Santa Cruz IMC
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Update on police spying
by Rico (info [at]
Wednesday May 3rd, 2006 7:49 AM
Behind the scenes update of the police spying scandal
Let's see, where are we? You already know the SCPD was caught spying on the New Years parade planning meetings in private homes for three months late last year. And if you were following it, you know the city council reversed their previous position in late May and agreed to work with the ACLU to limit police power and create a policy that protected people first amendment rights. This only after both the Santa Cruz police auditor and the Northern California ACLU got directly involved and insisted that such a policy was needed (and in spite of the assurances by the city attorney, the city manager, and the police chief that everything was fine and no new policy was needed). We even went so far as to provide a draft policy for Santa Cruz based on the first amendment policy of the San Francisco PD.

That's where we left it almost a month ago, trusting that the city council and city managers would make good faith attempts to put a strong policy together with the help of the Northern California ACLU.

So what has happened behind the scenes so far? Not a thing. The first meeting with the ACLU was postponed and rescheduled by the city. Then the second meeting was again canceled by the city. ACLU attorneys have made themselves available to meet, or by conference call, but still nothing has happened. So much for good faith.

In the meantime, the SCPD is still free to infiltrating community and political groups. What pressure will we have to leverage against the city to get them to put a leash on their watchdog?

Are they watching you? Are they sitting in your meetings? Are they gathering information about your group? Your activities?

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by -
Wednesday May 3rd, 2006 7:52 AM
Any meeting open to the public is open to the police. Any public gathering open to the public is open to the police. You are not special.
by know your rights
Wednesday May 3rd, 2006 8:59 AM
You are an idiot. You lack even a basic understanding of the first amendment of the US constitution, the California constitution which guarantees your right to privacy, and caselaw that consistently argues against police monitoring of political groups.

But beyond 250 year old documents written by dead white slaveholders, if you are law enforcement you are not welcome at any of our meetings, gatherings, parties, or actions. We will discover who you are and what you are doing and we will continue to expose you.

If you want to better understand your rights (at least as enumerated by a system that would like to stiffle your dissent), track down a copy of the book by Katya Komisaruk "Beat The Heat: How to Handle Encounters with Law Enforcement." It covers police encounters, arrest, searches, warrents, grand juries, and rights of immigrants and minors.
by Just Us
Wednesday May 3rd, 2006 9:08 AM
Letter to City Manager's Office:

Thanks for your work on the policy dealing with the intersection of law enforcement and first amendment activities in Santa Cruz. As you know, we've been trying to stay involved in this process to help make change that gives the police clear guidance and protects people's first amendment rights.

We have been suggesting for months that the city start by adapting the San Francisco PD's policy on first amendment activities because it offers a very clear, concise, and assertive guidance to law enforcement. This policy offers clear definitions of first amendment activities, limits on police involvement, steps the PD must take before more intrusive measures, and a clear auditing requirement. It is not perfect, but I hope it serves as a good starting point for you and your staff.

As we said before, the SCPD needs a clear policy that has as a bare minimum:

* Explicit protections for and definitions of First Amendment activities
* Limits on police powers regarding first amendment activities
* Steps the police have to take before considering monitoring a group
* Clear accountability and limited authorization
* Rules of conduct for undercover officers, infiltrators, and informants
* An auditing requirement (we've seen what happens when the police police themselves)

We took the San Francisco policy as a model and created a draft policy for Santa Cruz. It is online at
by uh
Wednesday May 3rd, 2006 10:43 PM
by your logic, mr. open, the cops could follow you around all day based on your politics. every second you spend in public, they could shadow you, breahte down your neck, because, say, you are a green party member. thats called harrassment, and its not even legal or cool when private citizens do it, so i dont see why you want to argue its ok for the state to do it.
by Gavroche
Thursday May 4th, 2006 9:26 AM
I'll only accept that meetings open to "the public" are open to undercover cops when the police open up all their meetings to the public. Of course, that statement was purely rhetorical. Such reforms are impossible, destroying the institution is more realistic.
by blaby
Tuesday May 9th, 2006 8:52 PM
"What pressure will we have to leverage against the city to get them to put a leash on their watchdog?"

Maybe by not relying on the city to provide the justice being sought. Putting faith into government officials, whether local or not, is like a naive child who believes their abusive father will one day stop hitting him/her for no good reason. I guarantee you, the father won't stop hitting her/him until the kid grows up and takes matter into his/her own hands. When will we collectively understand this?
by Misty
(MistyL25 [at] Thursday May 25th, 2006 9:57 PM
Well if you aren't doing anything wrong then you don't have anything to worry about now do you?

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