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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.