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Indybay Feature

60 Year Old Homeless Woman Says Police Broke Her Arm

by Robert Norse
Donna Deiss called in last night to report that yesterday around 5 PM, Officer La Moss (Badge #114) assaulted her, broke her arm, and then put her in handcuffs when he attempted to question her at Three Tree Lot near Lighthouse Field. Deiss was taken to the Watsonville hospital, had to wait hours for x-rays, which confirmed her arm was broken.
Deiss reported the following to me in a phone message last night and an e-mail this morning:

She was talking with friends yesterday on Westcliffe Drive near her RV. An undercover police officer, whom she later identified as Officer La Moss, arrived in a black unmarked car and said he wanted to talk to her and others in the group. She read La Moss a statement from the ACLU about the rights of community members vis a vis the police and walked to her RV.

The cop followed her. She got in and tried to close the door. Le Moss, not saying she was under arrest or detained, reached in and grabbed her right arm, pinching the skin as he twisted it behind her back, breaking it. She screamed her arm was broken, but his response was to call for backup. 4 more police cars arrived. She continued screaming for 911 and finally paramedics showed up.

The police said they were impounding her RV, which she lives in.

She was taken to Watsonville hospital, waited hours for x-rays and pain pills. She is charged with battery and an additional charge. X-raqys confirm her arm was broken. She needs an attorney and community support.

This is an account from Donna Deiss (with some additions from her friend Shane). Donna has previously been harassed by rangers as part of the "clear out the hippies" campaign at Three Tree Lot and the other lots around Lighthouse Fields. Recently the City's Parks and Recreation Department had its "No RVs" signs painted over by state Rangers, for apparently violating state law and policy regarding parking (i.e. RVS are allowed to park).

See related stories: "Harassment of Homeless in RVs, a Letter from Donna Deiss" at ,

"Superintendant Hammack Stonewalls on RV Ban in Coastal Parking Lots" at , and

"Coastal Access Denied to Motorhomes and Trailers in Santa Cruz" at for related stories.
Witnesses to the Officer Christian LeMoss's assault on Donna Deiss Friday afternoon including Deiss's own testimony was heard on Free Radio Santa Cruz today. It should be archived soon at .

Craig: if you can secure a copy of the police report, please post it. Or if you get informal information from officers about their perspective, let us know. All witnesses I've spoken to (5 so far, not including Donna).

Particularly important (and this is sad) are middle-class witnesses passing by on foot, bike, or by car. Or nearby residents. Please put the word out for these folks to get in touch with what they saw.

I encourage folks to show up at Santa Cruz City Council at 3 PM and/or 7 PM to speak at Oral Communications to let the community (via tv) know what they think of this kind of behavior. City Council will also (be forced to) listen.

Also reminding folks that there's a public meeting of folks purportedly concerned with police abuse and discrimination on Wednesday 6:30 pm (see

Most telling perhaps would be a direct action protest and march, if anyone wants to organize it.

Witnesses to the event should give a call to me at 831-423-4833 or call me show on Thursday 6-8 PM on 101.1 FM at 427-3772.

Donna is charged with battery and resisting arrest. Her court date is June 16th. She faces up to a $2000 fine and up to 2 years in jail. Christian LeMoss on the other hand as far as I've heard is still on the beat--getting paid to do the beating.

Thanks to everyone who called in and are concerned about stopping police brutality.
§Additional Contacts
by Robert Norse
I didn't complete a sentence I began above:

All witnesses I've spoken to (5 so far, not including Donna) expressed shock and amazement at LeMoss's brutality as well as the massive police response that followed it (witnesses threatened with arrest, people held at the scene against their will, bogus charges and threats to tow vehicles, the pretext of "looking for marijuana", the failure to get emergency services out there for half an hour).

When police violence is unchecked by law

Contact D.A. Bob Lee at 454-2400 and demand prosecution of LeMoss for assault (on an elderly disabled woman, no less) under color of law.

Contact Police Chief Howard Skerry at 420-5810 and demand LeMoss be suspended from duty pending a full INDEPENDENT investigation of the assault.

Contact "Independent" Police Auditor Bob Arenson at 420-6295 or more directly at (650) 565-8800 to demand he review the Deiss case.

Contact Councilmembers Coonerty, Rotkin, and Porter--the "Public Safety Committee" of Cithy Council which supposedly oversees the SCPD and the Police Auditor--at 420-5020 and demand they introduce legislation for an independent investigation.

"Auditor" Arenson's website, is separate from the SCPD website--which has no apparent link (making independent complaints to Arenson unlikely). It's at

Not that it matters much. Arenson took over the pay of the Citizens Police Review board when City Council abolished the it in 2003. He gets 20-40 G's a year. He has never filed an annual written report to the community. He was however influential in exposing Deputy Chief Kevin Vogel's bogus "investigation" of himself for ordering spying on peaceful political activists New Year's Eve 2006).

If folks do contact any of these officials, please let us know that you did and what resulted.
§Police Side of the Story
155 Center Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95060

DATE/TIME: May 9, 2008 at 4:51 p.m. LOCATION: W Cliff Dr at Columbia St
TOPIC: Battery on a Peace Officer CASE NUMBER: 08S-03960

1. Name: Dawnna Deiss Arrested: [ X ] Yes [ ] No
DOB: 11-15-47 Charges: 243(b) PC
Address: Transient 148(a) PC
11357 HS

2. Name: Linda Allen Arrested: [ X ] Yes [ ] No
DOB: 07-16-47 Charges: 135 PC
Address: Felton 11357 HS

On May 9, 2008, at 4:51 p.m., Santa Cruz Police Department officers responded to reports of several people smoking marijuana in the parking lot at W Cliff Dr and Columbia St. Officers contacted the group and requested identification. One suspect, later identified as Dawnna Deiss, ignored an officer’s repeated request and walked away. When the officer attempted to detain Ms. Deiss, she threw a cup of hot liquid onto his face. Despite being burned, the officer was able to control and eventually take Ms. Deiss into custody. Ms. Deiss was treated and released from Watsonville Community Hospital for injuries she sustained during the arrest.

In the course of this incident, another suspect, later identified as Linda Allen, attempted to conceal evidence by placing two glass marijuana pipes in a nearby trash can.

Ms. Deiss was arrested on charges of battery on a peace officer, resisting arrest, and possession of marijuana. Ms. Allen was arrested on charges of destroying evidence and possession of marijuana.

NOTES BY NORSE: I got this police press release from a media source. It apparently came out this afternoon.

I also left a message with Sergeant LeMoss (he's a sergeant, not an officer) inviting him to tell his side of the story.
Another interview with another witness indicates that LeMoss himself was interviewing witnesses, even though he himself was accused by all the percipient witnesses I spoke of, of being the perpetrator of the crime (excessive force rising to criminal assault at the very least ranging up to assault under cover of authority, home invasion, false imprisonment, and making false police reports).

The media source I spoke with also found it highly peculiar that this press release would be issued at all for such a minor incident. And that it came out so late. This may suggest that the PD had read this indybay story and/or the Sunday radio interviews and was doing PR cover.

Considering the $235,000 settlement the falsely arrested S.F. woman got when her arm was broken for talking back to a jaywalking ticket (see earlier comment above), the PD has a real financial interest in covering this matter up.

Moreover, I saw (and will post) the original citations LeMoss gave Deiss. There's nothing about marijuana there. I suspect this was part of one of the "here comes summer" sweeps to clear the area of downscale "transients" in anticipation of the tourist season. And LeMoss got carried away. Now we get to watch the PD PR machine at work.

For those who can't believe our police get violent without cause, I can only say "wake up". Those accustomed to having their authority obeyed without question, who are armed with guns, tasers, billyclubs, and legal power, get pissed when lowly citizens assert their rights. Particularly when poor lowly citizens do so. Those following the Drug Prohibition War locally and nationally
will not be surprised.

The grim side of all this is that I fear my reportage may have given the police the info they need to fighten the witnesses, cover their tracks, and whitewash LeMoss.

It seems remarkable that they'd concoct and add a marijuana charge days later, but that might be necessary to justify the "marijuana investigation" story. Note too there's no mention of the broken arm or the fact that the jail refused custody.

If any local residents, bicyclists, or walkers -by were witnesses to this scene, please post or call 423-4833. Please contact anyone who might be such a witness. It looks like there's lots of cooking going on in the police kitchen.
Add Your Comments

Comments (Hide Comments)
by volunteer
If anyone has an image to go with this story, please add it here as a comment. If there are no photos from the incident, then a photo of the location or of Donna would be good as well. Otherwise, this photo from the protest at City Hall on 8/16/07 could work:
by Steven Argue
The following was sent to Robert Norse, Donna Deiss, Ben Rice and others and is being reposted with Steven Argue's permission:

This is very serious. I have sent this article out on Liberation News with the following introduction:

[Donna Deiss is a politically active homeless woman in Santa Cruz, who was also an advocate for tenants rights before she was unfairly evicted. The homeless in Santa Cruz, as well as activists, who criticize the local government, are often victims of police harassment, false arrests, and police violence. -Steven Argue]

As well as an added link to:


I see that Ben Rice's e-mail is included here. I would caution against anyone using Ben Rice as an attorney. The fact that he volunteered for my case regarding police violence at the May 22, 1999 anti-war demonstration, and then purposely sabotaged my defense, should serve as good warning that Ben Rice is nothing but a shill for the local city government and police. I advise against using his "services".

Of interest to this case as well, this Officer LaMoss, who broke Donna's arm, is the cop who attacked the the man and child at the May 22, 1999 demonstration, for which Nassim was charged with "assaulting" when he stopped LaMoss's criminal activity.

Sincerely, Steven Argue
I know Donna, and she could not possibly be seen as a physical threat to any police officer. She is old enough that any officer should have been careful in their physical treatment of her as they always should be. I believe she is legally disabled. She had done nothing wrong, was not under arrest and had not been read her rights or been legally detained at the time of this officers assault -- if I read this correctly.

It seems clear that the police are targeting people in the community, particularly activists or in Jason Paschal case, anyone they hold a vendetta against -- using tactics that are unlawful and immoral. Are we using undercover officers to catch parking violations?

The police are becoming more aggressive. In this case they broke the arm of a helpless woman. This is how were spending our tax dollars? Undercover police harass someone, or try and "spark conversation" and when that person used their right to walk away, they physically assault her.

Any woman or man for that matter should be at wary of someone not in uniform who says they are undercover and flashes a badge. When I was a child, three men posing as undercover men tried to assault my mother. They had badges but they were not police. This happened in another state, but they came very close to harming my mother. Later the police caught the men. They had fake badges and were wanted for rape.

This demands charges of assault be filed against the officer, and restitution be paid to Donna.

We have enough rape, assault, murder and child abduction cases to keep our officers busy without having to break the arms of an innocent person. If she was in violation of anything, at worst , it could have only been a parking or vehicular issue.

Tim Rumford
by Not passing the credibility test
Four of the people in town with the biggest agendas against police and for banning the sleeping ban all reporting in lockstep on this one.

Gee, why do I have doubts about the credibility factor on this story?
by Really?

Sure, the cops never do anything wrong.

Yeah, and I'm sure Donna broke her own arm in order to help the Norse-Argue-Rumford cause.

by John Thielking
This ranks right up there with thugs who tip over little old ladies' wheelchairs and steal their purses. The cops are supposed to be arresting these people, not imitating them. I stand in lockstep with Norse-Argue-Rumford-Johnson-Deiss on this one. Forward march... I hope Donna feels better soon.
by leni
It's not that easy to just fake breaking your arm, like, if you wanted to play a martyr and file a lawsuit. How many times have you fallen off a bike or a ladder, tackled someone in soccer or hit yourself with a hammer, and you just get a bruise and are fine in an hour. Bones aren't exactly fragile pieces of ceramic that you break all the time.
by Becky Johnson (becky_johnson222 [at]
STEVE ARGUE WRITES: "Of interest to this case as well, this Officer LaMoss, who broke Donna's arm, is the cop who attacked the the man and child at the May 22, 1999 demonstration, for which Nassim was charged with "assaulting" when he stopped LaMoss's criminal activity."

BECKY: Steve is correct and I filmed the entire incident. Officer Christian LeMoss was also the officer who tackled James Cosner to the sidewalk for the "crime" of posting a Mumia poster on the wall of a construction site and NOT on public property.
When Argue punched the cop and was convicted for it, it was an officer Lafavor, according to Argue's own reporting. (And yes, I know it wasn't Argues fault. It was the fault of a hostile judge, an incompetent lawyer, and a conservative jury. *ahem*).

And in that same article, Argue say's it was Officer Lafavor, not LaMoss, who Nassim obstructed.

So which is it? Are these two cops, or one?

Also curious if the attack on Cosner before or after Cosner attacked the statue of Columbus while screaming "Genocide!"?

"And in that same article, Argue say's it was Officer Lafavor, not LaMoss, who Nassim obstructed."

This simply is not true. This is not what I said.

I punched LaFavor for his brutal crimes against Julien and her child. This was police brutality recognized by the city government's own Citizen Police Review Board.

LaMoss went after a man who was holding a child. Nassim intervened on behalf of this man and the child he was holding.

All of this police abuse occurred at a protest against the US bombing of Yugoslavia.
by Truly confused

You (argue) assaulted LaFavor while Nassim assaulted LaMoss?

by comment on the article
by Craig (aka "The Real Craig")
I too hope Donna gets better- a broken arm can be a serious thing for someone as they age.

I'd also be interested in seeing whether there is a police report out there on this. I'm just curious as to what the "other side" of the story is, before I jump to conclusions. A broken arm doesn't happen easily, for certain, but the details here are a bit sketchy.

Any follow up is appreciated!
by I was there
Truly confused only got it half right. LeMoss, and LaFavor are indeed two different cops. Both were present outside the McPherson Center on May 22, 1999, where was a peaceful, yet noisy demonstrationof about 80-100 people took place. Protesters were upset at Sam Farr's call for a continuation of bombing in Yugoslavia, and on that day and at that location, Farr was holding a fund-raiser. Officer LaMoss initiated the violence, by forcefully arresting Koe-Ling Liao (sp?) who was playing the sounds of actual bombs through a boom-box. When she was unjustly arrested, the crowd tried to "un-arrest" her, and a standoff ensued, wherein, people surrounded the van Koe-Ling was held in to block its path. At that point, both cops (LeMoss, and LaFavor) did violently target two different people, who were holding children. Both parents and children escaped, due to intervention by Argue and Nassim Zerrifi. In total, five people were arrested that day, including a journalist. Koe-Ling's charges were quiettly dropped after Argue's trial. Other arrestees plead out...
by A Link
Robert Norse: ""Auditor" Arenson's website, is separate from the SCPD website--which has no apparent link (making independent complaints to Arenson unlikely). It's at"

There is a link from this page of the SCPD website:

"All complaints about a Police Department employee's conduct, action, or service are investigated. Complaints about a police employee may be made by phone or in person the Police Department. A police supervisor is assigned to conduct all investigations. Completed investigations are reviewed by the Independent Police Auditor to provide an independent review of the citizen complaint process. The Police Auditor will also make recommendations regarding department policy."
by Dragon Lover
Maybe if people would stop being atagonistic towards the police the realtions would improve. I am sorry that her arm was broken but in my opinion all this crap about reading a statement that the ACLU says I do not have to talk to you unless you are arresting me only antagonizing the police and does not foster an open dialogue.
by Robert Norse
Regarding the joke 'Independent' Police Auditor: On the SCPD home page, a variety of services, programs, and hot-lines are mentioned. The word "complaint: does not appear. You have to search on other screens to find it.

Of course, under the 2006 Copley decision because of police lobbying in Sacramento, even completed disciplinary investigations of brutal police officers are confidential--unlike the situation with any other public employees. This shields brutal and corrupt police officers from any disclosure by official agencies investigating them. It completely cripples the already weak police review boards throughout the state.

So it falls to people pressing lawsuits, whistleblowers, and independent media services like indybay to get out who's been beating up community members. It's up to us, folks.

The San Francisco Chronicle--not a particularly radical paper--has been doing its own survey of police violence in its Use of Force series at . On Sunday it featured a front page story about a woman who won $235,000 from the City (which denied any wrongdoing) when one of their cops broke her arm for a jaywalking ticket (which was never prosecuted). I doubt this will change our policepositive City Attorney from his usual rubberstamping behavior.

I agree with Dragonlover that when armed organized thugs with guns and badges intent on the war against Marijuana or dispersing poor people, or protecting their own show up, it may be prudent to avoid "antagonism". Whether this furthers justice, helps our self-esteem, or is appropriate considering we're funding these raids--is another matter.

The question now is whether the community can do the job the city council, the courts, and the SCPD higher-up's won't do: guaranteeing safety and equal protection by removing the officers in question from positions of power and authority. I suggest the community have its camcorders, audio recorders, cameras, and witnesses ready when and whereever LeMoss appears on the street with billyclub and handcuffs.

Isn't that what you'd do if your neighbor went berserk and did this, and then, instead of apologizing and trying to make restitution, further brutalized the woman in question and dragged her into court to cover up his misconduct? Uniforms, badges, and big budgets with lots of favorable PR are just what the most powerful Gang Members in Santa Cruz need to continue this kind of organized thuggery.
by Dragon Lover
For your kind support. Whether you like it or not we are all in a relationship with the police. Just like a personal relationship it takes two to make it adversarial (though some are more so than others). If people back down about getting in the polices face a bit maybe they will back down. Someone has to start and sure isn't going to be the police.
by JD
So nowhere in Donna's story does it mention anything that would be grounds for the charge of battery. But she isn't being charged with battery for no there's obviously something missing. An unbiased journalist would tell the whole story, including whatever she did, or at the very least is being accused to doing, that resulted in a battery charge against her.

"Indymedia is a tool for the creation of radical, accurate, and passionate tellings of truth."

The "truth" means telling the whole story, and it certainly doesn't mean only posting the version as told by the victim/accused person (depending on your take).

It seems Mr. Norse and others have hijacked a media outlet and decided to use it for the pursuit of their own agendas, twisting facts to benefit their cause and attempting to rally support for their causes making any effort to act like real journalists and report the whole story when something happens. If you take only the parts that benefit your cause and ignore any other factors then you aren't any better than those you are opposed to, seeing as how you claim they are doing the same thing. Those who feel no guilt or remorse over their failure to seek truth when it doesn't suit their needs shouldn't be acting like honest journalists.

"In the spider-web of facts, many a truth is strangled." -- Paul Eldridge
by Curious
This sounds pretty bad. Was Ms. Deiss arm broken by Officer La Moss as he pulled her out of the RV or after he pulled her out?
by Citizen Smith
Hey Dragon Love you wrote "it takes two to make it adversarial" - now that is a lame arse comment - are you saying that everyone who gets hurt is always partly to blame? Would you say that to a rape/murder/domestic violence victim - please think, before you type such tripe - this is the kind of comment from somebody that is looking for someone else to blame. I don't know what happened in this situation but I'm sure not going to rush to judgement and say both parties are to blame - sometimes there are innocent victims and guilty perpetrators.
by Dragon Lover
When Ms. Deiss read the ACLU statement to the cop and walked away she created an adversarial situation. Did she deserve to get her arm broken because of it? Hell no! However she shares the blame for the situation escalating. I do not understand how anyone thinks telling someone in authority that I don't have to talk to you fosters a good relationship with that authority. I stand by what I say in that it takes two to tango even if one is doing more dancing than the other. When I was a kid the attitude was if you didn't do anything you have no reason to not talk to the police. I think people would find that a little more cooperation AND being aware of and asserting your rights would go a long way. You do not have to give up your rights in order to cooperate. Also I think there are a great many people out there who try to assert they have a constitutional right to something. Last I recall the constitution doesn't say anything about parking an RV at night.
by Robert Norse
Dragon Lover: As I'm sure you agree, people have a right to be left alone.

Unless there is reasonable suspicion they are guilty of a crime, they can't even be detained. And once detained, they have the right--under all circumstances to remain silent.

Donna's RV was legally parked and it was daytime. The signs the city had improperly posted were painted over by the state authority a month or two ago. She wasn't ticketed or approached for parking.

Her crime, and that of her friends, was being and looking poor in a high-rent district on Westcliffe Drive. I haven't checked their cards, but the witnesses I talked to said they did occasionally smoke marijuana there, but had medical marijuana cards.

No one was busted initially, by their accounts for using, possessing, or dealing marijuana (if they did, it would still be harassment, of course--since we know this is a bogus charge not supported by the community). These charges were added later, after LeMoss used excessive force.

I heard no report that Donna or anyone else was ever asked for their cards. Naturally. That's not what the whole clean-up operation was about after LeMoss's wildcat blunder.

While it is prudent to walk carefully around armed authority, it is also wise--as you point out--to know your rights. And one of them is to walk away from a police officer unless s/he informs you you are under arrest or detention.

Cops, however, are trained to give people the impression they can't leave, when they are free to do so. Or to pressure them into talking, when they have no obligation to speak. When you're investigating real crimes, such tactics may have their place. However when used to drive people from public places because of their class or in pursuit of the Drug War, I support full resistance and non-cooperation.

This is not out of disrespect for individual officers, but for the activity in which they are engaged. And also for self-protection.

The magic words, according to attorney Katya Komisaruk and the local Free Skool's Know Your Rights workshops are:
1. Am I free to leave? (if yes or ambivalent, walk away)
2. (if not) I have nothing to say.
3. I do not consent to a search.
4. I would like to speak to an attorney.

Police will continue to pressure you to talk ("If you have nothing to hide, what are you afraid of?" "How about some cooperation here?" "We're investigating a crime and need your cooperation." "Things are going to go harder with you unless you answer my questions." "I'll have to arrest you unless you help me here." "your friend has already confessed." Etc. etc.)

But the bottom line is to repeat again "Am I free to go?" You can do this without being hostile, just matter of fact, but clear.

It's also helpful to have a tape recorder or a witness, of course. And yes, you have the right to tape record any interaction you have with a police officer or any other public official regardless of what they may tell you.
by Dragon Lover
Your "Magic Words" are what set the tone for the encounter. If you have nothing to fear or hide then why not talk to the police?
by student
I notice her defenders continue to overlook or mention the reported incident of her throwing a cup of hot coffee on the officer and his being burned by it. I don't think you'll convince anyone she was asseting her constitutional rights by assaulting and officer with hot coffee. And ignoring that little bit of information makes your entire argument moot.
by Dragon Lover
How when some folks do not have all the facts they want to lynch the cops or elected officials but when you throw in a little thing like she threw hot coffee on the cop they shut up? No well maybe we were quick to judge or hmmm did not know that guess she was out of line too, Nope they just clam up and move on. Don't get me wrong still does not warrant a broken arm.
by I don't buy the story.
First she knew it was a cop , now she didn't even see him before he grabbed her and broke her arm.

First her companion Greg acknowledges they were smoking pot, now she says nothing was going on.

First the cop put a foot on her back, now its a foot on her chest.

First the cop brandished a nightstick, now he's beating her with it.

Not passing the credibility test.

Did she deserve to have her arm broken? No.

Is she someone who has already had run-ins with the cops in this same location over the camping ban? Yes.

Is she an innocent victim who was randomly put upon by a rogue cop with no reason and no warning? Doubtful.

Do I think the truth is somewhere in between her story and the cops? YES.
by Craig (aka the real craig)
To the poster above- well said. Thanks, Robert, for posting the press release from the SCPD. I'm not thrilled about this interaction, don't get me wrong, but there is a lot of room for interpretation it seems...
by overthrow
Probably what happened was this...

-cops came out to investigate reports of pot smoking

-because Donna and White Dove were there, they assumed that they might be the ones smoking.

-somebody else, who didn't know them, saw the police and threw the pot pipes in the trash.

-when they saw White Dove throw away her coffee cup, they probably saw it out of the corner of their eyes, and thought it must be evidence. When they looked in the trash, they found two pipes and figured that must have been what White Dove threw away, not realizing she had just finished her coffee. So somebody else got away scot free and is letting WD and Donna take the fall.

-at this point, they suspected Donna and an aggro cop broke her arm when she refused to show ID, as is her right.

pretty fucked up, people!

by Tom Kuestersteffen III
In Sergeant La Moss, we may finally have found a worthy successor to Sergeant Andy Crain, big, strong, brave and wise. R.I.P. Andy Crain. We miss you dearly. Thanks for everything you did to make our community a better place.
by Robert Norse
Crain was a good-natured guy, who I liked personally. However his record as a police officer was not perfect.

He also brutally assaulted peaceful community worker David Silva at Santa Cruz City Council in September 1996. Without provocation, Crain through Silva into the stone piller right outside City Council, mistakenly identifying him as part of a peaceful but noisy protest (which I, for once, wasn't involved in).

Silva, a person with AIDS, was trying to deliver petitions to then-Mayor Rotkin and the City Council opposing the Sleeping Ban. Silva successfully sued Crain through attorney Kate Wells, recovering several thousand dollars (perhaps more). Crain's assault cut short Silva's City Council run in a significant race. Four years later Silva's organizing and agitating (combined with that of other activists) helped put the Sleeping Ban on the agenda briefly during Mayor Sugar's reign.

Cops can be forgiven their transgressions if the officers and the department take responsibility for them. Unfortunately, as was the case in both Sgt. Crain and now apparently in Sgt. LeMoss's case--this is not done.

This is seen most vividly in large departments like the LAPD, the SJPD, and the SFPD, but it's unfortunately also true here in Santa Cruz. This needs to change.
by Thos Kuestersteffen III
Andy Crain was a good cop, who took a firm line with juveniles posing as adults, such as may be seen littering the pews at Santa Cruz City Council meetings and other places the Huffatronia Maximus may be encountered.

The fact that David Silva sued the City for his experience with Sergeant Crain takes nothing away from the latter. Quite the opposite, infact. Crain's stature grows larger each time this story is retold. His swift dispatch of Silva just serves to demonstrate the superior mind this simple rozzer kept under that blue cap. Would that all policeman at City Council were so wise.

Thanks again, Andy Crain. We miss you at Council.
by Tim rumford
Regarding my earlier comments about Press Release and Media release reports on the SCPD website, I reversed the description. Meaning when I said Press Release, I should have said Media Release and visa versa.

Tim Rumford
by Peace Police
The officer was not treated for burns. Coffee was on Donna, the car and nothing detailed about the coffee is in the report as it normally shows up. Tim is right this time, although as he corrected he was wrong about the names of the reports, mixing them up. Honest mistake. I read these allot and have never seen such a poorly written report missing so much information the cops are supposed to provide. Normally every move the cop and suspect made would be included, as well as any real harm to an officer would be documented if he went to the hospital or was treated. This info would be included.

This is why we need an independent review board with the balls to use the power they are given. They never did in the past.

I agree the truth is somewhere in between. Thats normally the case even when both sides are trying to be honest. But something is not right, and it seems no one cares about measure K. People fought HARD for that law. We should demand our police find better things to do. If people were complaining, it would have been easier to deal with in a non violent way. This was completely unnecessary if all that was happening was pot smoking. The police could have simply gave out warnings for a few days and moved the problem somewhere else as these problems always do.

I also remember the violent days of the 80's and appreciate Tims story, although I do not always agree with his comments. I had not read it before so reposting it is fine by me. Its important people realize what the police can get away with. Does anyone remember when the Capitola police were caught selling guns back to criminals in the 70's?
by Peace police
I meant to post my last comment on the other post. Why do we have two? Its confusing enough. And it looks like I am not the only one commenting on comments from the other post regarding the same incident.
by Sum Dim
We have two stories about this because Robert felt that one simply wasn't loud enough for everyone to hear.

Measure K makes enforcement of pot laws the lowest priority for cops. It doesn't legalize pot smoking in front of your RV with your transient pals in public parking lots. This means cops have considerable discretion as to what is "lowest priority". Good for all of us. Having said that, I believe they tried to address this peacefully, but when Donna gives them a platterful of attitude about some bogus right she thinks she has to not be accountable to society and then walks away and tries to lock herself in her vehicle, well, damn straight the cop's going to have something to say about it. She's lucky he didn't actually break her humerus.

The truth isn't "somewhere in between" here. Donna and Robert have concocted this fairytale as best I can see. And if you think that a bunch of unemployed hangers-on who are on permanent camping vacations in City and State parking lots have the further right to pull out their bongs and light up wherever and whenever they please while the rest of us go to work to pay the City's and the State's bills, you're under a serious misapprehension. Even Santa Cruz is not all that.

by Gary
If you do a google search for Donna it looks like she very recently filed a liability claim against the city and it was denied. The city website does not state what this was about. Does anyone know?
by Gary
By recently I mean 2 months ago.
by Robert Norse
Measure K isn't involved, true, unless you're inside a private residence (which an RV arguably is).

However the right to medicate in public is on the books--both via Proposition 215 and SB 420. This is particularly important for homeless people.

SB 420 tells us that smoking medical marijuana in public is legal, unless you are (a) in a no-smoking area, (b) In or within 1,000 feet of the grounds of a school, recreation center, or youth center, (c) on a schoolbus, (d) in a motor vehicle being operated, or (e) while operating a boat. Are Santa Cruz police officers so informing the community before they bust in and break limbs.

I asked Sgt. LeMoss for a response, but the good sergeant has so far not returned my call.

Why bother? When you can just arrest your critics, regardless of the community consenus on the absurd Drug War?

SB 420 Info can be found at .

Greenway, the local pot-for-profit dispensary, covering its own ass no doubt, doesn't stand up for the right of patients to medicate where they need to. Instead I was told "go inside a residence" instead of a straight answer to the question "what's a recreational center and what are Santa Cruz law enforcement policies?"

The whole attempt to carve out the medical marijuana "exception", of course, is absurd. The Santa Cruz Community has long had a clear consensus that drugs are a medical not a police problem--particularly marijuana.

The on-going use of the Drug War is a perversion of police authority and provides a useful pretext to harass, humiliate, intimidate, and brutalize poor people outside or in their vehicles.
That's the real lesson of the LeMoss assault.
by Doug
Is she a medical marijuana patient? If so wouldn't she have had a card on her? Or in the RV?
by Sum Dim
Equally absurd, Robert, is citing medical marijuana laws in defense of recreational drug use in a public parking lot. Medical marijuana laws attempt to codify the sentiments of tolerance in the community for this sort of use of marijuana, whilst drawing a circle around socially acceptable behavior. Using them as cover for illegal and anti-social behavior is a thoroughly selfish thing to do, a great disservice to genuine patients. Your attitude of entitlement regarding your behavior in
public places befits a trust fund baby who never has worked a day in his life. It is a travesty that you relentlessly pervert laws in furtherance of your narrow agenda.

You seem to believe that you must never be held accountable for your actions regardless of their consequences to others. This infact seems to be the lesson in the Deiss Hot Coffee Battery.
by Craig
I looked back through this topic, as well as the other article on this subject, and nowhere did it mention before Robert's last post that Donna is a MM patient. Is she? I know that she has taken care of a person that was a MM patient but I have not seen any evidence that she is. If Robert's claim that she is a MM patient is to be used as part of her defense I would think there would be some more info on if she can go down that route.
by Neil Mick
"If you have nothing to fear or hide then why not talk to the police?"

This statement denies a simple reality. It pretends that the police treat everyone exactly the same. Ignoring racial profiling, etc: the police are not known here for their respectful demeanor towards the homeless.

So, the only way you can HAVE "nothing to fear or hide" from the not to be homeless...or, to actually BE the police.
by momma chloe
My daughter was an eye witness to this entire incident. She was interviewed on two seperate occasions. Several days later she started being harrassed by city police, threatened that if they ever saw her in Santa Cruz they would empound her car, take her two dogs to the pound and arrest her for being a vagrant.
by Robert Norse
Call in to my radio show tonight to talk about what you saw (427-3772) or call me off air and leave me a voice message at 423-4833 and a number where you can be reached. You might also contact Donna at sundancerocean [at] or Becky Johnson, who is writing another account of the incident at 479-9291.

Donna tells me she's secured an attorney, for at least her first court appearance. Her original ticket said her arraignment was for June 16th. She says there's no record of that arraignment being scheduled for the court calendar, nor a prior harassment ticket for "vehicle too long for the parking space"--part of the broader "drive counter-culture and houseless people out" SCPD/ P&R campaign.

HUFF is still looking for someone interested enough in this story to do more research around police reports (such as incident recalls) and outreach to disabled and vets organizations. If anyone's interested call the HUFF line at 423-HUFF.
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