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Indybay Feature
Fri Jul 12 2013 (Updated 07/18/13)
'Black Bloc' Action at Government Center Protests Police Seizure of Homeless Property
Activist Says Property Seizure is Designed To Harass Homeless Out of Santa Cruz
On July 3, an activist served representatives of the Santa Cruz County government with a written notice stating that the Sheriff department's policy of seizing the property of pre-trial homeless detainees violates federal code and the United States Constitution. The notice was accepted, and the activist believes that if a lawsuit is brought against the county, the authorities can not assert that they were unaware of the dangers they subject the homeless to.

The activist served the notice wearing a face mask. He referred to it as a "Black Bloc" tactic and calls himself an "American Revolutionary." He believes strongly that individuals have the right to serve branches of the government with legal papers anonymously. The notice was submitted with a legal brief styled cover letter which listed a plaintiff as "future litigants" and a defendant as Sheriff Phil Wowak. It was titled, "Notice of Deliberate Indifference to the Probable Wrongful Deaths of Indigent Pre-Trial Detainees". The action elicited a heavy response from Sheriff's deputies

An American Revolutionary writes: "The practice of keeping property that the homeless need to survive, for several days or weeks, is yet another tactic used by law enforcement to harass the homeless out of town. Unlike other tactics though, this one can lead to homeless deaths from exposure and hypothermia. I believe there were four homeless deaths from hypothermia in Santa Cruz in 2010."

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