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Victims of Violence: When UC Police Attack
by josh sonnenfeld (sugarloaf [at]
Sunday Oct 22nd, 2006 8:20 PM
If you've taken a glance at the corporate press' headlines recently, you'd see something like this: "UC Santa Cruz Protest Turns Violent," or, my favorite, "Police Break Up Violent Protest at UC Regents Meeting." The mainstream media blatently suggests that it was the students - the protesters - that were violent. Yet, to have violence you have to have victims. 'cus if nothing or no one was hurt, how can you claim that any crime has been committed?

If you look at Wednesday's (Oct. 18, 2006) protest and all the reports and documentation, you'll see that, in fact, there were victims of violence. The victim wasn't property. The victims weren't the cops (except the one that sprayed himself with his own pepper-spray). The victims weren't the Regents (unless you call really having to pee a form of violence). For the most part, the victims weren't even the corporate visitors (one guy from the Chamber of Commerce claims he got spit on, but that's it). If you were present or if you looked at the documentation, you would see that the victims were, by and large, the protesters.

So.. if violence creates victims, and the victims were mostly protesters, who were the instigators of the violence? The police. This is my argument: that Wednesday's protest was in fact violent, and we should all abhor unjust violence, yet the majority of violence came in the form of pepper-spray in the eyes and batons to the bodies. If we are truly concerned about violence and safety, then we must also be concerned about the police.
To republish photos, or for larger sizes, please contact sugarloaf [at] - thanks! Also, please contact me if you feel uncomfortable having your photo displayed online.
by josh sonnenfeld Sunday Oct 22nd, 2006 8:20 PM
Immediately after police snatched 3 activists, they used their batons to push away nearby protesters, eventually pepper-spraying the crowd.
by josh sonnenfeld Sunday Oct 22nd, 2006 8:20 PM
by josh sonnenfeld Sunday Oct 22nd, 2006 8:20 PM
by josh sonnenfeld Sunday Oct 22nd, 2006 8:20 PM
§Here to Help
by josh sonnenfeld Sunday Oct 22nd, 2006 8:20 PM
§It Burns
by josh sonnenfeld Sunday Oct 22nd, 2006 8:20 PM
§Rinse and Repeat
by josh sonnenfeld Sunday Oct 22nd, 2006 8:20 PM
§Hit in the Head by a Baton
by josh sonnenfeld Sunday Oct 22nd, 2006 8:20 PM
§Didn't Realize 'til He Saw His Hands
by josh sonnenfeld Sunday Oct 22nd, 2006 8:20 PM
by josh sonnenfeld Sunday Oct 22nd, 2006 8:20 PM
§Cement Burn
by josh sonnenfeld Sunday Oct 22nd, 2006 8:20 PM
This is the back of the same guy from above. He was dragged on the ground by cops before he was yanked away by friends.
§Eyes Won't Stop Burning
by josh sonnenfeld Sunday Oct 22nd, 2006 8:20 PM
§Wrong Place Wrong Time
by josh sonnenfeld Sunday Oct 22nd, 2006 8:20 PM
Like most of those pepper-sprayed, these two just happened to be at the front of the crowd when the cops attacked.
§Victims of Violence
by josh sonnenfeld Sunday Oct 22nd, 2006 8:20 PM
Still recovering after being pepper-sprayed, how do you think these two will feel when they find out the corporate press is going to call them the violent ones?
§Sentinel photographer was smiling
by josh sonnenfeld (sugarloaf [at] Sunday Oct 22nd, 2006 8:51 PM
oh and for the record, the Sentinel's photographer was smiling while he took photos of kids trying to wash the pepper-spray out of their eyes. In fact, the photo on the left is him taking this shot:

what's to smile about?

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by a
Monday Oct 23rd, 2006 11:41 AM
thank you for posting these moving photos. these are eyes of courage that remind me to not back down from my joyful resistance. fuck the regents and the police. their repression does nothing but make me more imaginative and brave.
by _
Tuesday Oct 24th, 2006 8:46 AM
thoughtcriminal, you keep running around to posts you havent been called
out on, and posting the same crap. what is it with you?

readers, and especially folks in SAW, keep in mind that this poster is
apparently an outsider who has, in their own words, "watched SAW closely
over the last year". this person, rather than negotiate their concerns in a
SAW meeting or by talking to individual members/leadership of SAW,
sees fit to post the same provocative accusations all over indymedia.
and this person remains totally unaccountable to their accusations.

SAW knows it has been spyed on, and probably still is,
but the worst thing you can do about it is level false accusations
about infiltration. Also, incidentally, a cointelpro tactic is
to direct suspicion of infiltration towards legitimate members
of a group. Its called "snitch jacketing".

Infiltration sucks, but being crippled by paranoia or fear of
infiltration are dangerous in their own right..
by interested observer
Wednesday Oct 25th, 2006 12:53 PM
In the Jan 14 2006 report in the New York TImes, Sarah Kershaw reports that:

"Over the winter break, Josh Sonnenfeld, 20, a member of Students Against War, or SAW, put out the alert. "Urgent: Pentagon's been spying on SAW, and thousands of other groups," said his e-mail message to the 50 or so students in the group.....

"On the one hand, I was surprised that we made the list because generally we don't get the recognition we deserve," Mr. Sonnenfeld said. "On the other hand, it doesn't surprise me because our own university has been spying on us since our group was founded. This nation has a history of spying on political dissenters.""

Do you think this person or persons are still in your group? It's no good to be paranoid, its true, but the issue deserves more investigation - certainly don't let it stop you from organizing protests, though.

Also see this report:
FBI memo encourages local police to spy on protest groups
By Jamie Chapman
2 December 2003
by Dan Coyro
Thursday Oct 26th, 2006 12:15 PM
Yeah, I thought it was hilarious...especially when the protesters egged on the police with profanites, flipped off the police repeatedly in their faces and them pushed up against the police when the police were trying to escort from the meeting hall a Santa Cruz Chamber of Commerce director and a Santa Cruz Schools superintendant...then the protesters scream police brutality... I had to chuckle when many of the kids who got pepper sprayed whined for nearly an hour...I got sprayed and kept working while most of those kids laid on the ground wimpering for the cameras.
by don't think so
Thursday Oct 26th, 2006 3:22 PM
Did you get it right in the eyes though, Dan?

From all the pictures I've seen, you were back a bit. Many of us felt a little sensation if we were in the general area of the pepper spray, but that's very different from being someone in the very front of the crowd getting it STRAIGHT in the eyes. Just look at the first photo posted ...
by interested observer
Friday Oct 27th, 2006 5:57 PM
On one hand, you have people posting here saying (I gather) that it was an unprovoked police 'attack' on peaceful protestors; that's what I'm getting from some of the articles.

Then, other people are saying that the protestors threw things at people who were showing up to make public comments opposing Regent policies, and then there are reports of those comments being removed from indybay by persons unknown? That is definitely odd and unprofessional with respect to internet news standards for commenting on articles.

My take is that the protest was intended to be peaceful, but that a number of individuals (sic) let their emotions run away with them and were 'egging on and provoking the police' as well as throwing items - that's not peaceful activity, one must admit.

One of the arrested students "...expressed regret that what is likely to be lost among the media frenzy over the police brutality is their original message" (Jamie Thompson piece).

Also, there was almost no regular media coverage of the peaceful march that started the day off at 10 am (AFSCME and Friends March for Wage Parity, Justice, posted on Indybay Santa Cruz); it was all just coverage of the 'violent protestors' on the evening 'news' .

As far as all the COINTELPRO speculation goes, who knows? However, I Googled "COINTELPRO" and the top hit was this site:

It's probably a good idea for student activists to study those documents, in my humble opinion.