top

Feature Archives

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.
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.