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Feature Archives

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.
Freedom Sleepers writes: Beginning last July 4th, advocates for people experiencing homelessness have been working to directly address the criminalization of homelessness and for the repeal of the city’s camping/sleeping ban. Activists have been consistent in their position that ordinances prohibiting and criminalizing lying, sitting, and sleeping in public are unconstitutional and such laws pose a grave danger of being selectively enforced against an entire class of people. In August, this position found unexpected support from the Obama Administration.
The Santa Cruz Police Department released photos of the BearCat armored attack vehicle they purchased in 2015 despite large protests by the public against its purchase. The attack truck, manufactured by Lenco, cost $251,000 and was bought with grants from the Department of Homeland Security.
Sun Feb 7 2016 (Updated 02/09/16)
Bay Area Residents Protest the Super Bowl
Super Bowl City, a corporate playground for tourists, was set up in San Francisco in late January. Before it opened, SFPD began pushing homeless people out of the area. Several protests focused on the taxpayer-financed "city". On January 30, hundreds marched for justice for Mario Woods. On February 3, hundreds of homeless advocates held another protest. On February 6, hundreds more marched to the site to protest unrelenting economic displacements. SFPD repressed all of these protests with at least one hundred cops each time.
Wed Feb 3 2016 (Updated 04/16/16)
Plastic Fence Divides Beach Flats Community Garden
At about 10 am on February 3, a gardener and supporter of the Beach Flats Community Garden relayed the following information via text message, "City is clearing out gardeners stuff right now." By noon, a fence was up and the city's crew was gone. On the previous day, supporters of the garden announced the launch of a grassroots fundraising campaign to assist the City of Santa Cruz in purchasing the current garden from the Seaside Company, but the city is threatening legal action.
A small but dedicated group of "Freedom Sleepers" are facing all the conditions winter has to offer them as they continue to sleep outside of Santa Cruz City Hall on Tuesday nights to protest laws that criminalize homelessness and the simple act of sleeping in public.