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"Homeless People Matter" Protest Gets Honks, Volunteers, at Cop Corner
by Robert Norse
Monday Dec 22nd, 2014 12:57 PM
Following up on concerns about SCPD racial and homeless profiling (where groups are targeted or selectively ticketed) Cafe HUFF returned to Laurel and Center Streets right outside the police parking lot Wednesday afternoon (12-17). Numerous new and young faces joined the familiar HUFF regulars to hold up signs, give out flyers, offer brownies and coffee passersby, and gather signatures. Additional concerns of the protesters were the slippery process used to acquire the "Bearcat" armored personel "rescue" vehicle and SCPD's withholding of when, where, and by whom it used tasers, batons, choke holds, and other such tactic. In the wake of Ferguson, our purpose was to focus on specific local concerns that seemed missing from larger protests.
The 2 1/2 hour vigil began under cloudy skies with a few of us, a small table, and a handful of signs. It ultimately grew to 15 people holding placards, giving interviews, rushing out to vehicles to provide literature, and sharing Cafe HUFF coffee and chips.

This was our third HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship and Freedom) protest at Cop Corner urging the community to compel police transparency and accountability. See "Race andClass Bias in the SCPD: What's the Real Story?" at .

Two European musicians, several traveler guitarists, and singer Briana Brewer provided nearly continuous music. As the afternoon progressed, more and more cars honked approval or showed "thumbs up" to our cries of "Black People Matter!" "Homeless People Matter" "Don't Shoot! and other chants that have become standard in protests stemming from the murder of Mike Brown and others by police departments across the country.

Several raggedy wayfarers took the opportunity to lay down their backpacks and go to sleep on the sidewalk in the shadow of the protest. Signs and literature urged an end to the perpetual police assault on homeless people through such laws as the City's Sleeping Ban, the Mathews-Terazzas "Stay-Away" orders, and the pressure against the outdoor poor in the Pogonip, downtown, and in the parks.

Also at issue and more recently in the public eye was Homeland Security's latest Xmas toy to our urban para-military--the BearCat armored personnel vehicle. More horrifically known as the Ballistic Engineered Armored Response Counter Attack Truck, this acquisition and City Council's police-fluffing procedures on December 9th prompted the first time a Mayor recessed a meeting under fire in nearly two decades. Brent Adams video and unanswered questions by activists sent to Mayor Lane are posted at .

Free Radio broadcaster and researcher John Malkin will be replaying his discussion of the issue with John Sandidge and Mayor Don Lane on Wednesday 12-24 at 7 PM on (101.3 FM).

"Keeping Up the Pressure: Wednesday Protest at Cop Corner" at describes some of the broader issues some HUFF activists are pressing for, in addition to blocking the armored personnel "rescue" vehicle.

In early July, I formally requested where, when, by whom, against whom, and why "use of force" was reported.

After a delay of several weeks to a previous Public Records Act demand, Drechsler declined to release any documents (as required by law) but did provide the following summary:

"Types of Force Number of Uses
Taser 39
Baton 4
Hands 6
Elbow 3
Knee 2
OC 1
[No information was provided regarding when officers drew or used their guns]"

After some back and forth and a delay of many months, the SCPD records worker Jacqui Drechsler released an uninformative summary of 5 police reports--none of them providing relevant information. We haven't yet asked about injuries and hospitalizations. A follow-up request asking for the specific reasons for withholding the information has not yet been answered.

Democracy Now! reported today: "Protests against police brutality and racial profiling continued in New York City over the weekend, with actions including a sit-in at Brooklyn’s Atlantic Center Mall on Saturday and a silent march in Harlem on Sunday.

"More than 1,500 demonstrators shut down Minnesota’s Mall of America for several hours on Saturday afternoon calling for justice in the cases of Eric Garner and Michael Brown. At least 25 people were arrested.

"One day earlier, dozens of protesters were arrested in Milwaukee after blocking traffic on a major highway for over an hour. The action centered on the case of Dontre Hamilton, an unarmed mentally disabled black man shot dead during a confrontation with a police officer on April 30. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has called up the National Guard to be on standby.

It's important that Santa Cruz police accountability activists intensify their local focus and extend solidarity to activists fighting similar issues across the country. Though mainstream media is now dripping with apologies, excuses, and sympathy for police and the officials who love them, the upsurge of outrage is continuing. Please post any upcoming actions, new research, or individual experiences---video is particularly helpful.


A Public Records Act request has secured Officer Azua's citation and arrest record. Unfortunately (and curiously) racial stats were omitted.

Because the SCPD has not (so far) provided summaries of citations issued by race, it will be necessary to handcheck and handcount all citations issued by Azua. In the case of Officer Barnett it became clear that he gave out 7 times as many citations to black community members than would have been expected from their representation in the community. See "No Ferguson in Santa Cruz: Stop Local Racial and Class Profiling" at

Prior HUFF protests have not noticeably altered the SCPD's support for Barnett, but have raised awareness. See"HUFF Releases Evidence of SCPD Profiling, Joins National Police Brutality Protests" at .


An earlier protest secured the release of Barnett's citations for public viewing. See "Protesters Demand Faster Response from SCPD Regarding Records Requests" at .

That protest and research at the SCPD revealed the massive disparity of citations given by Officer Barnett to homeless people ("transient" or 115 Coral St. addresses) versus those given to others for such "crimes" as "smoking in a no smoking zone", "trespass in a public parking lot", "panhandling" & "sitting within 14' of a building". See "Report from Cop Corner" at .

Audio from the 12-17 protest will be played on Free Radio 12-25 6-8 PM (at 101.3 FM, and archived at .

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by (posted by) Norse
Tuesday Dec 23rd, 2014 10:31 PM
To view the historic December 9th Council meeting where the entire audience spoke against acquisition of the Bearcat "Rescue" Tank and outgoing Mayor Robinson tried unsuccessfully to shut them down and shut them up, see: This video is "for technical reasons" still not available on the City's website, but I retrieved it from the Community TV website.

Brent Adams more selective video catches some of the discussion during the recess not on the official version and presents a more forceful advocacy perspective: at as mentioned above.
by John Colby (posted by Norse)
Wednesday Dec 24th, 2014 12:00 AM

Colby interviews Katy Keesler at the Cop Corner Protest.
City Council member Micah Posner agreed to be interviewed at the HUFF Police Abuse Protest.
by Robert Norse
Thursday Dec 25th, 2014 4:02 PM
In the last week, I spoke with Councilmember Posner requesting he get a specific and written reply from Deputy-Chief Steve Clark of the SCPD (or some other weighty there) as to the final deadline for agreeing to accept the Bearcat--the specific date.

As mentioned in the main story, I'd already sent the department a Public Records Act demand, which they have ignored so far (even beyond the deadline). Posner expressed anxiety at dealing with Clark, but said he'd make the request to City Manager Martin Bernal, who supposedly oversees the police (and has the power to hire or fire the police chief, I believe).

At the "whisk-it-through" December 9th Council meeting, Posner asked Clark when was the deadline. Clark didn't specify a clear cut-off date, though he made a vaguer reference to "the end of the year".

What Clark said was this: "We have a limited window with UASI [Urban Areas Security Initiative] for the $220,000 which is the base for it. And then we have a window until March to have it completely expended, billed, shipped, and placed here for the additional $31,000, And that's coming from the state Homeland Security, so a delay would imperil our ability to get the $220,000. We have just a short amount of time REALLY THROUGH THE END OF THE YEAR to expend that money and seek reimbursement from the City and County of San Francisco."

Those who want can confirm Clark's comments and draw their own conclusions. Go to the Community TV video (still not posted by the City staff on the City website) at about 112 minutes into the file.

Clark may have honestly and accurately meant that the deadline cutoff with December 31st, 2014. But his failure to specifically name a date bothered me. So I filed a Public Records Act seeking any relevant documents to confirm the date. Clearly the SCPD must have them. But, thus far, they have not produced them.

Accordingly, I turned to Posner for help (usually a questionable move).

Micah: Some days ago, you told me to e-mail you a reminder regarding the specific deadline Steve Clark had in mind that required responding to the Homeland Security BEARCAT request. I have received no response from Lane or from the SCPD.
Please get this information and make it public. Or let me know you're declining to do so.

Ran into your dad today circulating a petition around Sleeping Spaces. Good to see he's still hanging in there.


From: MPosner [at]
To: rnorse3 [at]
Date: Tue, 23 Dec 2014 08:12:56 -0800
Subject: Re: Reminder
Dear Robert,

I think I am going to deal your reasonable request after I get back from vacation next year. It is quite touchy; too touchy for me to do on my way out the door.

Obviously a public record request would be a way for you to get this information directly. May I suggest you talk to John Malkin about doing so.

Micah Posner

From: rnorse3 [at]
To: mposner [at]
CC: jsmalkin [at]; keith [at]; abbisamuels [at]; spleich [at]; pecolbe [at]; john.roncohen.colby [at]
Subject: RE: Reminder
Date: Tue, 23 Dec 2014 13:16:00 -0800
I've already done so, Micah.  And they've failed to reply or ask for an extension within the 10-day response period.  
What's so "touchy" about simply asking in writing for the date of the supposed Bearcat cutoff for accepting the grant?

You ill-serve your constituency by (a) not keeping your word, (b) not showing some leadership here, and (c) not modeling what needs to be done. 

The more you bow, scrape, and delay, the more you leave it to other more militant voices to risk their asses (not just their "political capital")  to make sure the machine doesn't roll forward over the body of the community with you timidly looking on. 

Oh, yeah, I forgot.  You "voted against it."

(And this was after conceding you'd vote for it if there was a "don't use this against protesters" hope and prayer)


Another activist, John Colby, interviewed Posner, who stopped by the protest on 12-17. He had kinder words for the former bicycle advocate-turned-politician who I've alternately termed "Mouseheart Micah" (for his failure to ask hard questions of staff and police on numerous occasions) and "Portapotty" Posner (for his failure to press for open restrooms--instead being content with the portapotty set up at Front and Laurel streets).

Not to mention "Bikechurch Betrayer" for not taking stronger action to expose and fight the SCPD's right-wing "no bikes for bums" bikenapping campaign in 2012 (See "Restoring Bikes to the Bike Church For Distribution is NOT on the Agenda" at

Colby's interview is archived at .

Videojournalist Brent Adams, who posted his own video of the December 9th Council Shut-Out, spoke with Peter McGettigan. McGettigan is the video worker who films Council meetings for Community TV and then posts them, sometimes the next day. His video of the City Council meeting is posted at on the Community TV website. However, normally he is paid to post the same video on the City Council's website at .

According to Adams, McGettigan told him that he went in to post the tumultuous Council session the next day as usual, but was told to go home, that an intern would be taking his place, and then, presumably to return at the end of the Xmas break in time for the next Council meeting. He was not given any advance notice of this change. He said it was unprededented, unusual, and done without explanation.

In the days that followed (and currently) the Council's website had the following message: "December 9, 2014 City Council Meeting - Due to technical difficulties with our audio system, this audio file is not available." And there was no video posted.
by @
Thursday Dec 25th, 2014 10:50 PM
foia uasi if you really want to know.

posner did what he could. the vote on his amendment revealed that this is not a defensive vehicle for rescue and protection.
it is an armored attack vehicle to be used against peaceful protesters.
by Razer Ray
Friday Dec 26th, 2014 11:35 AM
According to the manufacturer's site the primary purpose of this vehicle is officer protection. It's a 'rolling fort', with no room for 'the rescued' inside... no less the provisions and facilities needed to medically treat the injured etc. It's simply an up-armored Ford pick up truck that's not even capable of protecting the officers from the PRIMARY, globally available (Ferguson, Greece, Spain, Bahrain...) weapon used by civilians attacking law enforcement... See above.

I propose a public test of it's officer safety features. I'LL spring for the gasoline, the city can spring for the pig and apple.

We'll draw straws for testers at the next city council meeting and bring a firetruck to the event. Put it in the hole where the BSSC and Roaster used to be to prevent the resulting inferno from spreading.

If the pig sizzles, it's inadequate fore the purpose of even simple officer protection and we can send the charred remnants back to the manufacturer as unsuitable for the task.

THEN we can have a luau!
by Dr. John Cohen-Colby
(john.roncohen.colby [at] Saturday Dec 27th, 2014 12:20 PM
I was preparing a Freedom of Information (FOI) attack on the Santa Cruz Police Department (SCPD) followed by an interview with their new media spokesperson — according to Micah's newsletter Clark has been removed from his post as the SCPD spokesperson over the Leonie Sherman libelous assault claiming she was a dangerous anarchist (obvious police interference in electoral politics that is at least unethical and worst illegal under state and federal voting laws).

I'll add to my request all records about the supposed deadline. This is going to President Obama's Press Office, to the U.S. Senate and to the (regional, national and international) media. The SCPD would be unwise to ignore my FOI attack. It would embarrass The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and President Obama. If they ignore me, then I'll submit a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the DHS. One way or another I'll get this information or find that Clark was lying (again!).
by John Cohen-Colby, Ph.D.
Saturday Dec 27th, 2014 12:25 PM
RR: If I was you I would comment really quickly that you were joking. Otherwise you might receive an unwanted visit from the great poobah Clark himself backed up by a SWAT team. Just suggesting...
Former Cabrillo College student and homeless musician Brianna Brewer validated my claim to the USDOJ and the U.S. Senate that the Santa Cruz Police Department (SCPD) is misusing outrageous, illegal Downtown ordinances — like SCPD CSO Bradly Barnett tried to do to my client Kate Wenzell (the "Scarf Lady") — to chase (emotionally and economically vulnerable) homeless people out of Downtown Santa Cruz, eventually out of town altogether. SCPD Officer Bill Winston — who homeless people report to be a serial harasser — was the culprit who abused Brianna. Although Brianna brought money into City of Santa Cruz coffers just by being here, the SCPD treated her like what City Council member Pamela Comstock called "sidewalk clutter"(to be swept away using outrageous, illegal Downtown ordinances with selective enforcement). This is akin to ethnic cleansing, a crime against humanity.

Furthermore, Brianna declined to name the judges who mistreated her (out of fear of retaliation). I suspect Commissioner Kim Baskett was the culprit. Homeless people have reported she is bigoted against them and also doesn't care about disability laws. That was validated when Bsaskett allowed Mission Gardens criminal and dangerous drug abuser Robin Jansen to slander me in her court then use Baskett to violate my medical privacy by forcing me to disclose my disability, which is confidential medical information. Under California law, an attorney could sue Baskett for $25K for this violation. I named Baksett as a respondent in a USDOJ Fair Housing Complaint because of this. I hope to have Baskett prosecuted by a U.S. Attorney and have her taken off the bench for unethical and illegal misconduct.

My sister and I also noted that Baskett seems to be bigoted towards people of color, discriminating against them, denying them due process.
by Razer Ray
Saturday Dec 27th, 2014 2:08 PM
[Image: a Bearcat test volunteer... Excellent throwing style! Suppose he can get an H1-B visa as "QA engineer"?]

John... There's NOTHING in my comment that would be considered a threat to anyone... Are YOU suggesting that I'M suggesting we put an apple in Clark's mouth and torch the thing? Because I meant, literally, a pig with an apple, Hawaiian style, but roasted instead of turned on a spit.

Be careful John... Freudian psychology MAY be used against you in a court of law after your trip the the BHU... Then it's SHU 4 U bud.

Link: HAW HAW HAW! Have A Subversive X-Mas "A Decade of Subversion Free DVD Download" from the Stimulator @Submedia
by Razer Ray
Saturday Dec 27th, 2014 2:14 PM
She isn't homeless... Has not been at any time I remember, and the rest of your post is most likely just as full of fallacious statements John. I'm not going to mention which ones specifically b/c I don't want to cause a change in SCPD's tack towards humane behavior on the homeless in weather like this and I'd advise you to simply STFU.
A female accordionist from the Basque Country and her boyfriend guitarist, an emigre from the Ural Mountains in Russia to France, both played at the HUFF Police Abuse Protest on December 17th, 2014 next to the Santa Cruz Police Station.

They described their alternative way of life, how they had been traveling to get away from "the system" in France and to engage the world. In France they created an alternative village community living off the land. They described how there is an Occupy like movement in France in response to French Neo-liberal austerity policies to dismantle the Social Democractic state. They said it was likely the current government would be brought down by protests. In Lyon they participated in an occupation which was destroyed — like in Santa Cruz — by the local police.

They are returning to Mexico to renew their tourist visas. They had good experiences being traveling musicians in both Mexico and in San Francisco (where the authorities cut them slack because they are French). They just got to Santa Cruz — their first day here — so they haven't experienced any police harassment.

Their way of life is exactly what the Santa Cruz Police Department and successive City Council's have tried so diligently to stamp out. Santa Cruz no longer has a sizable counter-culture, instead being a suburban town where only homeowners and wealthy professionals can afford to live (comfortably). Former Mayor Ryan Coonerty tried to rebrand Santa Cruz from what made it unique: these two show Santa Cruz still draws those with an alternative vision no matter how harshly "the system" tries to deter them.
Long time political activist and social critics Keith McHenry and Steve Argue place police abuse in a historical context reaching back to the political movements of the 1960s in America and the systemic state violence in response. McHenry describes how he received death threats while in Boston from the Mafia working for the government. McHenry decries racial profiling and the criminalization of homeless people by the Santa Cruz Police Department (SCPD). He describes how what is happening here is part of a national campaign against poor and homeless people under the direction of the U.S. Department of Justice with the Community Oriented Policing (C.O.P.S.) program. Unfortunately McHenry couldn't speak longer because he had other commitments. Like Steven Argue, McHenry criticized the recent approval by the Santa Cruz City Council to purchase the BEARCAT armored assault vehicle with a U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) grant with little public input.

Steven Argue also describes SCPD racial profiling and the assassinations of American Black Panthers and American Indian Movement (AIM) activists. He describes how the FBI and the DHS work in collusion with the local police and even with the mafia. He describes who the police serve and protect: they do this for Capitalist elites not for the general public. He describes billions of dollars being spent to militarize police departments, like the DHS grant the Santa SCPD used to purchase the BEARCAT armored assault vehicle. More to follow...
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