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Santa Cruz Indymedia | Police State and Prisons

Police Auditor's Report Reportedly Available In Main Library
by Robert Norse
Tuesday Mar 21st, 2006 10:50 PM
Police Auditor Bob Aaronsen's report on Spygate Santa Cruz--the SCPD snoop operation against Last Night-DIY, the New Year's Eve Peaceful Parade--is reportedly in the main library, released Tuesday afternoon.
I got a call this afternoon returning an inquiry from Bob Aaronsen, the Palo Alto based "independent" auditor, hired by the City to "oversee" SCPD. Aaronsen had a brief moment of glory when he stated the obvious two months ago--that Deputy Chief Kevin Vogel could obviously not objectively and impartially investigate an operation that he was the leader of.

City Council refused to discuss, much less pass, a law banning infiltration and spying against peaceful political groups. This law had been demanded by a series of community activists, most recently by former Mayor Keith Sugar in a Sunday guest editorial in the Santa Cruz Sentinel.

City Council didn't take the obvious next step: invesgtigating the Police Chief and City Manager, who okayed this outrageous coverup investigation. Instead City Council's Public Safety Subcommittee, headed by the agile-tongued Rotkin, quickly cut short any discussion and refused to discuss guidelines to protect political groups from police spying.

Police Chief Howard Skerry, the same Police Chief that okayed the Vogel report in collusion with City Manager-for-Life Dick Wilson, issued his own "guidelines". Skerry's department apparently had been investigating without any guidelines whatsoever (perhaps the Santa Cruz equivalent of Bush's "executive privilege"?).

The guidelines Skerry quickly manufactured at the same time as he okayed the Vogel report had just about the same credibility. They were broad enough to allow spying whenever any individual in the group might be planning an illegal activity--no matter how small, or had previously been involved in illegal activity (parking tickets?).

Skerry's credibility had significantly been called into question when he claimed that Vogel's Last Night snoopjob was the only time the SCPD had spied on peaceful groups.

Skerry's story ignored the numerous sightings of undercover officers marching in various protests throughout 2005--documented by an indymedia reporter, who publicly presented City Council with a thick sheaf of documents on January 24th. Councilmembers never responded to the reporter's evidence.

Mayor Cynthia Mathews repeatedly ducked the question of whether future peaceful political protesters not applying for a permit should expect routine infiltration, record gathering, and photographing by undercover SCPD police. Call her at 420-5026 to get her latest perspective.

Rico Thunder heard from Art and Revolution activist Grant Wilson that the Monday 3-20 Public Safety Committee meeting, originally scheduled for 4 PM, was suddenly moved to 7 PM, possibly reducing or eliminating public input.

Free Radio Santa Cruz and indybay report Vinnie Lombardo noted that repeated calls to Aaronsen at his Santa Cruz number had not been returned. Vinnie said he'd contacted the library earlier this evening and that the Aaronsen report was available there in the reference section. A report from him may be available soon.

Hear my interviews with Cynthia Mathews and with Bob Aaronsen at http://www.santacruzcopwatch.org/robert/brb060216.mp3