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On January 13, hundreds of residents attempted to attend the Santa Cruz City Council meeting to oppose the council's December decision which approved a police department request to accept Homeland Security grants totaling more than $250,000 earmarked for the purchase of an armored attack vehicle. When residents first found out in early December about the proposed purchase, police described it as an "emergency response and rescue vehicle" in a report sent to city council members prepared by Deputy Chief of Police Steve Clark and approved by Chief of Police Kevin Vogel. The public later found out that police intended to purchase a Lenco "BearCat." BearCat is an acronym, standing for Ballistic Engineered Armored Response Counter Attack Truck.
Shortly after the December 9 BearCat approval, a group of activists met with Mayor Lane to discuss the issue, and they were invited to give a short presentation on January 13, which was delivered by Abbi Samuels of Santa Cruz Food Not Bombs. She spoke on behalf of a coalition of eight individuals which included members of the local chapters of the ACLU, WILPF, People's Democratic Club, Code Pink, and Food Not Bombs, as well as a first responder and a civil rights activist. The purpose of the presentation, Samuels said, was to give reasons why the BearCat order should be rescinded, as well as to introduce a proposal to change the process by which the City of Santa Cruz acquires grants.
Community members continue to circulate a petition
calling for the city council to "Give Back the BearCat," and another protest at City Hall is planned for Tuesday, January 27
Read More with Photos | See Also: Escalated Government Attacks on Homeless, Journalism, & Public Criticism: Santa Cruz & SJ
|| Public Records Released by the SPCD on the Bearcat
Previous Coverage: Protesters Shut Down City Council Meeting after Purchase of Armored Vehicle Approved
Santa Cruz County is drafting new regulations for medicinal cannabis patients and providers. These new rules have the potential to turn large numbers of patients and providers into criminals and drastically roll back decades of progress won by cannabis activists. In letters to the Board of Supervisors, medicinal cannabis patients and cultivators are expressing their desire for "more effective, more sensible, and more just solutions" regarding a policy on medicinal cannabis cultivation and distribution.
In Oakland, hundreds of people from more than two dozen groupings are organizing in response to the Anti Police-Terror Project’s call to come together for ninety-six hours of direct action over the Martin Luther King Day weekend. The first action will be a protest inside Montgomery BART station in San Francisco at 7am on Friday. The weekend’s events culminate in a Jobs and Economy March for the People on Monday, January 19. Other groups are organizing more MLK-related events in Oakland, Berkeley, Richmond, San Francisco, Santa Rosa, Palo Alto, Santa Cruz, and throughout Northern California.
On January 8, Eric McDavid was ordered released from prison. It has been almost 9 years exactly since he was arrested in Auburn, CA, on January 13, 2006. Eric’s release came about because of the habeas petition that he and his legal team filed in May 2012. Because the government withheld important documents from the defense at trial, Eric’s original judgment and sentencing were vacated and he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge that carried a five year maximum sentence.
In an unprecedented civil disobedience action on December 15, a multi-racial group of activists calling for an end to the "war on black people" shut down Oakland police headquarters. The doors of the building were physically locked down preventing police egress to or from the building and a "Black Lives Matter" flag was hung from a flagpole for hours, while others used lockboxes to block traffic on Broadway. The plan was to hold OPD headquarters for 4 hours and 28 minutes, the time Mike Brown's body was allowed to lay in the street after he was shot down by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. Protest signs and banners demanded justice for Mike Brown, Eric Garner, Alex Nieto, and others murdered by police locally and nationwide. As word of the action spread, around 200 supporters gathered, chanted, and blocked side streets in solidarity. Twenty-five protesters were arrested.
On December, 15, Spain passed the "ley de mordaza", a gag law that makes it a crime to insult a cop, film a cop, or assemble in large groups. On December 16, seven anarchists were arrested on charges relating to terrorism. On December 22, a group of anarchists stormed the Spanish consulate in San Francisco. After throwing leaflets into the consulate, tipping over the Spanish flag, and yelling curses, the group left without incident.
On December 13, community members in Santa Cruz joined people across the country for a national day of protest against police violence. The focus of the protests have primarily been on the police killings of three black individuals, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and Tamir Rice, which all came to national attention in 2014.
After a rally at the Town Clock, demonstrators marched down Pacific Avenue to the corner of Cooper Street where a die-in was held for 4 1/2 minutes, which represented the 4 1/2 hours that Michael Brown's body lay dead in the street after he was killed by Ferguson, MO police officer Darren Wilson in August. As people laid down on Pacific Avenue, a large crowd formed, speakers were heard, and traffic was stopped. Demonstrators also stopped traffic during a short rally at the corner of Pacific and Soquel Avenue, and then again on Ocean Street in front of the Resource Center for Nonviolence (RCNV), which was the ultimate destination of the march.
Rallies for justice for Michael Brown, and in solidarity with the people of Ferguson, Mo., were held in Santa Cruz in August after Brown's killing, as well as on November 24 and 25, following the Missouri Grand Jury's decision not to recommend the indictment of officer Wilson.
Read More with Photos | See Also: Santa Cruz Takes it to the Streets for Mike Brown
| Ferguson "Day After" Gathering in Santa Cruz
Previous Coverage: Protests in Support of Justice for Michael Brown Erupt All Over the World
On the heels of nearly two weeks of protests in the East Bay and San Francisco spurred by the Ferguson grand jury decision, demonstrations escalated when the Eric Garner grand jury decision was announced on December 3 in New York City. Nightly since December 6, hundreds have taken to the streets of Berkeley to protest for justice, shutting down highways along the way, with marches reaching through Oakland and Emeryville as well. California Highway Patrol and Berkeley police have responded aggressively, with hundreds of demonstrators arrested, beaten, and/or injured.
The San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild (NLGSF) notes that resources for law enforcement have greatly increased over the past few decades, while accountability and transparency have decreased. The group says justice has been sorely lacking for a string of killings and assaults by police in the Bay Area and beyond, and the impact has been greatest in the black community and other communities of color.
"There is genuine anger about systemic racism and a crisis of accountability among law enforcement," said NLGSF Executive Director Carlos Villarreal. "District Attorneys should not waste resources prosecuting protesters while police who kill are left to roam our streets."
NLG Supports Ongoing Racial Justice Protests, Decries Lack of Police Accountability |
Berkeley: How We Shut Down Peter Thiel And Ended Up With Guns In Our Faces |
Social Unrest in the SF Bay Area |
More Photos from the Ongoing Anti Police Movement 12.09.14 |
Photos from the Anti Police March 12/8/14 |
An open letter to the City Council of Berkeley in response to Councilmember Linda Maio |
SPJ NorCal Responds to Reports of Police Force Used on Journalists in Berkeley |
Group Raising Funds to Repair Windows of Small Businesses in East Bay |
Photos from Anti Cop march in Berkeley 12.7.14 |
Arrest And Court Support Updates From Ferguson Protests In The Bay Area! |
Saturday night in Berkeley
Previous Coverage: Bay Area Shuts It Down for Mike Brown After No Indictment for Darren Wilson
On December 9, the Santa Cruz City Council voted 6-1 to approve the purchase of a $250,000 armored emergency response and "rescue" vehicle. The proposed purchase was placed on the council's consent agenda and was announced with very little notice, but the public quickly mobilized to protest. In response to the city council’s vote, members of the public broke out into chants of, "Shame! Shame! Shame!" and Mayor Lynn Robinson then had the chambers cleared by the police.
Robert Norse writes:
"Every single speaker opposed the acquisition of a new armored police vehicle at the afternoon City Council meeting. When two speakers turned their backs on the Council, outgoing Mayor Robinson made arrest threats, further heightening the tension in the room. At one point the Council left the room, leaving the community to organize its own meeting. They shortly returned, quickly voted in the police vehicle, without giving clear answers to questions about the deadline requirement, additional costs, and the potential for further militarizing the police force. Speakers began shouting "shame" from the floor. Police "escorted" one out; others raised the cry; police then cleared the chambers and the Council met (illegally) behind locked doors and drawn shades."
Read More | Protest Shuts Down City Council, Urban Assault Vehicle Approved, Anti-Homeless Law Delayed | Stay Away Stupidity, Oppose Police Violence & Chomp Coronation Treats! | Santa Cruz Police to Procure $250K 'Rescue Vehicle'
As expected, the grand jury tasked with determining if there was enough evidence for charging Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for the murder of Mike Brown determined that there wasn’t probable cause. That night, on November 24, people in Ferguson and across the country began to rise up for Mike Brown and shut down freeways, city streets, and more. Protests continued throughout the week, culminating on the annual Black Friday shopping day and continuing into the weekend.
In Ferguson on the first night after the verdict was announced, two police cars were burned as well as a number of local businesses. Major protests demanding justice and shutting down interstate freeways were held that night and throughout the week in Los Angeles, Portland, Minneapolis, Boston, New York, Atlanta, Miami, and numerous other cities across the U.S.
On the first night, over 1000 people marched from Oscar Grant plaza at 14th & Broadway. The I-580 freeway was shut down for over two hours and rowdy protests continued downtown late into the night, with fires set in the streets and several businesses broken into. Street protests in Oakland continued over the next several days, with Oakland police headquarters targeted several times, with one march making its way to the edge of Berkeley and Emeryville. Over 150 people have been arrested. On Black Friday, activists locked themselves to each other and a BART train, effectively blocking all BART trains from transporting consumers to San Francisco. Fourteen people were arrested and released later in the day. Dec 5: March and Noise Demo to Support the Revolt! FTP!
Dec 1: Court Support & Picket for Brave Fighters Who Shut Down BART and Freeways
Blackout Collective Shuts Down Black Friday BART Trains to San Francisco
Black Lives Matter! BART Shut Down On Black Friday To Protest Brown Murder & Gentrification
Next Day After Ferguson Demonstratration!
Oakland stands in solidarity with Ferguson
Oakland Stands Up for Mike Brown
Love 4 Ferguson/Fuck the Police on RCA squat in Oakland
Oakland Shuts It Down for Mike Brown After No Indictment for Darren Wilson
Fuck The Police: Oakland Demonstration After Darren Wilson Verdict
Protests happened throughout the week, with the first in the Mission District on November 24 and the largest on November 28, Black Friday, disrupting downtown shopping areas such as Westfield Centre, Union Square, and multiple stores as the march passed. Nearly 70 people were arrested. Dec 6: SF Town Hall Meeting-From Ferguson to San Francisco: The "Militarization of the Police”
Downtown SF Largely Shut Down on Black Friday Night
Black Friday march in SF shuts down Union Square
Traffic barricade to the face
SF Black Friday March for Michael Brown & Alex Nieto
Pics from protest over Racist Cops in SF
SF Takes to the Streets To Protest Racist Murders
Protest: Another killer cop walks free! Justice for Mike Brown!
On November 25, a wide variety of community members in Santa Cruz came together at the Town Clock and marched to the Santa Cruz Police Department.
Ferguson "Day After" Gathering in Santa Cruz
On November 30, a demonstration shut down traffic in and around "Christmas in the Park" in the downtown area.
From Palestine to Ferguson
Dec 6: From Ferguson To Ayotzinapa: March Against State Violence
Camover Attack in West Oakland
Ferguson Photos By Jessie S.with Interview
Details Murky in Officer Involved Shooting in Seaside
Mike Brown's Murder Subject of This Week's PEACE Vigil
Previous Related Indybay Features:
Protests in Support of Justice for Michael Brown Erupt All Over the World |
Rebellion in Ferguson Over Murder of Michael Brown
5PM Saturday Jan 31