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On November 10, peace activists in Santa Cruz protested a book signing appearance by Leon Panetta, the one-time Secretary of Defense and CIA Director. Bookshop Santa Cruz hosted the event with a crowd of hundreds in attendance. By the end of the evening, five individuals were "banned for life" from Bookshop Santa Cruz, in retaliation for activities related to the evening's peaceful protest. Additionally, Panetta's security assaulted an Indybay journalist who was documenting the event.
Lockdown at U.S. Federal Court to Free Palestinian Community Organizer Rasmea Odeh On November 12, activists with the Bay Area Rasmea Defense Committee chained themselves to doors of the Ronald V. Dellums Federal Building in Oakland to protest the conviction and imprisonment of 67-year-old Palestinian community organizer Rasmea Odeh. Other supporters rallied in front of the federal building, condemning what they call a politically motivated trial targeting Odeh because of her role as an outspoken Palestinian leader and activist. Odeh was convicted on Monday, November 10th in a Detroit federal court of knowingly lying on her immigration application.

Hundreds were present in court to support Odeh over the course of her trial in Detroit, and many more across the country have held solidarity demonstrations demanding that she be freed. Activists in the Bay Area vow to continue to protest to intensify their efforts until Odeh is released.

photoRead More | calendarFree Rasmea Odeh Now! Oakland Solidarity Rally | calendarFree Rasmea Odeh Now! Oakland Solidarity Night of Music and Food (Nov 14)
On November 8, Santa Cruz Food Not Bombs shared food in solidarity with those who have been arrested for serving food in public in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Volunteers with Santa Cruz Food Not Bombs have been serving food continuously to the hungry and homeless at the same location, the Santa Cruz downtown post office, for several years now. An event announcement for the solidarity event stated, "No one should be arrested for helping the community. Sharing food is an unregulated act of compassion." Events have been held worldwide in support of those being arrested in Fort Lauderdale.
One More Death at Santa Cruz County Jail Makes Six In Two Years On November 5, a woman died in the Santa Cruz County Jail. The Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Department immediately claimed there was nothing suspicious about the death, calling it a “medical event.” Sin Barras, a Santa Cruz-based prison abolition organization, has said the deaths were, "preventable in more ways than one."

Sin Barras writes: "There is undoubtedly something suspicious about six deaths occurring in a jail within two years, especially in light of the recent Grand Jury investigation, which found most of the deaths to be preventable. Our jail is overcrowded with people who have not been convicted of crimes, but simply cannot afford to pay bail. Our jail is overcrowded with people who need drug treatment and affordable housing. These deaths were preventable in more ways than one. Do we need another investigation to confirm this?"

pdfRead More with PDF | Sin Barras

Previous Coverage: Grand Jury Report on Jail Deaths Only a Snapshot of the Larger Picture || Sin Barras Rally at SC County Jail Held in Response to Recent Deaths at Facility
21st Annual Peace and Unity March in Watsonville The annual Watsonville Peace and Unity March took place on November 1. This year, for the first time since the initial event in 1994, the Watsonville Police Department was given a large role in determining the route of the march. The event was originally founded by the Watsonville Brown Berets, and the group remained primary organizers of the march from the beginning through 2011, but in 2014 organization of the event became professionalized.

Speaking confidentially during the march, multiple organizers stated that the Watsonville Police Department imposed changes shortly before the event, which altered the planned route, thus eliminating many traditional stopping points and neighborhoods with historical significance to the march. One organizer, speaking confidentially, said he was disappointed with the Watsonville Police Department's orchestration of events leading up to and during the march. Many people who attended the march were receptive to the police presence.

Most participants in the march advocated for peace without presenting any solutions, demands, or critiques, but some marchers displayed messages critical of police and prisons. Sin Barras, a community-based group out of Santa Cruz that works to eradicate the prison industrial-complex, carried a large banner calling for "Peace Without Police."

imc_photo.gifRead More with Photos

Previous coverage of the Peace and Unity March in Watsonville: 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2009 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013
Fifth Man Killed at the Hands of Salinas Police in 2014: Jaime Garcia Salinas Police have reported that Jaime Garcia, age 35, died after one of their officers tased him during an attempted arrest on Halloween. According to an SPD press release, the five officers involved in the incident were put on administrative leave during the "initital stages" of the investigation. The death of Garcia is the fifth death to occur at the hands of Salinas Police in 2014.

"During the struggle with Officers it became readily apparent that Garcia was going into medical distress. Paramedics, who were staged nearby, were immediately summoned to the scene where Garcia was quickly transported to a local hospital with CPR in progress. Efforts by paramedics to revive Garcia were not successful and he was pronounced deceased at the hospital," the SPD press release stated.

Officers with the Salinas Police Department killed four other Latino males in 2014: Angel Ruiz was killed on March 20 by Sergeant Mark Lazzarini, Officer Daniel DeBorde, and Officer William Yetter; Osman Hernandez was killed on May 9 by Sergeant George Lauricella and Officer Derek Gibson; Carlos Mejia-Gomez was killed on May 20 by Sergeant Danny Warner and Officer Josh Lynd; and Frank Alvarado was killed on July 10 by Sergeant Brian Johnson and Officer Scott Sutton.

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Previous Coverage: Police Officers Kill Fourth Person in East Salinas: Frank Alvarado || Salinas Police Kill Three People in Last Three Months || SPD Releases Use of Force 'Policy Manual' || 2014 Monterey County Law Enforcement Misconduct Timeline || Salinas Police Procedures and Killings Challenged by Citizens of Salinas
National Police Brutality Day in Salinas The family of Frank Alvarado was joined by community supporters for a protest at the Salinas Police Department on October 22, which is National Police Brutality Day. Frank Alvarado was killed by Brian Johnson and Scott Sutton of the Salinas Police department on July 10 of this year.

Officers with the Salinas Police Department killed four people in 2014. In addition to Frank, Angel Ruiz was killed on March 20 by Sergeant Mark Lazzarini, Officer Daniel DeBorde, and Officer William Yetter; Osman Hernandez was killed on May 9 by Sergeant George Lauricella and Officer Derek Gibson; and Carlos Mejia-Gomez was killed on May 20 by Sergeant Danny Warner and Officer Josh Lynd.

Angelica Garza, Frank Alvarado's sister, spoke outside of the police station. She explained that after the Salinas Police Department released the names of the officers involved in the 2014 killings, she became convinced the department was racist. "I have to apologize to you. All this time I have been saying that it's not a race thing," Garza said. "I tried to give the police the benefit of the doubt. Four Latino men were murdered by nine non-Latino men. That does not add up. I apologize to you."

imc_video.gifimc_photo.gifRead More with Photos and Video

Previous Coverage: Frank Alvarado Sr. Speaks Out Against Salinas Police, Declares There Will Be Justice || Salinas Police Chief to Speak on “Police Legitimacy in Communities of Color” || Protesters Confront Salinas Police Chief at Bookstore Appearance in Santa Cruz || Demonstration in Salinas turns into Copwatch-in-Action || Rally in Salinas Demands Justice for Frank Alvarado, Killed by Salinas Police || Police Officers Kill Fourth Person in East Salinas: Frank Alvarado || Families, Residents and Statewide Supporters Fight for Justice in Salinas || Salinas Police Kill Three People in Last Three Months
Santa Cruz City Council Delays Second Reading of Parks Stay Away Ordinance Shortly before the October 28 session, the City Council announced that the second reading of Santa Cruz Municipal Code Section 13.08.100, pertaining to orders to vacate park property, had been pulled from the meeting agenda. Since 2013, Park Rangers have had the ability to force park users to stay away from city parks when issued citations for low-level infractions, and individuals can be issued a stay away order for a full year after receiving multiple citations. A violation of a parks stay-away order can result in a misdemeanor conviction, which can carry up to a year in jail and/or a $1000 fine.

Civil rights groups have voiced strong opposition to the ordinance and called into question the constitutional sufficiency of the amendment. After analyzing citations and stay-away orders from 2013-14, which were provided by the Parks and Recreation Department, the organization Homeless United for Friendship and Freedom (HUFF) has found that nearly 100% of citations written in city parks were for non-violent, non-disruptive infractions.

ACLU Santa Cruz County writes: The Santa Cruz Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is shocked that the City Council is considering a resolution of this problem that involves banning individuals from a park or parks in general, for as long as a year, without any due process or procedure for a fair hearing in front of an impartial judge as to whether they actually committed the acts with which they are being charged or whether the punishment is appropriate for whatever transgression(s) they are cited for committing. This proposal is Constitutionally vague, lacks adequate due process protections, and is ripe for abuse. We sympathize with your need to address problem behavior in the parks and don't doubt that there is a problem that needs to be addressed, but we seriously hope you will find a different approach to addressing it.

Read More | pdfStay-Away From Human Rights ! An Activist Examines the Escalating Stay-Away Orders Law | Local ACLU Issues Stong Statement in Opposition to "Stay Away" Ordinance | Time to Step Up and Fight City Hall on “Stay Away” Ordinance | pdfPetition and Flyers Opposing the Anti-Homeless Stay Away Orders Ordinance | Nasty Anti-Homeless Stay-Away Laws to Get Exponentially Worse

Related Indybay Feature: The City of Santa Cruz Wages Campaign Attacking Homeless Camps
HUFF Releases Evidence of SCPD Profiling, Joins National Police Brutality Protests On October 22, Homeless United for Friendship and Freedom (HUFF) participated in the 19th annual National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and Criminalization with a demonstration in front of the Santa Cruz Police Department. This week, HUFF announced that after analyzing the citation records of SCPD Community Service Officer B. Barnett, they have found that he has disproportionately targeted homeless people and African-Americans.

According to HUFF, nearly three of every four of Barnett's citations made downtown were issued to homeless people for essentially victimless crimes, such as sitting, smoking, and skateboarding. Additionally, nearly 10% of the citations Barnett issued were to African-Americans, in a county where 1.4% of the population is black according to a recent census.

At the protest, HUFF also denounced the recent decision by the Santa Cruz City Council to expand penalties under the parks stay-away ordinance that was first adopted in May of 2013. Park Rangers now have the ability to force individuals to stay away from city parks when they have been issued citations for low-level infractions. A person can be banned from a park for a full year after receiving multiple citations. A violation of a stay-away order can result in a misdemeanor conviction, which can carry up to a year in jail and/or a $1000 fine.

imc_photo.gifRead More with Photos | October 22nd "Say No to Police Abuse" Day Protest Against Racial and Homeless Profiling | Nasty Anti-Homeless Stay-Away Laws to Get Exponentially Worse | Homeless United for Friendship and Freedom

Previous Coverage: 'Pushback' Demonstration at the SCPD Against Homeless Harassment || Santa Cruz Police and First Alarm Brutalize and Arrest People for Being Black and Homeless
Santa Cruz City Council Member Micah Posner writes: Deputy Chief Steve Clark labeled Santa Cruz City Council candidate Leonie Sherman an "anarchist" on the evening news due to the fact that she hung a banner at the WTO protest 15 years ago. The courage and conviction that she displayed as part of this non-violent protest are just some of the reasons why Sherman will be an excellent City Councilmember.
Alameda DA Drops Charges Against the "Trayvon 2" Hannibal Abdul Shakur and Tanzeen Doha were arrested during protests during the summer of 2013 in downtown Oakland, after the George Zimmerman verdict was announced, where he was acquitted for the February 26, 2012, murder of Trayvon Martin. At an October 10 pre-trial readiness conference, the Oakland prosecutor finally admitted that they had “insufficient evidence” to go to trial, putting forth a motion to drop the remaining charges. Workers World interviewed Hannibal Shakur about their legal and political victory.

WW: I witnessed the pre-trial hearing last spring for you and Tanzeen, when they were still pressing the felony charges, and from the witnesses your lawyer, Walter Riley, presented, it was obvious that the DA had no case then. The charges were dropped from felonies to misdemeanors by the judge over the prosecutor’s objection, but he insisted on pursuing the charges at that time. Why do you believe he did, despite the clear lack of evidence?

HS: There’s been a lot of pressure on the DA to clamp down on protesters. They’re looking for a scapegoat to make them think organizing marches isn’t worth it. One of the discouragements for corporations to invest in developing these areas is there’s such a history of protests here. It represents an uncertain financial future for corporations who want to come in and advance capitalism.

photoRead More

See Also: photoHand Off The Trayvon 2 (Trial Starts July 25) | calendarHands off the Trayvon 2! Courtroom Solidarity | audiophotoTowards (A) Communal Cypher Benefit for the Trayvon 2 — June 13: audio & photos | Support the Trayvon 2! | ‘Trayvon 2’ score partial victory | calendarB.R.L.P. KKKourt Watch Solidarity with the Trayvon 2

Previous Related Indybay Features: Trayvon Martin Solidarity Demos Sweep Bay Area (2013) | Trayvon Martin Murder Sparks Anger Across the Country (2012)
Witnesses Report Excessive Use of Force by Santa Cruz Police Witnesses to the recent tasing and arrest of a man in Santa Cruz describe the incident differently from the account communicated by police through the reporting of the Santa Cruz Sentinel. Individuals on the scene report excessive force was used when officers with the SCPD arrested Oliver Howard near the Court House on Water Street on the afternoon of October 13. They say officers struck Howard with a baton, tased his bare body, piled on top of him, wrenched and twisted his limbs, and grinded his face and body into the ground, all unnecessarily.

Debra Ellis was driving on Water Street that afternoon on her way to a medical appointment when she observed what she called an "aggressive police officer" pursuing a man near the Court House who was backing up with his hands raised above his head. She immediately exited her car because she wanted to be a witness to what she thought could be an "escalation of violence" by the police officer. The officer's body language and facial expressions were "tense and angry," Ellis recalled. "I did not feel the man he was pursuing was dangerous or a threat to the officer or me."

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Standing Strong Against the Death Penalty At a rally in Palo Alto on October 5th, speakers Mary Kay Raftery and Chris Walker said that there is no such thing as the "closure" that death penalty advocates promote. Mary Kay's son was murdered; Chris spoke of his experience as an innocent man in Pelican Bay prison. Long time Amnesty International member Terry McCaffrey said it is clear that support for the death penalty is in decline, but "we must not let up on our struggle to put an end to capital punishment."

Wrongful conviction is one of the most troubling aspects of the criminal justice system and when execution is an option, there will always be a risk that the state may kill an innocent person. Former East Palo Alto resident Rick Walker was found guilty of murder by a jury even though Santa Clara County prosecutors had no physical evidence tying him to the crime. He told how he spent 12 1/2 years in prison for a criminal act he did not commit.

Also speaking was Fr. River Sims of the Society of Franciscan Workers. He helps street kids in San Francisco; he is a lone protester standing against the death penalty every week at the the Earl Warren Building located at 350 McAllister Street in San Francisco. The Earl Warren Building is the headquarters of the Supreme Court of California. He invited others to join him and stand strong against the death penalty.

photoPhotos
Native Americans Ejected from SF Giants Game File Police Brutality Claims April Negrette and Kimball Bighorse have filed tort claims against the City and County of San Francisco. The claims are the first step in suing the City and County for police brutality that occurred when the Giants called in SFPD to eject Negrette and Bighorse from its June 23, 2014, “Native American Heritage Night” event and game. SFPD officers threw Ms. Negrette to the ground by her hair, violently twisted her arms and kept her in an excruciating pain compliance hold for an extended period of time. When Mr. Bighorse video-recorded this with his smart phone, SFPD officers also subjected him to excessive force and an invasive search, accused both of being drunk (neither had had any alcohol), and detained them until the end of the game.

Ms. Negrette and Mr. Bighorse, who did not know each other before that night, had peacefully confronted a group of inebriated men who were inappropriately and disrespectfully wearing a plastic counterfeit Native American-themed headdress, explaining that what they were doing was offensive and wrong. The group gave the offending headdress to Ms. Negrette. The Giants then ordered the San Francisco Police to eject Negrette, who is Shoshone and Paiute, and Bighorse, who is Cayuga, Navajo, and Seneca – but not the drunken men, most of whom were white – from the stadium. The police then returned the headdress to the group, who returned to wearing the imitation headdress and enjoying the rest of the game undisturbed.

videopdfRead More with Video
Frank Alvarado Sr. Speaks Out Against Salinas Police, Declares There Will Be Justice Following months of pressure by family members and the media, the Salinas Police Department announced that Brian Johnson and Scott Sutton were the officers that shot and killed Frank Alvarado on July 10. They were named in a press release that also listed the officers involved in the killing of three other Latino residents in East Salinas in 2014. Frank Alvarado Sr., Frank's father, and sister Angelica Garza, spoke out at a press conference held at City Hall on October 1, stating that justice would be served, if not in Salinas, then at the Supreme Court. Alvarado Sr. asserted, "If they don't do it right here, it can go to the Supreme Court, and believe it or not, justice is going to get done."

Activist Margaret Serna Bonetti was satisfied the Salinas Police Department decided to finally release the names, but said the delay was never justifiable.

audioimc_photo.gifRead More with Photos and Audio

See Also: Salinas Police Chief to Speak on “Police Legitimacy in Communities of Color” || pdfSalinas Police Refuse to Release Names of Police Officers Who Killed Frank Alvarado || pdfSPD Refuses to Identify Cops Who Killed Carlos Mejia, Osman Hernandez, and Angel Ruiz

Previous Coverage: Protesters Confront Salinas Police Chief at Bookstore Appearance in Santa Cruz || Demonstration in Salinas turns into Copwatch-in-Action || Rally in Salinas Demands Justice for Frank Alvarado, Killed by Salinas Police || Police Officers Kill Fourth Person in East Salinas: Frank Alvarado || Families, Residents and Statewide Supporters Fight for Justice in Salinas || Salinas Police Kill Three People in Last Three Months
Salinas Police Chief to Speak on “Police Legitimacy in Communities of Color” On October 9th, Salinas Police Chief Kelly McMillin is scheduled to speak on a panel titled “Police Legitimacy in Communities of Color” presented by the Center for Conflict Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies. Under Chief McMillin’s command, four unarmed Salinas community members — all Latino men — were shot and killed by officers in a span of four months. Between March and July of 2014, Salinas police officers shot and murdered Angel Ruiz, Carlos Mejia, Osman Hernandez, and Frank Alvarado.

Sin Barras, a community-based group out of Santa Cruz that works to eradicate the prison industrial-complex, authored a letter to the hosts of the event requesting that they ask Chief McMillin to step down as a participant.

In the letter, Sin Barras writes, "We believe it is unethical and disrespectful to give Chief McMillin such a privileged voice in a space that is uncritical of his department’s policies and the violence he has continually justified. None of the community activists, family and friends of the murdered men were invited to present on the panel and likely view the space as hostile — given that they would have had to sit across from the person ultimately responsible for these deaths."

imc_pdf.gifFull Letter | See Also: audioimc_photo.gifFrank Alvarado Sr. Speaks Out Against Salinas Police | imc_calendar.gifOctober 22 in Salinas: National Day of Protest Against Police Brutality

Previous Coverage: Protesters Confront Salinas Police Chief at Bookstore Appearance in Santa Cruz || Rally in Salinas Demands Justice for Frank Alvarado, Killed by Salinas Police || Police Officers Kill Fourth Person in East Salinas: Frank Alvarado || Families, Residents and Statewide Supporters Fight for Justice in Salinas || Salinas Police Kill Three People in Last Three Months
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Oakland Stands Up for Mike Brown, November 24 photos WeCopwatch
Wednesday Nov 26th 7:10 PM
Ferguson "Day After" Gathering in Santa Cruz Alex Darocy
Wednesday Nov 26th 7:02 PM
SF Black Friday March for Michael Brown & Alex Nieto (3 comments)
Wednesday Nov 26th 1:07 PM
Love 4 Ferguson/Fuck the Police on RCA squat in Oakland, 11/26/14: photos Dave Id (1 comment)
Wednesday Nov 26th 12:33 PM
Pics from protest over Racist Cops in SF D. Boyer
Wednesday Nov 26th 8:16 AM
SF Takes to the Streets To Protest Racist Murders Michael Steinberg (1 comment)
Wednesday Nov 26th 12:19 AM
Confront Local Bigotry in Santa Cruz With Names, Dates, and Actions Robert Norse (1 comment)
Tuesday Nov 25th 2:50 PM
Protest: Another killer cop walks free! Justice for Mike Brown! ANSWER Coalition
Tuesday Nov 25th 11:02 AM
Stay-Away Stupidity Not on Tuesday's 11-25 Council Agenda Robert Norse (2 comments)
Monday Nov 24th 12:49 PM
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Saturday Nov 15th 1:51 PM
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Friday Nov 7th 3:38 PM
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Wednesday Nov 5th 2:32 PM
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