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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: Santa Cruz Indymedia | Anti-War | Police State and Prisons
Santa Cruz Cops Release BearCat Photos to Flaunt Their New Attack Vehicle
This week SCPD released photos of the BearCat armored attack vehicle they purchased last year despite massive protests by the public against it. The attack truck, manufactured by Lenco, cost $251,000.
The SCPD blog has intentionally toned down their description of the military style vehicle that has gun turrets, among other attack features: "The truck, based on a shortened Ford F-550 chassis, has a smooth ride despite its size. It can go as fast as most standard cars. About a dozen officers can fit inside."
Santa Cruz Police misled the public when they first asked the Santa Cruz City Council for permission to purchase the attack vehicle in December of 2014. SCPD didn't follow the city's standard procedure for grant allocation requests and city staff attempted to slip the request past the public by placing it on the council's consent agenda, which is normally reserved for non-controversial items. The public was not fooled and responded with massive protests at the next several city council meetings, prompting the council to re-review the issue.
The group Santa Cruz Resistance Against Militarization (SCRAM) was formed to protest the BearCat purchase.
In March 2015 SCRAM released the following statement before the city council meeting where the BearCat would be discussed again:
"SCRAM! has been organizing grassroots action to compel the City Council to rescind approval for the BEARCAT purchase and to develop policies that prevent military equipment from flowing into law enforcement. As witnessed at the most recent council sessions, the community has rallied around these goals and SCRAM! has successfully worked to return these issues to the Council Agenda for a full, transparent public hearing. One of SCRAM!'s concerns is voiced by Abbi Samuels of Occupy Santa Cruz and a founding member of SCRAM!. “To obtain the Homeland Security grant, the Santa Cruz Police Department (SCPD) had to agree to designate Santa Cruz as a ‘federal buffer zone,’ with numerous highly dubious terrorism targets like the Boardwalk and UCSC. Clearly, this moves us down the slippery slope to having the military in our streets”. (Read more: https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2015/03/21/18770244.php)
Santa Cruz Resistance Against Militarization - SCRAM
According to a report in the Santa Cruz Sentinel, the BearCat has been used once in the field for what appears to be a situation that was fairly mild:
"In its one crime-related use, officers delivered a warrant about 9 a.m. at a Park Place home. Investigators were seeking gang-related materials and a firearm they believed connected suspected shooter Cristian Lopez Cruz to a nonfatal Sept. 22 gang-related shooting near Ocean and Water streets, Flippo said. Cruz, who has since pleaded not guilty to the charges, is due back in Santa Cruz County Superior Court on Monday morning for a preliminary hearing in the case."
"The October search warrant was served “smoothly” after children at the home had gone to school, he said. The gun, however, was not recovered, said department spokeswoman Joyce Blaschke."