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Indybay Feature
Tue Jan 20 2015 (Updated 01/22/15)
Santa Cruz Residents Continue to Call for Police to "Give Back the BearCat"
Hundreds Protest Approval of Police Attack Vehicle Purchase at City Council Meeting
On January 13, hundreds of residents attempted to attend the Santa Cruz City Council meeting to oppose the council's December decision which approved a police department request to accept Homeland Security grants totaling more than $250,000 earmarked for the purchase of an armored attack vehicle. When residents first found out in early December about the proposed purchase, police described it as an "emergency response and rescue vehicle" in a report sent to city council members prepared by Deputy Chief of Police Steve Clark and approved by Chief of Police Kevin Vogel. The public later found out that police intended to purchase a Lenco "BearCat." BearCat is an acronym, standing for Ballistic Engineered Armored Response Counter Attack Truck.

Shortly after the December 9 BearCat approval, a group of activists met with Mayor Lane to discuss the issue, and they were invited to give a short presentation on January 13, which was delivered by Abbi Samuels of Santa Cruz Food Not Bombs. She spoke on behalf of a coalition of eight individuals which included members of the local chapters of the ACLU, WILPF, People's Democratic Club, Code Pink, and Food Not Bombs, as well as a first responder and a civil rights activist. The purpose of the presentation, Samuels said, was to give reasons why the BearCat order should be rescinded, as well as to introduce a proposal to change the process by which the City of Santa Cruz acquires grants.

Community members continue to circulate a petition calling for the city council to "Give Back the BearCat," and another protest at City Hall is planned for Tuesday, January 27.

imc_photo.gif Read More with Photos | See Also: Escalated Government Attacks on Homeless, Journalism, & Public Criticism: Santa Cruz & SJ || imc_pdf.gif Public Records Released by the SPCD on the Bearcat

Previous Coverage: Protesters Shut Down City Council Meeting after Purchase of Armored Vehicle Approved
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