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Indybay Feature
Thu Jun 12 2008
CopWatch Activist In Sonoma Faces Charge
Thu Jun 12 2008
Ben Saari Faces Charges For Copwatching on May Day
Copwatcher and member of the Free Mind Media Center (a Santa Rosa based radical infoshop and bookstore) Ben Saari, was arrested on May Day while doing Copwatch and has charges pending against him.

On May 1st, as thousands were entering Santa Rosa’s Juliard Park from the east side, Santa Rosa police officers began trying to corral youth, mostly young Latinos, on the west side of the park. SRPD had extended metal batons at ready and a very agitated police dog. Different squads of police were yelling conflicting orders at the nebulous group of youth they’d defined as a gang. As police advanced on the crowd, which Mr. Saari was pushed into, Mr. Saari made a point of communicating with the advancing officers and keeping a safe distance between himself and the officers. At one point an officer being most directly observed stepped up his pace and shoulder-checked Mr. Saari, claiming the contact as Mr. Saari’s interference with police activities and arresting him for such. Mr. Saari was never told by the police or the police department what he was being arrested for. He was only informed of his charges when released on bail by the person who posted the bail.

Elements of Sonoma County Law Enforcement, particularly among the Santa Rosa Police and Sonoma County Sheriff, have been resistant to public observation of their activities from a safe distance, in some cases not identifying themselves, obscuring the visibility of interactions or even threatening the observers with arrest.

Read More | "Watch The Cops" : copwatching and Sonoma County law enforcement | Copwatcher Arrested May 1st Santa Rosa | Ben Saari’s Arrest | Tell Santa Rosa DA To Drop Charges Against Copwatcher
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