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Activists Say Santa Cruz Police Lied to Secure Armored Vehicle Purchase
by Alex Darocy (alex [at]
Wednesday Jan 28th, 2015 8:59 PM
On January 27, community members held a press conference at Santa Cruz City Hall to reveal information which has added to their belief that police essentially lied in December when seeking the city council's approval to purchase a BearCat (Ballistic Engineered Armored Response Counter Attack Truck) they claim will be used county-wide as an "emergency" vehicle. The purchase of the BearCat, which will be paid for with $250,000 in Homeland Security Department grants, has been widely protested in Santa Cruz by those opposed to the militarization of police. The Santa Cruz Police Department has claimed the nearest vehicle that is equipped similarly to the BearCat they want is located in Santa Clara County and would take 3-4 hours to arrive during an emergency, however activists with the organization SCRAM! (Santa Cruz Resistance Against Militarization!) announced they have found that at least two local law enforcement agencies currently possess armored vehicles. The County of Santa Cruz owns two armored vehicles, they say, and the City of Scotts Valley owns one. [Top video: Journalist John Malkin speaks at the January 27 BearCat press conference. Scroll down for photos.]
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On December 9, Santa Cruz Police informed the city council that if they had possessed an armored vehicle, they would have deployed it when two members of their department were gunned down while on duty in 2013, but SCRAM! members found a photograph that shows Scotts Valley Police's armored vehicle was on the scene during that incident. When activists contacted Scotts Valley Police recently, they were told the SWAT vehicle arrived to aid the SCPD within 20-30 minutes that day.

Journalist John Malkin, who has been working with SCRAM! and others to uncover more information about the SCPD's BearCat purchase through Public Records Act Requests, said that information detailing other agencies' armored vehicle inventories would have been, "very useful to have shared with the city council at the point when they were asked to vote for purchasing a new 250 thousand dollar vehicle."

"Our idea is that it would have given them a better perception of what kind of equipment is available locally, what kind of sharing is possible, and that the vehicle for another reason is not needed for our city," Malkin said.

SCRAM! activists then answered questions from the public and distributed a photo of the Scotts Valley SWAT vehicle in action that was originally published in the news when the Santa Cruz Sentinel and the LA Times reported on the 2013 officer shootings.

After the press conference concluded, community members entered the city council meeting, which was in progress, to speak to the BearCat issue during the oral communications period. They carried with them protest signs with inscriptions such as, "No Thanks To Tanks," "Give Peace A Chance," and "Give Back The BearCat Armored Military Vehicle."

Activist Sherry Conable spoke and reminded city council members that on December 9 she asked that they postpone the BearCat vote because there was not enough information, and because it would "back people into corners, rather than build bridges with the community," she said.

Conable then eloquently stated how she thought Santa Cruz Police had lied:

"I have participated in the public process for 30 years in Santa Cruz in many different ways and I really have come to believe that one of the things that makes it most broken and unable to serve is dishonesty, and dishonesty occurs both by direct lying, and it occurs by concealing and manipulating information to get an outcome you want, even though if people had other information, they might see it differently. Activists do that. Staff does that. Elected officials do that. I believe that you, and and therefore we the community of Santa Cruz, in effect were lied to by the police department in order to secure the BearCat. I believe that the trust of the community has been severely damaged, and that our belief that we are being governed by community covenants that actually serve the well being of the whole community has been severely tattered. We have done a really good job as activists trying to respond to this situation. We need now for you to exercise your authority to build that trust again and to restore those community covenants."

Activists believe there are many other inconsistencies in the police statements made regarding the acquisition of the armored vehicle, and that they will continue to demand the Santa Cruz City Council rescind the BearCat order. Additionally, a public forum on the militarization of Santa Cruz Police will be held at 6pm on February 11 at the Louden Nelson Community Center.

For more information about SCRAM! (Santa Cruz Resistance Against Militarization!), see:

For more background on the Santa Cruz BearCat issue, see:
Hundreds Protest Approval of Police Attack Vehicle Purchase at SC City Council Meeting

Alex Darocy
§John Malkin speaks during the press conference
by Alex Darocy Wednesday Jan 28th, 2015 8:59 PM
§Sherry Conable speaks during the press conference
by Alex Darocy Wednesday Jan 28th, 2015 8:59 PM
§Inside Council Chambers during the oral communications period
by Alex Darocy Wednesday Jan 28th, 2015 8:59 PM
by Alex Darocy Wednesday Jan 28th, 2015 8:59 PM
by Alex Darocy Wednesday Jan 28th, 2015 8:59 PM
§Grant Wilson speaks to the Santa Cruz City Council
by Alex Darocy Wednesday Jan 28th, 2015 8:59 PM
§Raging Grannies sing during oral communications
by Alex Darocy Wednesday Jan 28th, 2015 8:59 PM
by Alex Darocy Wednesday Jan 28th, 2015 8:59 PM
§Santa Cruz Food Not Bombs set up outside of the City Council meeting
by Alex Darocy Wednesday Jan 28th, 2015 8:59 PM
§Keith McHenry of Food Not Bombs
by Alex Darocy Wednesday Jan 28th, 2015 8:59 PM
§Food Not Bombs table
by Alex Darocy Wednesday Jan 28th, 2015 8:59 PM

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by G
Thursday Jan 29th, 2015 7:10 AM
"I believe that the trust of the community has been severely damaged, and that our belief that we are being governed by community covenants that actually serve the well being of the whole community has been severely tattered."


There is also the unaddressed issue of accountability. Beyond basic questions about regulation and training; what happens when the attack truck is used to injure and kill? What kind of legal remedies are available to victims? Whom will be held responsible? How will such tragedies be prevented before they occur? Given recent revelations about chronic UNPROSECUTED actions of law enforcement, actions that have all the hallmarks of murder, such questions must be addressed, if only to halt the growing need for civil resistance and action against clear and present dangers, dangers approved by .gov at all levels and branches, which threaten innocent citizens.
Isn't this the same scpd who tried to (and maybe successfully ) altered the last City council election by having Steve Clark smear a candidate and trying to portray her as some sort of extremist criminal simply by virtue of the fact she's participated in civil disobedience?

3 days of print radio and TV coverage of Steve Clark's declaration regaring Leonie Sherman might very well have helped Richelle Noroyan and David Terrazas secure seats on Santa Cruz City Council. David is VERY CLOSE to SCPD brass and has been a point person on pushing forward so-called "public safety" initiatives on both the public safety Task Farce as well as City Council. Richelle Noroyan is, like Pamela Comstock, a TBSC soldier who when she served on the parks and rec commission (an appointment via the conservatives on SC city council) was critical of the Westside recycling center because homeless people used it. And let's not forget the first principle of TBSC motto is : We support the Santa Cruz police department. (no matter what).

So yes, given the fact that SCPD brass (some or all) seem alright with trying to alter the course of a local election in order to get "their" candidates elected, it's not inconceivable that SCPD lied to get a new toy.
by Robert Norse
Friday Jan 30th, 2015 1:54 PM
Thanks to all the folks who showed up at the rally and Oral Communications session.

City Council audio equipment was, as usual, spotty. Accordingly I sat up front near but not technically "attending" my trusty tape recorder (because not within arms length). I advised Sgt. Bush, the sergeant at arms, that the uncertain nature of the equipment meant I'd be making my own recording, not dependent on the city's speaker system and decision when to keep it on and when to turn it off.

In the past, Bush has arrested me for leaving a tape recorder there and replacing it when he removed it. That "disrupting a meeting" charge, filed by Mayor Robinson, was never filed by the D.A. Last fall I filed a claim for damages against the City for false arrest, which was denied. I now have until April 1 to take Robinson personally to Small Claims Court, which I'm hoping to do.

For many meetings following, Bush would confiscate my recorders, requiring me to squat next to the tape recorder while it was on in order to comply with Robinson's (and now Lane's) "decorum" rules. Lane made squatting next the tape recorder a violation of the new "decorum" rules, so on January 27th I sat in the first row--not quite "attending" the machine, but near enough to it to grab it if some officious cop should attempt to grab it.

Which is what Bush several times tried to do. Bush informed me he'd be removing my recorder if I left it there. I did so anyway, and when he moved to take it, I intercepted it and retrieved it. When he resumed his sentry position by the side door, I replaced the machine. He again moved to take it. I again intercepted. This time he advised me that he'd take it from me. I told him that to do so he'd have to arrest me.

For the rest of the meeting, I nervously had to keep one eye on Bush and one eye on the tape recorder. After two assaults on the helpless machine, Bush took no further action Still, I was unable to make notes, move about the room, or speak with others, cause I felt I had to be ready to spring up and seize the machine before it could be confiscated--if that were tried again. I was able to hold up a sign visible on the TV ("Tanks, No Thanks!") along with many others in the audience.

Still I must admit that having to guard my tape recorder from a cop on pain of exclusion from the meeting and arrest for "disruption" (as provided for under Lane's new decorum rules-- See "Council Armors Up" at specifically, ).

The same day I filed this Public Records Act request with the City:

From: rnorse3 [at]
To: npatino [at]
CC: kvogel [at]; citycouncil [at]
Subject: Public Records Act: re SCPD Contracts with Other Agencies
Date: Tue, 27 Jan 2015 11:15:09 -0800

Nydia: Please make available for viewing or (preferably) in e-form (as usual) all contracts the SCPD has made with any other agencies since 2010 that involve the delivery or furnishing of goods, services, or money.

Thanks, Robert

The point was to determine whether the SCPD has been getting equipment and money indirectly from federal war enthusaists like Homeland Security, but doing so through third party agencies, It apparently did this in the case of the Bearcat through the City and County of San Francisco (see "Public Records Released by the SPCD on the Bearcat" at; specifically: ).

I encourage Bearcat opponents and those concerned with militarization and SCPD abuse more generally to parse the documents--both those already posted and those which I may obtain in the coming days. They're supposed to respond by February 6th or thereabouts, if I understand the 10-day rule correctly.
by LadiesandGentlemen
Monday Mar 9th, 2015 10:31 PM
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Please be advised of the questionable involvement of several local politician/community figure types in the formation, marketing, and ongoing operation of a local startup company called "PredPol". This company claims to make crime-predicting software which they want police departments across the country to buy. There are some who think they are just blatant prison-industrial complex profiteers abusing their Democratic-party connections.

The real scoop on this has been censored in the local media. After reading the links below, including the SF Weekly investigative article, you'll understand why.

Let's not allow this kind of prison-industrial complex profiteering to happen in our community !!!

SF Weekly Article:

Techdirt Magazine:

Safe Growth Blog:

Peace Out.
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