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Police State & Prisons News

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Mon Jan 16 2017 (Updated 01/18/17)
Reclaiming King's Legacy in the Age of Trump
For the third year in a row, actions will be held across the Bay Area to “Reclaim King’s Radical Legacy." In previous years, protests and rallies culminated with a large march in Oakland on Martin Luther King Day. This year, with Trump set to be inaugurated as the President of the United States on the Friday after MLK Day, protests will be held over five days, from MLK Day on January 16 through to the inauguration of Donald Trump on January 20. A diverse coalition will engage in 120 hours of direct action, coalition building, and campaign launching against white supremacy.
A recent US Supreme Court decision, “Williams vs. Pennsylvania,” could open the door for Mumia Abu-Jamal’s freedom. The decision ruled that a prosecutor cannot later sit as judge over the same defendant’s appeal. This is exactly what happened in Mumia’s case. On December 8, marking the 35th anniversary of imprisonment for American political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal and to protest the refusal by prison authorities to provide necessary medication, a coalition of supporters in Philadelphia, Toronto, Wellington, and Oakland demonstrated.
A lawsuit filed on December 13 by civil rights groups charges the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) with violating the constitutional rights of homeless people by confiscating and destroying their property in ongoing sweeps. Plaintiffs have lost cherished and necessary items, including family heirlooms, photographs of loved ones, tents, sleeping bags, warm weather clothing, tools, food, camp stoves, bicycles, and personal documents. “Caltrans has been a major obstacle to getting my life together," said plaintiff James Leone. "Twice in six years, I’ve been left with only the clothes on my back. Twice I’ve lost everything I own in the world.”
Chanti Ollin, a well-known autonomous cultural center in the gentrified financial district of Mexico City, was violently evicted on November 22. Eight hundred riot police, two helicopters, and an armored car executed the operation, illegally breaking into the building and detaining 26 individuals without so much as a judicial order. This eviction takes place against the backdrop of Mexico City's new constitution, which seeks to privatize land and resources, and suppress any political or cultural activity that disrupts this profit-making program.
Just over a year ago, Oakland police shot and killed Richard Perkins Jr. at the 24-7 Gas and Food on Bancroft and 90th Avenues. Richard was thirty-nine years old, the father of two children. His only crime appears to be having crossed paths with Oakland police when they were agitated over a large East Oakland sideshow earlier in the day on November 15, 2015, near which an OPD patrol vehicle was smashed by a crowd. On Saturday, November 12, family members and community gathered to memorialize Richard Perkins Jr. at Carter Park, blocks from where he was gunned down by Oakland police.
Santa Cruz police initiated a raid at City Hall on November 23 at 3:30 am, shortly after it stopped raining that evening, to clear from the area approximately two dozen individuals who had been sleeping and sheltering themselves from the weather under the eaves of the buildings in the complex. Officers issued citations to individuals, and made one arrest. Many of those sleeping at City Hall were participating in the weekly Freedom Sleepers sleep protest, while others were simply sheltering themselves from the wet weather temporarily with the group.
Within hours of the announcement that Trump would be the next president of the United States, protests erupted in Oakland and cities across the country. The first wave of demonstrations in Oakland occurred daily for nearly a week. During that time, Oakland police reverted to historical bad practices in their attempts to quell the protests. The San Francisco chapter of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) held a press conference on November 21 to publicly address the dangerous actions and physical injuries caused by OPD during the demonstrations.
Sun Nov 27 2016 (Updated 12/01/16)
Standing Rock Solidarity in Northern California
The Standing Rock Sioux Nation called for indigenous nations and others to stand in solidarity as they fight to prevent continued construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline in their ancestral lands, especially near the Missouri River. Since federal agencies blocked construction under the Missouri River in early September, police have greatly increased the violence unleashed against the Water Protectors. Hundreds of demonstrators have been arrested and injured by police weaponry. Now, federal authorities are threatening to close the NoDAPL camp by December 5, but protesters promise continued resistance.
Luke Smith, a 15-year-old Aptos High School sophomore, was shot and killed by deputies with the Santa Cruz Sheriff's Office on November 19. Students identified Luke as the victim at a gathering that took place outside of the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office on the afternoon of the killing. The report quotes a friend of Luke, who stated at the gathering, "He was active. He was a skate aficionado. He was brilliant. Just tragic." Many of the friends and loved ones who have donated to Luke's fund included personal messages online.
A timeline mapping Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) police violence and militarization was collectively generated as part of a larger ongoing convivial research effort to expose low intensity war across the Bay Area and state. The timeline was produced through a collaboration between the Center for Convivial Research and Autonomy (CCRA) and Carville Annex Press as part of the struggle for Justice for James "Nate" Greer. The timeline is a tool that remembers, counts, mourns and honors our dead. It is a collaborative effort of documentation over time that makes visible the many resistances that have refused erasure.
Take Back Santa Cruz (TBSC) is targeting community members again on social media, which is being aided by the false identification of a "suspect" by Officer Wes Hansen of the Santa Cruz Police. On November 16, TBSC published a photo of two "suspects" of a crime on their public Facebook page. The post has been shared over 300 times. In the comments section on the TBSC post, a witch-hunt style attack on the men ensues, containing the false accusation from SCPD Officer Wes Hansen.
According to the Mountain View High School Oracle newspaper, MVHS principal David Grissom and other school administrators made the decision to put history teacher Frank Navarro on administrative leave. The leave was prompted by Navarro's alleged comments in class that made connections between Donald Trump and Adolf Hitler. "Whether or not he said this, it is dangerous and disgusting that the administration has decided to punish him for drawing parallels between two similarly dangerous moments in history," wrote MVHS alumnus Annie Ashmore in a petition to the principal.
UPDATE: ...And a new four-year nightmare is about to begin. Donald Trump will be the next President of the United States. For coverage of the first anti-Trump protests across Northern California, see We've Got a Bigger Problem Now.

Considering the campaign for president currently lasts nearly two years, made worse by the two major political parties selecting nominees with the highest unfavorable ratings ever for presidential candidates, most of the country is ready for the election to be over already. While Indybay has not received reports on everything and everyone up for a vote in every Northern California district on Tuesday, November 8, those who've chosen to publish their reports and recommendations have covered a variety of the issues at stake. See what they have to say.
At 5:00am on November 4, the Berkeley Police Department violently raided an encampment of people living in tents at the corner of Fairview and Adeline Streets. The encampment served as a safe, clean and drug-free place for those seeking shelter from the rain and cold. Four people were arrested, including District 2 City Council candidate Nanci Armstrong-Temple. In response, a "Housing Not Handcuffs Sunrise Vigil" is scheduled for 6-10am on November 7 at Berkeley City Hall. In Oakland, from 8am-4pm the same day, a call has gone out to pack the Wiley Manuel courtroom in solidarity with arrestees.
Oakland police sergeant James "Mike" Gantt has come forward with allegations of the Oakland police department and city leaders retaliating against him for his investigation as to whether fellow officer Brendan O'Brien murdered his wife, Irma Huerta-Lopez, on June 16, 2014. With a long record as a homicide inspector for OPD, Gantt unequivocally states that he believes O'Brien did indeed murder his wife and OPD covered it up, retaliating against him for attempting to do an honest examination of the evidence.
Thu Nov 3 2016 (Updated 11/10/16)
Community Responds to SCPD Killing of Sean Smith-Arlt
Following the killing of Sean Smith-Arlt by officers with the Santa Cruz Police Department on October 16, residents are organizing in the community with the intention of preventing another killing like his. On October 22, a candle light vigil for Sean was organized at the Town Clock, which coincided with the 21st annual National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality. On October 25 a large group of community members attended the City Council meeting to voice their concerns during oral communications, and on November 1 a community forum hosted by the newly formed Social Justice Alliance was held.
iCal feed From the Calendar:
Pause the Calls: Black Lives Matter Ending Mass Incarceration Saturday Jan 14th 2:51 PM
Demand Resignation of DA Mark Peterson Gene Ruyle (1 comment) Friday Jan 13th 5:20 PM
Freedom SleepOut #79 Swims Toward Justice Tuesday Night Keith McHenry (story by Norse) Tuesday Jan 10th 12:43 AM
GITMO 15th Anniversary Vigil & Procession Martha Hubert Monday Jan 9th 9:27 AM
SCPD Must Revise Immigration Determination Policy Steve Pleich (1 comment) Sunday Jan 8th 11:44 PM
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Value Human Life Bill K. Harley Monday Jan 16th 10:15 PM
Trump and the Consequences: Democracy at a Crossroads Albrecht von Luecke Sunday Jan 15th 9:12 AM
Petition for Ethel Rosenberg; Oppose Trump’s Lawyer, Roy Cohn Long Live Julius & Ethel Rosenberg Thursday Dec 29th 6:11 PM
Mumia Rally at Oscar Grant Plaza DJ Mouse Tuesday Dec 20th 12:54 PM
Women's Safety on Sonoma State University's campus Samantha Bosnich Tuesday Nov 29th 7:55 PM
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