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Feature Archives

Community activists working independently on separate ballot measures have come together under the umbrella of the Oakland Justice Coalition. Together, the three measures they propose would radically transform police accountability, renters' protections, and the minimum wage in Oakland. On March 24, Oakland Justice Coalition members made a formal announcement of their intentions in front of Oakland City Hall. The canvassing kickoff will be held on April 2.
On March 23, the family of Freddy Centeno filed a lawsuit against the Fresno Police department alleging that officers Zebulon Price and Felipe Miguel Lucero acted beyond the limits of their authority when they shot Freddy seven times on September 3, 2015. Freddy was unarmed, carrying a spray nozzle to a garden hose. The officers opened fire less than six seconds after they exited their cruiser. The shooting left Freddy in a coma for twenty-three days before he passed away.
On March 8, the Santa Cruz city council voted 5-2 to oppose an amendment to municipal code 6.36.010, also known as the camping ban. The proposed amendment would have removed references to sleeping and covering up with a blanket from the text of the law, as well as removing references to sleeping in cars. Effectively, these changes would have made it legal for people sleeping outdoors to do so without fear of citation by police.
Terrie Best of San Diego Americans for Safe Access writes: On March 1, the prosecution began its case against John Mazula, who was being charged with manufacturing medical cannabis concentrates. The case came down to whether the process John used to extract cannabis concentrate made use of butane gas or not. Without hesitation each juror at the table one-by-one pronounced John not guilty. Then they discussed why. The jurors blamed the police. They knew the case was poorly put together with no evidence to convict John.
Sat Feb 27 2016 (Updated 03/01/16)
Protesters Face Off with FBI in Digital Privacy Battle
On February 16, a US District Court in California, responding to an FBI request, ordered Apple to write an entirely new operating system for its iPhone, one that would give Federal authorities full access to encrypted private information on those phones. Protesters in the Bay Area cities of San Francisco and Palo Alto organized demonstrations saying the FBI demand would set a dangerous precedent and threaten the safety and security of millions of iPhone users worldwide.
The California Police Bill of Rights as it is known today could be on its way out if California SB1286 becomes law, shining increased light on police misconduct in the state. Police "unions" and lobbyists like the Peace Officers Research Association of California (PORAC) are expected to fight to maintain the secrecy that currently shields their bad behavior — and legislators historically tend to kowtow to their wishes. The public, however, clearly wants greater access to police records.
Fri Feb 19 2016 (Updated 03/11/16)
Santa Cruz Police Target Homeless Sleepers Downtown
This month the downtown post office in Santa Cruz was cleared by police of what had been a large and regular presence of sleepers at night. The post office had been used as shelter for 6-12 people a night for some time. A homeless man who was sleeping outside of Bookshop Santa Cruz and cited with two other sleepers for trespassing this month said he thought the police were ticketing at increased rate recently to get homeless people to move along before the next rains arrived.