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Officer Ahlers is a Bad Cop

by brent is found guilty
Today I was found “guilty” of sitting on the sidewalk and ordered to pay $300.
The only problem is that I didn’t sit down....
Today I was found “guilty” of sitting on the sidewalk and ordered to pay $300.
The only problem is that I didn’t sit down until SCPD officer Travis Ahlers ordered me to sit down on the sidewalk.

I had been walking south on Pacific Ave. near the intersection of Laurel St. when I saw officer Ahlers talking to a man who was sitting on the ground. He said, “may I search your backpack?” At which point, from a distance of 10’ away I told the man that he didn’t have to allow the officer to search his belongings. “Tell him NO,” I said. Officer Ahlers turned towards me and told me to sit down and produce my ID. I asked him what the charge was and he said, “For sitting on the ground.”
“I wasn’t sitting down until you told me to sit,” I retorted. He said, “that’ll be for a judge to decide.” Later I found out that the man who was sitting down was under formal probation and was able to be legally searched even without being told before-hand. I didn’t know this when I was reminding him of his 4th Amendment right to the privacy of his person and all of his stuff. Had I known this, I would have said nothing to him.

Well today was my day in court. Since this is an infraction and wouldn’t be heard in a regular court I had commissioner Kim Baskett disqualified so that the case would be heard in a regular court and the officer would have to be sworn in. Finally, on my 5th visit to the courthouse since September on this matter the case was seen by judge Timothy Volkman. I was charged with:

No person shall sit upon the following enumerated portions of a public sidewalk: (b)    Within fourteen feet of any building.

The officer said that the ordinance included “squatting” and then offered to tell the judge what the dictionary definition of “squatting” was. The judge declined hearing the definition. I read the ordinance aloud to high-light that it clearly reads “No person shall sit..” The officer said that my buttocks were within 8” of my heels.

With this, the judge found me guilty of sitting on the sidewalk and ordered that I pay $300. The judge said, “this will teach you to leave the police alone while they’re conducting their business.” I said that I’m not being charged with Obstructing an officer, but instead, Sitting on the ground which I obviously didn’t do. The judge said, “I’m siding with the ‘people’ that your are guilty.”

I said that I don’t have the money... I don’t have $10 and I can’t pay. Then I said “I won’t pay. This is not justice. This is a bad cop and you’re a bad judge.” I refused a payment plan or a work program.
I then left the court when the bailiff who was escorting me out said, “If you don’t pay it’ll be twice as much.”

It is true that at the end of this frustrating hearing that I lashed out in classic Brent Adams style. I really couldn’t believe my ears when I was found guilty. Yes, it is just an infraction and yes, its just $300 but isn’t it the principle of the thing? I had not been sitting and yet I was found guilty of sitting down. It is true that I don’t have the money to pay. I will check with the clerks office and try and get on a payment plan or a work program.
I am truly frustrated.
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Comments (Hide Comments)
by V
You did everything right at every step of the way, Brent. You took a stand when you thought you saw injustice, and you made these lying pieces of shit work hard to get you. Unfortunately and surprisingly, they pursued you all the way even despite the legal trickery (well played!) of having the ref disqualified in favor of a real judge. You made them work for this one.

You, sir, are a fighter.
by John E. Colby
Brent. Your story is instructive about how little justice there is in our justice system. Unfortunately the incident wasn't documented on video. Every Santa Cruzan should read about this so they can understand that when they step into a courtroom they are entering a rigged system. When judges and police officers flout the law with such brazen immunity, how can you expect the criminally inclined to respect the same laws, or to even respect the courts and law enforcement?

The public needs to be educated to start recall campaigns against these rogue judges who mete out injustice with impunity. Alternatively, if you can obtain a copy of the transcript for your trial as evidence of misconduct by the judge, you could send it to the news media and the Judicial Council of California to file a misconduct complaint (against this judge). If enough people mistreated by this judge do the same, eventually this judge may feel some heat.
by Observed
...your tale is simply an example of why it might not be wise to interject oneself into police business.

I've been following a lawsuit here which is equally instructive. One day, Joe Blow is walking down the street when he sees an uniformed officer and a mope rolling around on the ground fighting. Joe jumps in, later saying he's only trying to help the officer. He doesn't make his intentions clear to her.

The arriving back up officers are confronted with the sight of one officer and two civilians on the ground fighting. In the resulting melee Joe is injured and arrested on a number of charges including obstructing, battery on a peace officer, and resisting arrest.

Joe says "oh no I was trying to help the cop." Eventually the criminal charges were dropped and Joe is now suing the City trying to recover his medical bills plus what he feels was a violation of his civil rights.

It's just not a good idea to interject yourself into the middle of street police work...
by Observed Observer
Brent didn't "interject himself into the middle of police work," he said he was 10 feet away from the officer and he was on Pacific Avenue, which is a very busy pedestrian area.
by Observer
He told a person who was being legally searched not to comply with the officer's orders. That's interjecting.
On top of that, he was in error.
When you only have a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
by Observing Observer
If the police want to interrogate individuals on Pacific Avenue, they should expect some commentary from the public, it's a very busy pedestrian avenue and they don't set up police lines....Plus, the officer didn't cite Brent for interfering, he lied and fabricated the sitting incident.

Also, we do not know that the individual was being "legally" searched, and Brent was not in error, Brent said he heard the officer asking if he could search the individuals are twisting what Brent said had happened to suit your own agenda.
by Observed's not Brent's call whether a search is legal or not. That's the province of judges. People who butt into police business while it's happening may not be warmly received. Brent could have kept his mouth shut, observed, and if he felt the cop was out of line either filed a complaint or talked with the searchee after the action was over - to provide contact info for any court action. Oh well....
by Observing Observer
But you said the person was being "legally searched," so which is it now? Were you just saying that to twist the facts your way?

Citizens do have the responsibility of judging police behavior as cops do their job. They can do so as reporters, as Brent did, or they can even intervene physically and arrest a cop themselves if they see one breaking the law.

I don't recommend people do that, but they certainly should if the cops are about to kill someone.

Sadly, no one intervened in the police killing of Kelley Thomas, but people should have.

Brent was doing what he should have been doing, and the cop lied and falsely cited him.

Ahlers is a bad cop, and you are facilitating that unjust behavior in our community.
by Lying Cops Scare Shoppers
There isn't enough space on Pacific Avenue for police to constantly conduct probation checks...the public sidewalks downtown are not suitable to be used as a detainment office/center for every possible police use.

It's bad for civil liberties and it's bad

In the past, people used to actively and effectively oppose the presence of ANY regular police patrols downtown whatsoever....
by Robert Norse
Brent got screwed because he challenged the authority of the cop by watching and commenting. He was obviously not really obstructing or interfering (or he would have been charged with that misdemeanor crime). Nor was he sitting. Leaning and squatting--according to the 2002 debates on the Sitting Ban (which specifically considered that question) rejected "leaning", much as fashion-conscious merchants wanted to include it.

The Sitting Ban has nothing to do with obstructing the sidewalk, obstructing officers, or public safety. It has to do with obstructing poor and counterculture folks (or anyone the merchants find unsightly) and giving maximum discretion to the police so they can move people along. That's why Measure S was recently defeated in Berkeley. The Berkeley service providers, three members of the Berkeley City Council and the local ACLU mobilized against it.

Of course, we haven't heard a peep from Ken Cole (head of the Housing Authority), nor Monica Martinez (Executive Director of the Homeless Lack of Services Center), nor the local ACLU, nor--of course--any City Council members. Our City Council unanimously voted to increase the penalties and scope of the Ban in 2009.

Copwatching is legal and important. I spoke with two observers who witnessed the entire "trial". Judge Volkman reported reprimanded Adams for his copwatching activity, suggesting it was a "lesson" for him. If "shut up, close your eyes, and keep moving" is the lesson, I suggest we fire the teacher.

The current Sitting Ban (so-called since it bans sitting in 90% of the sidewalk in business, downtown, and beach districts) is a nasty ordinance which has never had a real constitutional challenge (as Berkeley's did).

9.50.012 Sitting Down on Sidewalks in Designated City Zones: In the C-C community commercial, C-N neighborhood commercial, C-B commercial beach, CBD central business district, and R-T tourist residential zoning districts, no person shall sit upon the following enumerated portions of a public sidewalk: (a) At any bus stop; (b) Within fourteen feet of any building. Where any portion of a building is recessed from the public sidewalk, the fourteen feet shall be measured from the point at which the building abuts the sidewalk; (c) Within fifty feet of any ATM machine or cash disbursal machine, or any other outdoor machine or device which disburses or accepts coins or paper currency except parking meters and newspaper vending machines; (d) Within fourteen feet of any fence that abuts a public sidewalk; (e) Within fourteen feet of any drinking fountain, public telephone, public bench, public trash compactor, information or directory/map sign, sculpture or artwork displayed on public property, or vending cart; (f) Within fourteen feet of any street corner or intersection; (g) Within fourteen feet of any open air dining area or cafe extension; or (h) Within fourteen feet of any kiosk.

Since most sidewalks are 10' wide in all other places than Pacific Ave, this simply bans sitting where there are buildings--period. It's designed to "clear away the riffraff" and give us the Shopping Mall look. The latest 2009 twist was to include "sculptures" and "directory signs" as creators of 14' forbidden zones. As well as increasing penalties on "unattended" tickets to create both (a) a new misdemeanor crime (MC 4.04.015) and (b) the right to charge every subsequent infraction crime, no matter how petty or irrelevant as a misdemeanor ((MC 4.04.010(4)).

Other ordinances that involve the creation of "forbidden" zones have warning provisions. Benches, for instance, have a ridiculous 1-hour restriction.

On those benches that still remain that is--three have recently been removed on Cooper St., perhaps at the behest of the noxious Nextspace, a Coonerty-founded business.

For instance 9.50.12, Sitting down on Public Benches in Designated Zones, which forbids you to "sit down upon or otherwise occupy a public bench or use a public bench to store property for more than a total of one hour during any given twelve-hour period" has a second provision that "No person shall be cited under this section unless he or she has first been notified by a police officer, public officer or downtown host that he or she is in violation of the prohibition in this section, and thereafter continues the violation."

Not so with the Sitting Ban.

For more fun fuck-you-over ordinances, check out "Deadly Downtown Ordinances--Update" at .

For another account of the fun-loving Officer Ahlers, see "Selective Enforcement and Harassment by Santa Cruz Police on Pacific Avenue" at

Since we have a hopeless City Council, responding to the agenda of Take Back Santa Cruz, the SCPD, the SC Neighbors, and the DTA, I've fond the best response is to do what Brent tried to do: point out the abusive behavior of the police, hosts, and private security thugs.

When you do this, I suggest you address passersby, keep at least 10' away from the incident. Take a step back if asked. Document what you're doing with a phonevid or some other device, and try to have a second witness with you. Often cops will stop and park their running squad cars in the middle of the street to deal with the "emergency" of a "criminal sitter".

Alerting the public walking by to this has often, I've found, shortened the police action and encouraged them to move on to more sensible priorities.

It's also quite appropriate to fine a formal Internal Affairs Complaint with the Professional Standards Unit of the SCPD or contact the City's so-called "Independent" Police Auditor with your concerns. You don't have to be the target of the abuse. You just have to witness what you felt was wasteful, abusive, or uncalled-for police behavior.

An on-line form to fill out when you witness or experience abusive behavior of any kind from the SCPD can be found at . Just make sure you check #5 at the end, indicating it's a "complaint" and not a "Comment" or any of the other classifications that are essentially irrelevant.

Robert H. Aaronson is the auditor. He wanders in occasionally from his roost in Palo Alto to collect 20Gs a year or more, never bothering to issue a written report that I've heard about. Still it makes a record--and that can count later for others who want to make Pitchess Motions in court challenging an officer's credibility or violent behavior in a future case. Aaronson's e-mail is not given, but is on the City website as a form at .His phone is given as 650-565-8800.

Again--the purpose of these is not to expect any kind of justice or accountability. Rather to simply make a record. If you do complain to either Aaronson or the SCPD, please post a copy on line as well.
by He said, he said
"I had commissioner Kim Baskett disqualified so that the case would be heard in a regular court and the officer would have to be sworn in."

Commissioner Baskett's department is a regular court. All witnesses are sworn in. If she convicted you on the infraction, you could still have had a de novo hearing and retried the case before a Superior Court judge and forced the cop to testify a second time. Now you're screwed and can only appeal on legal grounds since Judge Volkmann already ruled on the facts and concluded that the cop's story was more convincing.
by He Said, He Lies
The judge said he was "siding with the people," not that the cop's story was more convincing.

It's sad that you are defending a lying cop and a bad judge.

No wonder the downtown cant fill all of its retail vacancies.
by Downtown Business Owner
Pacific Avenue is some of the most valuable real estate in the area, and Santa Cruz police are conducting dozens of probation checks right on the main pedestrian walkway every week.

This is horrible for business.

It gives the appearance that people are constantly breaking the law downtown, which they are not. They may not have even committed the original crime downtown, but because they are on probation, they are detained, searched and questioned, often in front of large numbers of tourists and shoppers who become scared of the area as a result.

There are a lot of problems downtown, but these countless and constant probation checks have not been shown to reduce crime in the area.

This is no way to handle probation. The downtown is becoming a police circus.
by mr. twisiter
"The judge said he was siding with the people"

That's People, as in People versus. Folk mon, what else would anyone expect with a judge named "Volkmann"? The guy's lucky he didn't get Almquist or Gallagher and spend the weekend in jail for contempt.

"not that the cop's story was more convincing."

The cop made it all about a dictionary and eight inches, masterfully conjoining the verbal and the quantitative. Rather than testifying, the defendant should have simply questioned the witness, did you tell me to sit or squat?
Calling him a 'bad cop' insinuates that there is such thing as a cop who is anything other than bad. When you give them the benefit of the doubt, engage them in any way, you are opening yourself up to being harassed, beaten, arrested, or anything else they feel like. Cops get away with 99.99% of the shit they do. Don't think that this is some special case where you suffered some injustice at the hands of some bad cop and corrupt judge. All Cops Are Bastards.
by Dr.G.
The info you have provided is well thought out, and helps the public understand something about how the system works.
...were doing a Starsky & Hutch Toodie/Muldoon Car 54 routine last May when the sweeps first began in a plain black wrapper stopping bicyclists... Targeting specific riders. They pulled me over for allegedly not stopping at a stop sign which I HAD stopped for because I KNEW they were right next to me. When they stopped me they DID NOT pull up behind me, they stopped so close to my left side that I couldn't put my foot down correctly and fell against the car.

When they got out of the car they proffered the idea that I had damaged their car, and as I was sitting on the ground (which they did not ticket me for) the asian guy was over my shoulder like an interrogator badgering me about how there had just been "The first conviction for vehicular homicide by bike" and I looked at the clown in the picture above asking:

Does internal affairs know about you? I mean... I hate to say it but you seem REALLY corrupt."

The response: "How would YOU know?"

I retorted (because I have a mean streak like them): I dunno. Maybe I was a cop...

That paused them for a few seconds... Then the clown said "Yeah.. You were probably a dirty one".

I'm STILL laughing about that.

Needless to say, they also ticketed me later that week for "Locking my bike to a parking meter" outside the library. The bike wasn't locked to the meter and hadn't been but they lied and said they saw it despite the fact they had just spent the last 15 minutes before harassing another homeless bike rider around the corner in front of the library where they couldn't see me..

By the end of May last year I had FOUR utterly perjured tickets... Two by these guys, and Azua wrote the other two. "Smoking near a bench" off Pacific and "disobeying a police officer" for not abiding by his first command to put the cigarette out.

The reason for the 'disobeying'? I was at least 40 feet back from Pacific so I simply ignored him. When he got out and reconsidered that I was really "Smoking near a bench" (never checked the validity of that), I immediately put the cig out because he MAY HAVE been correct.

So he wrote the "Disobeying an officer" for ignoring his first ILLEGITIMATE demand. Nice.

But there IS 'justice', of sorts.

A little while later (20 min or so) I was standing on Pacific as he drove by with a snide wave just as a "Yuppie" pulling a trailer with his son in a trailer rode up the sidewalk.

I shouted at Azua: "HEY! You gonna give this Yuppie a ticket or are the laws around here selective?"

Azua drove off with a stupid grin never flashing his brakelights and the "Yuppie" with trailer dismounted in front of Noah's bagels. I said "Sorry man I didn't mean to drag you into this but..."

He smiled and cut me off: "It's ok.. I used to be a public defender in the Bay Area and I KNOW how they are. I just want to point out I'm not really a rich yuppie...".

All in all what's happened to Brent and I and hundreds of other less than rich in Santa Cruz is a ticket mill scam where they're writing often absolutely illegitimate tickets (drunks are good for that.. The SCPD's meal ticket.. They can't coherently testify as to what happened because they were drunk) to people they KNOW can't or won't pay, and since the cites go to collection instead of warrant, they make money on the percentage from the state mandated collection agency.

Do you doubt they know what their cut is in advance?

I've suspected what all the 'sweeping' was really about last year... besides harassment and dissuasion/terrorism, was the SCPD attempting to recoup their occupy/75River related expenses at the expense of the homeless.

That was part of the argument I put before the ACLU board last September in a ten minute presentation that was well-received but un-acted on.

As I told them at that time... I think the State REALLY needs to come in and do a breakdown of the ticket writing habits of the SCPD and a Perjury investigation... The ticket writing habits would be MUCH easier to attack, moreso than the laws, and in any event the selectivity and hypocrisy... potential illegality of those laws would show in a sociological and economic breakdown of the nuisance tickets the SCPD write almost exclusively to the homeless.
by Mr. 4th Amendment
"I am a lover of love and a hater of hate. I challenge injustice wherever I find it: cops who stop folks for watching them, and the judges who side with them. The greater injustice is that anyone can be stripped of their constitutional rights for previous violations which no one but those in power know about.

I invite you to join the fight! But let this tale be a warning to all would-be cop-watchers. Don't be surprised when those in positions of power fight back."

by John E. Colby
Berkeley has an excellent, long established cop watching program. I recommend learning from them to organize a Santa Cruz one.
by Denica De Foy
As a woman in CA, I can say from experience that the police can and do use undue force, abuse their power and generally make me feel unsafe now. One experience of mine from a traffic warrant resulted in my being molested by a male officer, threatened with rape and being held without the right to a phone call in Monterey. In Santa Cruz, police have dumped water on a homeless Vet, done checks on "ethnic" looking people, and have taken my aside for harassment simply because I am a protestor. In San Fran I was hit by a motorcycle cop while walking in a celebration of the Occupy community. I say this not for pity but to show some people who have limited experience with the police that they do not catch "bad guys" in my opinion - They have become them. It is time the communities decide what they want from THEIR public servants. The over reach and abuse of power by Gov forces has to be addressed in a real way. Thank you all for thinking of this matter.
by where is the video?
sad that there is no video of the event. copwatch should always be done with more than one person, so you can film each other. police are too dangerous to confront without backup.
berkely copwatch site has very good info on how to do copwatch effectivly.
but when i go to santa cruz copwatch i see a site not updated since 2009. and i see that the newer Bad cop santa cruz site hasn't been updated since 2011.

either the cops in your town aren't that bad or the activists in your town aren't that good.
"The cops said they would make things hard for us, if we didn't get you to leave." - Anon drug dealer, revealing deal with police

Today on Feb 3rd (2013) Drug dealers in People's Park have admitted today that Berkeley Police has recently asked them to assault local cop-watchers in retaliation against a complaint being heard by the Berkeley Police Review Commission which involves local police reform and Occupy activists. The dealers explained that the police have made a deal that BPD would look the other way provided they would keep cop-watchers out of People's Park and off of Telegraph Ave.

Read more
by RazerRay
"The cops said they would make things hard for us, if we didn't get you to leave." - Anon drug dealer, revealing deal with police "

It's the OTHER WAY. Police LUV drug dealers.

In 'chemicalland' as I like to call it, the police collect payola and there's "suits' all the way up to the director of the CIA. OF COURSE drug dealers cooperate with the police.

Otoh and in general, people predisposed to dealing drugs for a living have the ethics of sharks and would only do the bare minimum to get them by. It's called "The Slippery Survive" to use a phrase. They might NEED CopWatch around some day to tell them all about the bennies the PD was offering for their tacit minimal support.
by RazerRay
Colby... The "dangerous criminals" are the police. Most street dealers are, by any sociological analysis, victims. Can you wrap your mind around that simple fact and 'keep your eye on the multi-faceted ball' that symbolizes "Class War"? Next thing we know you'll be recruiting for a 'CopWatch anti-drug dealer vigilance committee'.

TBSC would be glad to assist you with that (snigger)
by John E. Colby
Auntie Imperial is right. The police do love drug dealers. From observations at my apartment complex, I believe the Santa Cruz Police Department (SCPD) turned a dangerous methamphetamine abuser/dealer whose illegal activities I reported to them into a narcotics informant cooking methamphetamine.

I watched for several months from my front porch and bedroom window as apparent undercover officers trained this drug dealer to cook methamphetamine in his backyard.

Apparently the SCPD dropped a methamphetamine cooker in the middle of a Section 8 apartment complex unknown to HUD and the rest of the federal government. I believe HUD is very angry about this. It seems that HUD is not taking this lightly.

This is consistent with reports from other Santa Cruz citizens who complain that they can't get the SCPD to remove drug houses from their neighborhoods. One elderly woman reported to me that she was going to sell her house because it was the only way she could escape from the meth house next door.

This alleged collusion between the SCPD and dangerous drug dealers is what Santa Cruz should be marching to the City Council about. The homeless are merely a convenient diversion for alleged SCPD corruption.
by RazerRay
...and you've turned it into a rant about an alleged neighborhood 'cooker'.

I just wanted to mostly point out you've misused my words because you lack a basic political or social analysis of the world around you, and Meth Cookers next door notwithstanding, this isn't a bitch session about the state of your neighborhood. The right wing jerk who runs Cafe Benne once had the audacity to call his new Mexican renter neighbors in his nice homeowner Keystone Ave neighborhood "drug dealers" because their kids left their toys on the lawn and the neighbors had relatives stopping by.

What you're saying reminds me ALOT of his level of social analysis... He's a "Birther" Libertarian.
by John E. Colby
I agree with Ray that many criminals are victims of a cruel mechanistic system meant to punish dissent by destroying communities of resistance. However, victims often become victimizers. A murderer can be both a victim of society and a victimizer. However that does not mean that we should overlook that a murderer has killed and may kill again.

Derrick Jensen, in his provocative book "The Culture of Make Believe" explained how the dangerous criminals he taught at a maximum security prison in Northern California were merely mimicking the Capitalist behavior of larger criminals in corporate boardrooms and the executive offices of government. Certainly those who destroy entire nations, communities and order the assassination of individuals w/o due process are more criminal than the dealer turned cooker in my apartment complex.

Still, some of these criminals who might be victims are still dangerous. Many are beyond rehabilitation. Thus I oppose the War on Drugs while I admit that drug dealers and meth cookers can be extremely dangerous to an apartment complex, to a community, and to their own families. They can be even more dangerous when misused by the police and the government.
by RazerRay
Drug dealers don't WORK for police departments... as you said they most likely mimic capitalist behavior, which means they work for themselves, and as such provide only the most minimal functions as snitch/provocateurs (typically 'dry') for the police.

The police are much more liable to use them as poster children for the 'militarization', dividing and conquering of a given neighborhood or a community. Such as is being pandered to here by the notion that Drug Dealers are in consort with the police against Berekley's CopWatch.

Ever consider the drug dealer who mentioned that little tidbit is the one whose working for the BPD?

Didn't think so.

Also, I still don't believe you have a neighbor 'cooking meth'. Do you KNOW how bad that smells, like ether wash, for literally hundreds of yards away?

That's why the labs are in rural areas... all over the US, and they ARE paranoids. NO ONE SEES their labs. No less out your living room window in an apartment complex.

I think you're totally off topic for this thread and I'm not going to discuss it any further
you know you're winning when they start threatening your life. cop watching is only for the bravest of activists. thank for your service Brent, you are an example for the rest of us.

now i understand why we have a needle problem in santa cruz.

why isn't TBSC holding scpd responsible for the needle problem?
by Linda Lemaster
I imagine if I were among our elected reps, I'd blame the folks getting PR monies or other concessions from City of SC. Like the Visitors Bureau, the Downtown Assn., and secondly the Cops. It's not welfare it is compensation. And if I were a part of some Neighbors' clique, I'd be helping document "good cop" and "bad cop" record-keeping. Seeing how rudderless the cop shop is, I'd be very concerned.
by John E. Colby
Typeset a 8.5 x 11 inch poster with PO Ahler's mugshot on it titled "BAD COP" below his picture. Print a telephone number to report incidents involving PO Ahlers on it. Run off about a hundred copies. Paper Santa Cruz (telephone) poles, especially downtown, with this poster.

PO Ahlers must be tarred with the scarlet letter he deserves.
by Steve Pleich (spleich [at]
As usual, we misidentify the real criminals. The real criminals are the sit/lie laws that are unreasonable as to place, time and manner, downtown ordinances that are selectively applied to those who seek only to assert their constitutional rights to freedom of assembly and freedom of movement and the political will of the business community masquerading as public policy.
by John E. Colby
"The real criminals are the sit/lie laws that are unreasonable as to place, time and manner, downtown ordinances that are selectively applied to those who seek only to assert their constitutional rights to freedom of assembly and freedom of movement and the political will of the business community masquerading as public policy."

I believe that Steve is conflating two things: there is a criminal system of legislation passed by Santa Cruz City Councils to legislate away what the business community sees as undesirable behavior while there are (many) individuals actors within the Santa Cruz Police Department and the local Judiciary who work within this criminal system to deprive people of their constitutional rights to freedom of assembly and freedom of movement as well as freedom of expression.

Laws do not exist in a vacuum.
by Hoover logic
I find it interesting that you acknowledge that laws don't exist in a vacuum, but deny the reality that these very laws exist specifically because they are the will of the majority of our community.

It's a fantasy to pretend that only a small cabal of business owners are quietly and secretly shaping the laws and policy of Santa Cruz. The reality is that the majority has grown tired of a small minority of people whose behavior and activity in the downtown we believehave made it an undesirable environment for the majority of the community. As such, we've spoken to our leaders and supported them in the enforcement of new laws and regulations.

The simple truth is that the majority is ruling right now. Your attempts to avoid acknowledging that reality by blaming it on shady backroom deals or a secretive little group of people playing machiavellian games behind locked doors is a delusional tactic. The truth is simple: you're in the minority and you've been outnumbered by the opposition.

Case in point: Brent. He wasn't singled out and harassed. He singled himself out by harassing. He interfered with legal and legitimate police business. He also did the guy being searched a disservice by providing him with incorrect information. Glad the guy didn't listen to Brent and refuse to be searched; he could have gotten in even more trouble if he'd of done so.

Cause and effect ; that's the reality going on here. Putting up posters to "shame" the police? That's a childish game.
by John E. Colby
The facts of Brent's experience is that PO Ahlers abused his position of authority to punish Brent for speaking out. If Brent had truly interfered with PO Ahlers then Ahlers should have cited Brent for interfering with a police officer — but PO Ahlers did not.

PO Ahlers ordered Brent to sit, then cited him for sitting. This is an abuse of power. When Judge Volkmann punished Brent for interfering with a police officer although Brent was cited for sitting, the judge abused his position of authority.

The point is that if laws can be bended and misused to punish people police officers and judges don't like then it will lead to lawlessness — under such conditions you can't expect anyone to legitimately respect the authority of police officers and judges.

PO Ahlers and Judge Volkmann are enemies of the very systems they work within. Once all respect for their authority is lost then complete lawlessness will ensue. Yet if PO Ahlers and Judge Volkmann represent the majority of their peers, then these individuals and institutions do not deserve our respect — they are illegitimate.

I believe that PO Ahlers must be outed to the community so that other officers will be reluctant to follow his example. Ultimately community opinion should sanction bad police officers and judges: they must be hauled into the light of community approbation.
by judgeWatch
why do the cops care if any one cop watches?
what do the police have to hide?

perjury is a crime.

santa cruz is a corrupt town.

"It is a problem so pervasive, the FBI says public corruption is now its No. 1 criminal focus. "

REAL citizens video the cops.
freedom isn't free

"There is enough evidence the Denver Police Department harbors a culture of abuse and coverup that the city can be put on trial for it, a federal judge has ruled in a scathing order.

U.S. District Judge William J. Martinez concluded there is evidence the Police Department fails to train officers adequately on use of force, fails to investigate or punish instances of excessive force and tolerates a code of silence surrounding abuse."
by RazerRay
"It is a problem so pervasive, the FBI says *public corruption* is now its No. 1 criminal focus."~~ABC News
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