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SCPD Police Spying Scandal - deputy chief leads investigation
Deputy Chief Vogel asked by City Council to investigate himself
Santa Cruz Police undercover officers were caught infiltrating community group meetings held in private homes. The group was organizing a grassroots New Year's Eve parade in Santa Cruz. The undercover cops were caught on film by indymedia photographers. on New Year's eve, the SCPD confirmed that undercover officers were monitoring the group since October.
The SCPD claims it has monitored no other political or community groups and that it received no communication or funds from other outside agencies.
The ACLU of Northern California and the Santa Cruz City Council has gotten involved. Public records requests are currently yielding a wealth of information about police spying.
After a contentious meeting in late January, the Santa Cruz City Council chose not to launch an independent investigation until after the results of the internal investigation come out on February 13th.
An internal investigation is taking place. Deputy Chief Kevin Vogel who, according to public records documents, was the officer who ordered the undercover infiltration, is heading the internal investigation into police spying. Initial indications are that the SCPD will pin the blame on lower rank officers.
Questions remain how extensive police spying is in Santa Cruz, what ties local police have to state and federal agencies, and what people can do to keep cops out of their meetings and their homes.
This follows on the heels of national news that the Pentagon had been monitoring anti-war and anti-recruitment activities of UC Santa Cruz students.
Activists outraged by police spying will not let up the pressure until citizens are free to express their right to free speech and free assembly without fear that there is a cop lurking in their midst.
A rally will be called to greet the results of the SCPD internal investigation at the City Council Public Safety Commission on the afternoon of February 13th.