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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: Santa Cruz Indymedia | Health, Housing, and Public Services | Police State and Prisons
City Threatens Arrests in DIY Parade
The Sentinel story by J.M. Brown of December 15th (http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/localnews/ci_16872295 ) suggests Vogel's SCPD will not 'disrupt' the New Year's Eve do-it-yourself parade. But an e-mail from Kathy Agnone, Special Events Co-Ordinator, to Elizabeth Burchfield, parade supporter suggests otherwise., Agnone's e-mail to Burchield, which followed the Sentinel story in the comment section seems to suggest there'll be Delayed Disruption by the SCPD and City Attorney, as there was this last year in the prosecution of Wes Modes.
BACKGROUND: DIY PARADE PEOPLE ORIGINALLY EXPOSED POLICE SPYING COVERED UP BY THE MAYOR AND CITY MANAGER
The DIY Last Night Parade has been a traditional event in Santa Cruz involving no violence or property damage that I've heard of since 2005.
On the eve of the first parade, SCPD Chief Vogel (then a Deputy Chief) ordered illegal infiltration and political surveillance of the group planning the parade. (See "Police Infiltrate Peaceful Parade Organizers" at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2006/01/01/17933361.php).
After a cover-up internal SCPD investigation "clearing" Vogel of improprieties (done by, none other than Vogel himself and approved by the Mayor and City Manager), the independent police auditor issued a contrary report: "Investigation Reveals More SCPD Spying!" at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2006/02/14/18023101.php.
Activist Wes Modes, whose Public Records Act request via the Northern California ACLU (as distinguished from the police-friendly local ACLU) revealed the surveillance, explained in detail how city officials were subverting proposed meaningful restraints on police First Amendment violations: http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2006/06/22/18282023.php
City officials refused to change their policy policies nor hold the offending officers accountable: http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2006/07/01/18284464.php
Modes discussed the futility of a "dialogue" with the City: http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2006/07/24/18291005.php
Modes convicted of "Marching in a Parade Without a Permit" http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2010/08/16/18656181.php
Modes's sentence for his Paradecrime: http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2010/11/29/18665247.php?show_comments=1#18665352
The attack on Modes followed his organizing of other peaceful but powerful community events such as the Free Skool, the Sub Rosa Cafe, the Guerrilla Drive-In, and the Trash Orchestra.
SPREADING FEAR AMONG PARADE PARTICIPANTS: KATHY AGNONE'S E-MAIL TO ELIZABETH BURCHFIELD
In response to your email below, I am writing to ensure that you understand that you are subject to a citation for knowingly participating in an unpermitted special event such as the type described in your press release.
Today is the last opportunity to obtain a permit from my office. I am available by email (Kagnone [at] cityofsantacruz.com) until 5 pm.
If you need to contact the City regarding this event after today, you should contact the Santa Cruz Police Department: Lt.Colleen McMahon (420-5857 cmcmahon [at] cityofsantacruz.com).
Kathy Agnone, Special Event Coordinator
City of Santa Cruz
AGNONE AND HER CITY BOSSES ARE PREEMPTIVE DISRUPTING THE PARADE AND CHILLING THE FIRST AMENDMENT HERE
This "warning", of course, is a form of preemptive disruption to anyone who wants to participate in the parade. So now the police can subsequently and selectively harass and prosecute anyone they observe walking in the parade, especially if a city official (or a prankster) holds up a sign saying "this is not a permitted parade."
The trick is that they do it days or weeks later when supporters have dispersed--as they did with Wes Modes, Whitney Wilde, and Curtis Reliford (the only three activists ticketed in the parade).
The argument can then be made in court, as it was in the case of Modes, that anyone participating "knowingly" "strolled without a permit." They saw the sign. They "knew".
Or course, the police won't dare to face down a crowd of hundreds (or thousands) of people. They'll send in a cowardly (and well-paid) city attorney's office to do the dirty work afterward.
POSSIBLE RESPONSE TO COONERTY-VOGEL-AGNONE REPRESSION
Suggestion: after some polite requests get ignored, a crowd should march on Mayor Coonerty's office, or await him outside his family business at the Bookshop Santa Cruz. They should clearly and crisply demand he restore traditional and constitutional rights in Santa Cruz or explain the "emergency conditions" that require the "new order".
Demand he direct Agone, the SCPD, and the City Attorney's office to apologize and restore the previous "hands off" policy. If he refuses, folks can decide what actions to take next--either legal or political. (For those with money there are the courts and a recall process; for those without, there are the streets downtown where voices can be raised and organizing done.)
It's amusing to read Coonerty denouncing the DIY parade people as "ideological", In fact, we now face Coonerty's creeping "clear everything with city bureaucrats" ideology--based on no problems whatsoever year after year.
PROTECTIVE MEASURES AT THE PARADE
I suggest people bring video cameras and pay video police officers at or near the parade, in and out of uniform.
If videocamsters see numerous people walking by cops without their being ticketed--then the police or city attorney selectively tickets others later, this could be the basis for another lawsuit against the City.
Having already spent more than $100,000 on arresting me at City Council for a 2-second silent mock-Nazi salute, perhaps they'll be less enthusiastic about a second round. (Though that's always a question as City Council cuts back social services, but put more cops and security guards on patrol downtown to enforce the No Sitting on the Sidewalk and No Singing Disturbing Political Songs ordinances and funds massive raids on local bars for "warrants, drug use, & public intoxication").
Other measures to be considered:
+++ having a sign-up list "I Marched in the DIY 2010-11 Parade...Without a Permit!" to be presented to the City Attorney's office.
+++ buttons saying "Illegal Walker--Exercising the First Amendment Without a Permit".
+++ carrying a sign with your name in bold letters so that police officers watching can be videoed seeing the signs and doing nothing. Again to be used later if authorities do their day-after ticketing.
+++ traditional calls to Mayor Coonerty (831-420-5020) asking to know if you and your children will be ticketed and arrested for walking down Pacific Avenue on December 31st.