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WeCopwatch is reporting for Indybay from Ferguson, Missouri, where on August 9 a Ferguson police officer shot down and murdered 18-year-old local resident Michael Brown in broad daylight in front of numerous witnesses. After days of protests and violent racist attacks by police against demonstrators, the focus has shifted to the police cover-up of the murder. After previously refusing to release the incident report on the shooting and the name of the shooting officer, Ferguson police have finally released his name, Darren Williams, but instead of releasing their report on the shooting, they ramped up a smear campaign against Mike Brown and released a different police report that claims Mike Brown shoplifted from a local convenience store shortly before he was killed. Police also have claimed that Mike Brown reached into Darren Williams’ patrol car and tried to grab the officers’s gun. Multiple witnesses, however, contradict this police story.
At least three non-police witnesses have come forward to tell virtually the same version of events, that officer Darren Williams pulled up to and harassed Mike Brown as he walked in the street, reaching out of the patrol car window to grab Mike Brown and then shooting Mike Brown once from within the car. As Mike Brown and a friend ran away, Darren Williams jumped out of his car and proceeded to shoot Mike Brown in the back. When Mike Brown turned around to face the officer with his hands in the air, Darren Williams continued to shoot repeatedly until Mike Brown lay dying in the street. No medical services were rendered to Mike Brown until at least thirty minutes after the shooting, by which time it was too late to save him, and police let his body lay in the street for hours.
In a town that is 67% African American, and constantly the subject of racist police stops and citations by a Ferguson police department made of up 53 officers, of whom only three are African American, the community is outraged by the murder.
Updates from Ferguson posted Daily:
Photos From Ferguson (Aug 18) |
NLG Strongly Objects to Oppressive and Discriminatory Law Enforcement Tactics in Ferguson |
Amnesty International USA Calls for Investigation of Police Tactics in Ferguson |
Police Gas Residents of Ferguson For Over an Hour (Aug 17) |
Ferguson: State Of Emergency! Demonstrators Shot and Gassed! (Aug 16) |
Photos From Ferguson (Aug 16) |
Ferguson: New Police Practices are Window Dressing To a Systemic Failure (Aug 15) |
Images From Ferguson (Aug 15) |
Ferguson Police's PR Stunt Poisons Independent and Impartial Investigation |
WeCopwatch live reports from Ferguson, Missouri (Aug 15) |
Amnesty International Sends Human Rights Delegation to Ferguson, Missouri |
Police in Ferguson to the Media: "We Don't Want You Here" |
Anonymous Operation Ferguson
At its board meeting on June 30, ACLU Santa Cruz County adopted a statement of principle in support of a proposed moratorium on camping ban laws and ordinances within the City and County of Santa Cruz. Proponents argued that criminalizing homelessness, and particularly the essential right to sleep, is a failed policy. It is the intention of the Board that the statement be read publicly before both the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors and the Santa Cruz City Council at their next meetings.
The Santa Cruz Police Department announced they will be partnering with 7-Eleven stores to launch "Operation Chill," which is code for a program that attempts to affect the behavior of kids, and change their perception of the police department, by bribing them with free slurpees.
SCPD issued a press release announcing Operation Chill on July 28: "Courtesy of 7–Eleven, officers are hitting the streets with “Operation Chill” coupons. When officers observe kids exhibiting good behavior, they can issue an “Operation Chill” coupon. The coupons are good for a FREE small Slurpee® drink at any one of the four 7–Eleven Stores in the City of Santa Cruz. "
According to police, since its inception in 1995, police departments have issued more than 12.5 million coupons,or “tickets” to kids in communities throughout the country. Jeff Hetherington, the local Asset Protection Manager for 7–Eleven commented, “This program is a big hit with both law enforcement agencies and kids. Police officers enjoy having a positive reason to approach kids and thank them for being good citizens, and the kids love the interaction, and of course, the Slurpee”Police say the program will last for as long as the coupons do.
Seconds after an Oakland police officer shattered Scott Olsen’s skull with a lead-filled munition on October 25, 2011, officer Robert Roche threw an explosive teargas grenade at persons who were attempting to come to Olsen’s aid as he lay critically injured on the ground in clear view of the police. Roche was subsequently fired, but on July 30, 2014, an arbitrator overturned the termination and reinstated him with full back pay. Roche officially returned to work at OPD on Monday, August 4.
Robert Roche is known as a three-time killer. In Oakland, on duty, Roche has killed Ronald Brazier, Jose Buenrostro, and Jeremiah Dye. In TV news footage from October 25, 2011, Roche’s helmet number is visible, and there is no dispute that he threw the CS Blast towards Scott Olsen, who was unconscious and bleeding from the head, and those who had rushed to his aid. Roche's actions as an Oakland police officer have cost the Oakland taxpayers almost $6 million in civil settlements to date.
The arbitrator’s decision is not unexpected. In twelve out of the last fifteen personnel arbitrations in which OPD officers challenged their terminations, the officers were successful in getting their jobs back. And the lack of accountability at OPD goes beyond rank and file officers. The arbitrator’s decision was apparently based in part on the fact that Roche had been ordered to deploy gas by then-Captain Paul Figueroa. At the same time, Figueroa authorized the use of “beanbag” impact munitions, on persons who might attempt to throw the teargas devices back at the police. It was inevitable that Scott Olsen and others would be seriously injured or killed, yet Figueroa was not disciplined and has since been promoted to Assistant Chief.
Read More |
Scott Olsen speaks out against the reinstatement of Robert Roche
Previous Related Indybay Features:
Petition Demands OPD Be Prohibited from Using "Less Lethal" Weapons at Protests |
$4.5 Million Settlement Reached In Scott Olsen’s Lawsuit for “Less Lethal” Shooting by OPD |
Oakland Occupiers Defiant After Police Raid, Mass Arrests, and Tear Gas/Projectile Attacks
In response to the decision from Sonoma County district attorney Jill Ravitch's decision
not to prosecute Erick Gelhaus, the Sheriff's Deputy that killed 13-year-old Andy Lopez, protesters assembled in Santa Rosa on July 12 and marched through the downtown streets. The group stopped in intersections to trace themselves in chalk as a reminder that an innocent boy was killed. After the official march was declared to be over, many continued to march in an act of civil disobedience towards Highway 101, where they blocked an off-ramp and all three northbound lanes of traffic, causing a response from riot police.
Shooter of Andy Lopez Not Being Prosecuted |
See Also: Public Letter to DA Ravitch
On July 8, community members in Santa Cruz and around the state gathered
to commemorate the one year anniversary of the California Hunger Strike. Sin Barras writes:
"July 8, 2013 is a day we remember to never forget the torture the state of California willingly inflicts on human lives. On that day, 30,000 prisoners followed the lead of their fellow prisoners locked in solitary confinement and refused to eat. By one account, close to 100 people went without eating for 59 days before agreeing to eat in exchange for serious concessions from the California Department of Corrections."
"In Santa Cruz, at least 37 prisoners joined the statewide strike to protest the inhumane conditions they are forced to live in. At least 5 people have died in the local jail since August, and according to the recently released Grand Jury report, these deaths were preventable. We join this day of action to amplify the voices of those inside and continue organizing & educating with our community to end the violence of imprisonment".
"While certain changes have been made, we must carry forward the fight of the courageous hunger strikers until long-term solitary confinement is abolished in Santa Cruz and California."
Read More with Photos | Sin Barras
Previous Coverage: Supporting California and Santa Cruz Prison Hunger Strikers at 'Hunger for Justice'
Rallies and Demos Begin in Support of 2013 California Hunger Strikers
In response to the killing of Frank Alvarado, the Direct Action Monterey Network called for a rally on July 12 at the corner of South Sanborn Rd. and Fairview Ave. in East Salinas against police violence. Frank's sister Angélica Garza spoke, saying she wanted justice for "Frankie" and "he had a big heart." For the duration of the rally, Frank's niece held a sign that read "Stop Police Brutality. Justice For My Uncle!"
Frank's niece Natalie Mendoza also spoke at the rally, as did Courtney Hanson and Tash Nguyen of Sin Barras, a prison abolition group based in Santa Cruz, of which Frank was a member. "Frank was an extraordinary person with a big and loving heart," Sin Barras has stated. "His contagious spirit, candid perspective, resilience, and compassion for those who are struggling inspired community-building and understanding around him."
Natalie was calm, sad, well-spoken, and angry when she spoke. She righteously proclaimed, "It's not right. I've never had this much hate in my life for anything else. I'm sad, but I'm more angry than anything else because of how he was gunned down. There was no reason for how he was killed; no way to justify their actions. He wasn't even armed. We just need justice for him, and everybody else, all the other cases that have gone like this. There needs to be justice, and SPD needs to have a taste of their own medicine."
Read More with Photos and Video | Rally in Salinas Demands Justice for Frank Alvarado, Killed by Salinas Police | Sin Barras: In Memory of Frank Alvarado // En memoria de Frank Alvarado
Previous Coverage: Police Officers Kill Fourth Person in East Salinas: Frank Alvarado
|| Families, Residents and Statewide Supporters Fight for Justice in Salinas
On July 10 at around 5am, two officers with the Salinas Police Department shot and killed Frank Alvarado at a private home in Salinas. Frank was well known in Santa Cruz, where he recently spoke out against California prison expansion at a rally in May. His killing was the fourth use of lethal force since March 21 by officers with the SPD, and all of the killings have occurred in East Salinas neighborhoods.
At the May 14 rally in Santa Cruz, Frank spoke about prison reform. The rally was organized for community members to voice their opposition to the Governor's May revise budget, which called for an increase in spending for jail and prison expansion. Frank spoke strongly about the importance of budgeting state money for social programs instead of prison expansion, and he shared his personal experience of incarceration, describing his release from prison in July of 2013. He cautioned that building more prisons at the sacrifice of schools and parks would lead to devastating results for California. "You will have your hell if you build those prisons," he said.
Community members have gathered in the Salinas neighborhood where Frank was killed on July 10 and 11 to protest
his and the other three SPD killings, and a rally has been planned for Saturday, July 12 at 6pm at the intersection of Fairview Avenue and Sanborn Road in Salinas.
Saturday, July 12: Salinas Rally Against Police Violence -Demonstrasion Encontra La Violencia Policiaca
Read More with Video: Frank Alvarado, Fourth Person Killed by SPD, Spoke in Santa Cruz Against Prison Expansion | Salinas Police Silent After Fourth Officer Involved Killing
Previous Related Indybay Coverage: Fight Against Prison Expansion Continues at Statewide Actions Opposing Gov's Budget Revise
|| Salinas Police Kill Three People in Last Three Months
|| Families, Residents and Statewide Supporters Fight for Justice in Salinas
Direct Action Monterey Network has announced the group will be celebrating Bastille Day and launching the Monterey chapter of the Anarchist Black Cross. On Monday, July 14
a launch party will be held on Del Monte Beach in Monterey, and on Tuesday, July 15
a letter writing party will be held to support political prisoners in California's jail and prison systems.
Direct Action Monterey Network writes:
"Since the beginning of the Twentieth Century, the Anarchist Black Cross (ABC), has been on the frontline in supporting those imprisoned for struggling for freedom and liberty. Until recently, the history of the ABC movement has been lost to the pages of time. The present generation of ABC collectives were left rootless with little known information about this organization. Now, specific questions regarding our origin can now be put to rest. We have now begun to rediscover our roots."
"The [ABC] also works to build alliances with the communities and the movements the prisoners participated in prior to their incarceration. Through these alliances, we work toward increasing the awareness about various liberation movements and the political prisoners associated with the movements. It is through these coalitions that we continue to ensure that imprisoned comrades are not forgotten by their movements or our own."
Monthly letter writing session for political prisoners, with an emphasis on political prisoners in California's jails and prisons, will be held on the third Tuesday of each month at 8pm at Old Capitol Books in downtown Monterey.
Event Details | Direct Action Monterey Network
On June 28, Kink.com sponsored an official San Francisco Pride event called “Pride at the Armory." It was a prison-themed dance party that invited attendees to “get incarcerated.” Gay Shame and LAGAI – Queer Insurrection called for a march to disrupt and shut down Pride at the Armory. After the Kink protest, at least seven people were arrested, including a National Lawyers Guild Legal Observer at 16th and Mission streets. Several protesters were tackled, beaten, and bloodied by SFPD.
On the afternoon of June 24, a group of activists set up tents and banners in front of Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, CA. The protester’s demanded that Google engage in a conversation about what the company should be doing in the fight for Net Neutrality. The activists claim Google could be doing a lot more, and started the camp-out to apply pressure. Late in the night, ten activists, including a journalist who was livestreaming the event, were arrested for trespassing.
On June 10, activists rallied in front of Martin Luther King Jr. Library in San José to protest the unjust prosecution of 66-year-old Palestinian-American activist Rasmea Odeh. Last October, Homeland Security agents arrested Odeh after the Department of Justice charged her with “unlawful procurement of naturalization.” The Obama administration’s filing of these charges could result in her being stripped of her U.S. citizenship and deported.
An energetic life celebration and march through Santa Rosa was held on June 7 for Andy Lopez, who would have celebrated his 14th birthday earlier in the week if he had not been shot and killed by Sonoma County Sheriff's Deputy Erick Gelhaus on October 22. Young people were abundant at the birthday celebration. Some who appeared to be not much more than elementary school age could be seen helping organize the proceedings, with many guardians simply watching and playing more of a background role.
Andy's family and friends were joined by a wide range of local and statewide supporters. Their core support comes from the Justice Coalition for Andy Lopez and Andy's Youth. Andy's Youth is a grassroots community group comprised of young people from Santa Rosa and Sonoma County who have played a central role in organizing demonstrations. In the days after Andy's killing, the news swept across the schools, and justice for him became a crucial issue to the area's youth. "I want to thank you guys for setting the example for everyone else," a member of the Brown Berets said to Andy's Youth at a rally at Old Court House Square held at the end of the March.
During the march, one demonstrator carried a mannequin that displayed precisely where bullets entered Andy's body. Very little information about Andy's killing has been released by the authorities in Sonoma County, and the community continues to wait for District Attorney Jill Ravitch to announce whether there will be charges filed against Gelhaus. From an independent autopsy report, the family was able to find out how many times Andy was shot, and where the bullets entered his body. They entered Andy's body in the following locations: his chest, his left arm, his left wrist, his right wrist, his right buttock, his right lateral buttock, and his lower back.
Read More with Photos | Andy Lopez - Reflections on his 14th Birthday - a Birthday Deprived | Independent Autopsy of Andy Lopez's Body Reveals Instant Execution | Justice Coalition for Andy Lopez
Previous Coverage: Andy’s Youth Suspended from School Over Six-Month Anniversary Protest
| Community Demands "Jailhouse for Gelhaus"
A large and militant protest was held in Fresno on June 16 after a young man was shot 17 times by two Fresno Police officers on June 11. 100 people protesting the shooting held a rally, attempted to see mayor Ashley Swearengin, and then marched to police headquarters. It was a spirited event, which included several of the family members of the man who was shot 17 times. The protesters demanded changes at the Fresno Police Department (FPD) that would lead to fewer officer involved shootings (OIS).
In a letter sent to mayor Swearengin, and handed to City Manager Bruce Rudd, they wrote “We are requesting a meeting with your office to discuss the use of deadly force by Fresno Police officers. As you may know a non-English speaking farmworker who was intoxicated and holding a knife was shot several times by two officers on June 11, 2014. As you may also know, two days later on Friday June 13th, Fresno law enforcement officers managed to negotiate the surrender by a man with a gun. The second incident, which lasted 5 hours, indicates two things: 1) Negotiation with suspects works and 2) The June 11th incident as well as others could have been prevented.”
Security arrived and demanded everyone leave City Hall, and the protesters carried a coffin and signs to the Fresno County Jail, a couple of blocks away. After a short rally, the march headed to FPD headquarters where family members had the opportunity to share their feelings. While there, someone wrote chalk messages on the sidewalk and on a police memorial nearby, and subsequently two protesters were arrested, booked, and released.
Read More with Photos
After a court hearing on June 3, the Santa Cruz County District Attorney's office faces disqualification and the remaining four Santa Cruz Eleven defendants are left without a trial date. Judge Burdick is still in place presiding over the case after the DA's office attempt to recuse him, and the case continues to cost tax payers thousands as the defendants continue to fight their charges. Their attorneys have filed a motion to recuse the Santa Cruz District Attorney's office from the case based on bias stemming from DA Bob Lee's financial relationship to the "victim" of the case Wells Fargo.
Friends of the SC11 writes:
"The motion casts doubt as to whether or not it is fair for the DA's office to be hearing the case and delays the trial again as the motion is dealt with. It is likely that the DA's office will request a specific hearing challenging the validity of the claim as it would look pretty darn bad on mister Bob Lee's report card to have this claim on public record. Perhaps this move will motivate him to either get involved with the case and authorize a reasonable solution, or at the very least detach himself from the case and give prosecutor Greg Peinado the ability to move the case along."
Due to the lack of clarity as to who will be trying to the case in trial, a trial date was not set. A pre-trial hearing was scheduled for August 27
, where the motions will be heard. There are also earlier dates scheduled to address motions filed by individual attorneys. Besides the main recusal motion aforementioned there are numerous other motions on the table from the defense including a separate motion to recuse the DA's office for their poor handling of the case.
Read More | Support the Santa Cruz 11 | See Also: A Week Later The Sentinel Does Drive-By Coverage of the Santa Cruz Eleven
Previous Coverage: Parading through Town in Support of the Santa Cruz Eleven
On June 18, Tony Serrano stood before the Half Moon Bay City Council to demand justice for his sister, Yanira Serrano Garcia. Yanira was killed by San Mateo County Sheriff's deputy Menh Trieu on June 3 when she was having a health crisis outside of her home at the Moonridge housing complex. The Serrano family and their supporters are asking the Half Moon Bay City Council to support a number of resolutions, including one that calls for a transparent criminal investigation into the killing of the 18-year-old.
The family is also asking that June 3 be named "Yanira Serrano Garcia's Memorial Day" by official proclamation in Half Moon Bay, and that the council call for the establishment of a sub-committee to study the lack of social services devoted to Moonridge. Yanira's brother asked for those in the audience who support the resolutions to stand, and the majority of those in the public seating area quickly stood. "It is really overwhelming what is happening to the family," he said.
After the killing of Yanira there has been a number of vigils and demonstrations held in Half Moon Bay demanding justice. At the city council meeting, the Mayor of Half Moon Bay announced that on Thursday, June 26
there will be a community meeting at 6pm at the IDES Hall in Half Moon Bay to "further discuss the issues," he said.
June 26: Public Meeting to Discuss the Killing of Yanira Serrano Garcia
Read More with Video, Audio, and Photos | See Also: Family and Friends Bid Farewell to Yanira Serrano Garcia | Marching to the Sheriff's Station and City Hall for Justice for Yanira Serrano Garcia | Rosary and Vigil Held for Yanira Serrano-Garcia at Her Home in Half Moon Bay | San Mateo Sheriff Kills Special Needs Woman
Following the release in May of the Santa Cruz County Grand Jury report
on jail medical care and conditions, one juror reported he was “shocked” at the lax oversight and poor communication between jail staff and medical personnel that led to five deaths in the facility during the past 11 months. While the "normal" mortality rate is around 125 per 100,000 inmates, Santa Cruz County's rate was 10 times that number during that period.
Activists say they are alarmed that these deaths came as the county outsourced jail medical treatment to private Monterey-based California Forensic Medical Group, a decision that effectively placed medical care for jail inmates beyond local control or accountability.
Steve Pleich writes:
"In my view, these deaths are a tragic and unacceptable symptom of a disease. But the real disease is mass incarceration driven by the prison/industrial complex and fueled by institutional racism. Mainstream society seems comfortable with the policy of separating whole segments of our population from their liberty and in supporting a prison/industrial complex that is building new jail and prison cells at an unprecedented rate. So what questions do we need to ask to at least begin to understand and address the grave social issues that this current state of affairs represents?"
Read More | See Also: Santa Cruz Grand Jury Releases Reports on Jail Deaths and Juvenile Hall Meals
| Grand Jury Report Highlights Overcrowding at Santa Cruz Main Jail
Following the SPD killing of Carlos Mejia on May 20
, residents have struggled against the powers that be in Salinas. On May 25, local politicians and non-profit groups worked to quiet anti-police sentiment
at the large march and statewide mobilization against police brutality held in East Salinas. On May 27, the family of Mejia filed a wrongful death legal claim against the City of Salinas, and a May 31 counter-protest was held at a pro-police rally organized by retired SPD officers and law enforcement families. Additionally, public pressure led the SPD on May 28 to release the department's policy manual on the use of deadly force.
The killing of Carlos Mejia was the third police killing by the SPD to occur in a short time span: on May 9, Osman Hernandez was shot and killed outside of the Mi Pueblo market on Alisal and Sanborn, and on March 20, Angel Ruiz was shot and killed outside of a Wingstop restaurant. All of this has been set against the larger narrative of law enforcement misconduct in Monterey County, which has been characterized by the alleged targeting of Hispanic individuals by King City Police, as well as the killing under mysterious circumstances of a man in Big Sur by a Monterey Sheriff.
May 25: Anti-Police Signs Not Allowed at Salinas March Against Police Brutality
| Salinas Marches Against Police Brutality
| Peace Police and Counterinsurgency in Salinas
| Statewide Solidarity Grows With Salinas Community As Local Powers Attempt To Censor And Undermine The Peoples' Actions
| Police Brutality & Counter-Insurgency in Salinas
| Discussing Salinas and Oxnard on KDVS in Davis
| May 25th Salinas Rally/March Against Police Brutality
| Salinas on May 25 by Bruce Neuburger, Lettuce Wars
En Español: La policía de paz y contrainsurgencia en Salinas
May 27: Claim Filed Against City Seeks Admission Salinas Police Wrongfully Killed Carlos Mejia
May 31: Salinas P.D. Kills Three. Let's Have a Rally!
| Counter-Protesters Question Unconditional Support for SPD at Pro-Police Rally
See Also: SPD Releases Use of Force 'Policy Manual'
| Oakland Bannerdrop in Solidarity with Salinas
| 2014 Monterey County Law Enforcement Misconduct Timeline
| Salinas: "No Es Justo" by Lil Tony Mc (Song and Video)
| Salinas Police Procedures and Killings Challenged by Citizens of Salinas
| M.E.Ch.A de UCSC in Solidarity with the City of Salinas!
Previous Coverage: Salinas Police Kill Three People in Last Three Months
On May 20, officers with the Salinas Police Department shot and killed Carlos Mejia outside of a bakery at the corner of Del Monte and Sanborn. They said he posed a threat because he was carrying garden shears. The killing was preceded by the SPD killing of Osman Hernandez at Mi Pueblo Market on May 9, and Angel Ruiz on March 20. Angel was shot by three Salinas Police Officers simultaneously in a Wing Stop parking lot. A video of the Carlos Mejia killing went viral, and on May 21 hundreds of people took to the streets of Salinas in response.
Direct Action Monterey Network writes:
"On Tuesday, May 20 two members of the Salinas Police Department murdered a man. No excuses from the SPD can justify their actions. Anyone who has watched the video can clearly see two armed thugs approach a man carrying garden shears and a bag. The two thugs proceed to follow and surround the man, then shoot and kill him. Why is the reality of the situation not obvious to everyone? Because the two armed thugs wore badges and uniforms. In some people’s eyes, the position of “Police Officer” allows these murderers to act with impunity. To many others, this only reinforces what we’ve already known: that cops exist in our community to harass, intimidate, and control us. And this string of police shootings in Salinas is nothing new, nor isolated. It is part of a growing trend of police violence that exists around the United States."
Community members are organizing in a number of ways, and a large march is planned for Sunday, May 25.
May 25: Massive March Against Salinas Police Brutality!!
Read More with Video | En Español: ¡No más violencia de la Policía!
Salinas Police Protester Arrested for 'Inciting a Riot' | SPD: End the unjust violence against East Salinas residents through unnecessary force | Statement from Assemblymember Luis Alejo: Fatal Shootings Spark Community Concern | DAMN Response to Demonstrations Against Police Violence | Burning All Illusion Tonight (Salinas Riots, PDF Poster) | Cops train to kill: Salinas police Chief says, "We do not train to shoot people in the leg"
In Solidarity with People whose homes are threatened, In Honor of unpermitted public Art, In Defense of spaces free and wild everywhere, To Keep the Albany Bulb Natural and unlandscaped, To Preserve Habitat for Birds, Insects, and other migratory Animals, including Humans, We Declare the Bulb an Autonomous Zone , a space where Art and Music continue to flourish, where People assemble Freely, where Dogs run unleashed, and where long-term Residents can continue to maintain and improve their Homesteads.
Residents and representatives of community organizations in Santa Cruz rallied outside of the court house on May 14 to voice their strong opposition to the Governor's May revise budget, which calls for an increase in spending for jail and prison expansion. According to Californians United for A Responsible Budget (CURB), spending on corrections in the state will rise 2.9%, and total spending on prisons will top $12 billion if the budget revision is adopted. Similar rallies were also held in San Francisco, Bakersfield, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and San Diego.
"We are out here today because we know that if we put this money toward restoring social services, and the social safety net for the state of California, that we won't be locking up as many people because these two things are directly related," said Courtney Hanson of the organization Sin Barras. "They take funding away from services that people need to survive," she said.
Sin Barras has emphasized there is $5 billion that is available right now in the budget to fund social services, yet funding to begin the expansion of medical parole, to begin an elder parole program, and to create a parole process for non-violent and non-sexual second strikers has been cut to half what it was in the Governor's January budget.
Read More with Photos and Video | Californians United for A Responsible Budget | Sin Barras
Previous Related Indybay Feature: Santa Cruz Residents Urge County to Reject State Grant Awarded for Jail Expansion
Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio visited Mountain View, CA on May 6 to speak to an ultra-conservative group. At one point Arpaio approached protesters, some of whom said to him, "we don't want your hate here." Street theater demonstrators impersonated the sheriff and ICE federal agents in a skit near the entrance to the hall where the sheriff spoke.
Scott Olsen's skull was shattered and part of his brain destroyed when an OPD officer shot him in the head with a Specialty Impact Munition (SIM) at a 2011 Occupy Oakland demonstration. As he lay critically injured on the pavement, an OPD officer threw a CS Blast grenade onto him — a teargas device that explodes with a flash of light and loud bang.
At least a dozen other people were injured by so-called "less lethal" weapons at the Occupy demonstrations, even though OPD's own policies and federal court orders specify that these weapons may not be fired into crowds. As a result, the City of Oakland has had to pay out more than $7 million in legal settlements to people who have suffered serious injuries from SIM or CS Blasts, including burns, hearing loss, fractures, crushed nerves and scarring.
A new petition demands that OPD be prohibited from using SIMs and CS Blast grenades at demonstrations and other crowd events. The San Francisco Bay Area Independent Media Center (Indybay.org) is supporting this petition. Indybay reporters are sick and tired of getting shot and gassed by OPD while covering protests in Oakland, a gross violation of freedom of the press and basic human rights.
Read More |
Campaign Video |
Sign the Petition
Previous Related Indybay Features:
Oakland to Pay Big for OPD Shooting Scott Olsen in the Face |
Costs of OPD's Violence Against Protesters Mount: Settlement in the Kayvan Sabeghi Beating |
NLG Obtains $1.17M and OPD Reforms for Injured Occupy Oakland Protesters and Journalists |
Oakland Occupiers Defiant After Police Raid, Mass Arrests, and Tear Gas/Projectile Attacks |
March 7th Rally to Protest April 7, 2003 Police Attack at Docks |
Oakland Rally Questions 2003 Attack on Protesters |
Remember the Shots! Return to the Docks! |
Port Of Oakland Shut Down: Police Fire Concussion Grenades and Wooden Bullets at Protesters and Dock Workers
Terri Kay of Workers World writes:
The Bay Area Rapid Transit police have achieved notoriety once again, this time with the brutalization of Nubia Bowe, a diminutive 19-year-old Black woman. The brutality continued at the hands of Alameda County sheriff deputies once Bowe arrived at the Santa Rita, Calif., jail. Workers World interviewed Bowe and her godmother, Carroll Fife, about Bowe’s ordeal at the hands of police.
Workers World: What happened the night you got arrested?
Nubia Bowe: After work at Job Corps, I was coming home on March 21.... We were stopped at Lake Merritt BART by three BART police saying we had to step off the train. They said we were dancing on BART, soliciting money and causing a disturbance. Several people approached the cops saying we didn’t do anything and why did we need to get off the train.... I was pulled off the train by a different officer. He slammed me against the wall, busting my lip, and then he slammed me on the ground. I was taken to the Lake Merritt [holding cell] waiting to be transferred and held there about three hours, separated from my friends. [Then] I was taken to Santa Rita jail.... They started beating me up — all four of the cops, while I was on the ground. They put me in arm locks, joint locks, stepped on my feet and my face.
Read More |
Petition to Drop the Charges