms. Morgan and my sister that what Ms. Morgan had described constituted assault — he said he would pass it to an SCPD detective. To our knowledge, since then the SCPD has not followed through and investigated this alleged disability motivated assault while five foot one inch tall Ms. Morgan — who suffers from chronic fatigue and exhaustion — was targeted by the HSC as knocking this 180+ pound six foot tall church volunteer to the ground, temporarily banning her from their services and putting her on notice that she could be permanently banned.
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The PDF email correspondence with SCPD Records Manager Trisha Husome describes my efforts as Ms. Morgan's representative and advocate, to gain information on her behalf about this stalled investigation of an alleged disability motivated assault against her. So far Ms. Husome has not only rebuffed my efforts to try to determine how Ms. Morgan would designate to the SPCD that I am allowed to act on her behalf to gain information about this stalled investigation, but has also ignored my August 15, 2012 California Public Records Act (CPRA) request for SCPD policies on third party access to investigations and on third parties acting as representatives and advocates for crime victims in Santa Cruz.
Consider what would happen if an SCPD investigation determined that Ms. Morgan had been assaulted based upon disability by a volunteer acting on behalf of the HSC. The HSC is directly funded by the City of Santa Cruz. This year it is slated to receive over $200K in HUD block grant money from the City of Santa Cruz. Mayor Don Lane is president of the HSC's board of directors. Not only would this be a scandal for the City of Santa Cruz and Mayor Don Lane (who is running for re-election), but it might open the City of Santa Cruz up to a lawsuit.
This is why I believe SCPD Records Manager Trisha Husome is ignoring my CPRA request and my questions. It is not in the interests of the City of Santa Cruz for the SCPD to fairly investigate this alleged disability motivated assault. I believe the SCPD's refusal to fairly investigate the alleged disability motivated assault of a disabled woman at the HSC is politically motivated.
Whatever the reason for Ms. Husome's silence and the SCPD's lack of action, the result is that Ms. Morgan was put on the street where she was recently robbed. She faces more sanctions from the HSC until the SCPD clears her reputation.