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Indybay Feature

Police and Ranger Raid on Homeless In the Rain Reported

by Robert Norse (rnorse3 [at] )
Around 11 AM today, activist and car-dweller Jessica Nash reports that two vans of "Park Rangers" from Harvey West followed by 5 cars of SCPD in uniform pulled up on a dozen homeless people. They were sitting on the wall and under sheltering trees from the rain by the side of the sidewalk across from the Civic Auditorium today. The armed officers threatened to seize blankets, bikes, food, and belongings if the homeless didn't move out into the bad weather.
According to a phone report from Ms. Nash, the police told homeless people "get your stuff and get out or we're gonna bring a truck, load it up, and take it away." The rangers--already in trucks-- appeared ready to remove homeless survival gear. Some were there watching property for others. Everyone was threatened to force them to leave.

The police raid came upon homeless sharing food and sheltering themselves from the first winter storm. The threats to take their blankets, their bikes, their food, and their belongings frightened the homeless into silence.

This apparently was not enough. Ms. Nash reported that when she tried to help folks gather up their stuff, one cop began threatening her. "You've got a car? Well, get in it and leave. I can impound it right now--I'm so pissed off."

Nash reported the dialogue continued: "Don't make me inpound your car. You have expired tags. I'm sick of people not listening." Nash, with her sheltering car at stake, said she was forced to leave.

The "deportation and removal" action reportedly took about an hour. She noted rangers were also armed with tasers and guns.

Ms. Nash has sought legal help to deal with disability discrimination at the Homeless (Lack of) Services Center [HLOSC] at 115 Coral St. She claims she was repeatedly being denied services because of bedbugs she claims came from the still vermin-ridden Paul Lee Loft. She spoke before City Council on Tuesday about the wretched conditions and left in tears. Officials promised no action, claiming it was a County matter. However the City provides over $100,000 a year to the HLOSC and the HLOSC Board usually includes a Council member.

There is currently no walk-in shelter in Santa Cruz. Waiting lists for the HLOSC are either full or require a "pathway to housing" (i.e. a monthly check). The City Hall sidewalk is the site of a weekly Sleep-Out there by the Freedom Sleepers, now going into their 67th week next Tuesday.

Nash noted Mayor Cynthia Mathews had not returned her calls. Matthews--running for reelection--voted to continue to make the act of sleeping outside after 11 PM a crime costing several hundred dollars in fines, for which hundreds of citations have been issued in the last few years. Even the token 100-space Winter Shelter Armory is not slated to be funded and opened this year (with the homeless population at 1000-2000).
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Homeless campers at the Santa Cruz Library reported to me tonight that Santa Cruz Rangers have been harassing homeless people in a campaign of collective punishment based upon economic status and disability considered hate crimes under federal statutes for the last 3 days. The FBI is documenting this ongoing campaign (for investigation by them and the USDOJ).

The Santa Cruz Police Department (SCPD) and the Rangers are violating (disabled) homeless people's civil rights under color of law and under force and threat of force, punishable by up to 10 years in federal prison. By case law decided in federal district court government the government must give homeless people at least 24 hours advance written notice to legally seize their property. I have complained many times to SCPD Chief Kevin Vogel the SCPD never does this, which he and other SCPD officials refuse to address. SCPD Sergeant Bill Clayton was punished for helping (disabled) homeless people retrieve illegally seized property. This says a lot about the SCPD's blatant disregard for (disabled) homeless people's civil and property rights. Routinely they (and now the Rangers) violate the Rule of Law, flouting it like toilet paper. Note that the Rangers are led by Santa Cruz Mayor Cynthia Mathews' son. What does she have to say about this? Hateful nepotism? Records Coordinator Nydia Patiño is still withholding records about Cynthia Mathews' son from me for provision of evidence to the U.S. Senate, the FBI and the USDOJ's Public Integrity Section.

The SCPD has a lot to answer for. Soon many may find themselves prosecuted by U.S. attorneys in federal district court. It's no accident that City Attorney Tony Condotti — who I exposed to the entire government for committing fraud against the City of Santa Cruz (which the City Council and City staff seem to be OK with) — hired an attorney who specializes in defending clients being prosecuted for public corruption. Please read the attachment, especially the insurance certificate for the City Attorney's law firm noting their (fake) name and address.

Is it an accident that the MOST team working with the SCPD tried to 5150 me while I was sitting quietly in the last City Council meeting next to homeless activist David Silva in the first row last Tuesday taking notes? SCR 911 reports they didn't dispatch the social worker nor SCPD PO Pendleton who accompanied her. Why do they have no record of any incident? That morning I left a note for SCPD Deputy Chief Rick Martinez t the police station front desk with crime tips telling him I wanted to arrange a meeting to avoid potential litigation and criminal complaints with the FBI and the USDOJ to investigate/prosecute him for violations of federal law.

What does his reaction tell the public, especially while he was talking up Community Oriented Policing (COPS) just several hours later in front of the City Council? I guess he doesn't want to get crime tips from the community about local government violating (disabled) homeless people's civil rights under color of law and (threat of) force, as well as hate crimes by Take Back Santa Cruz. Rank hypocrisy? How can the City Council with any honesty applaud Rick Martinez for the SCPD doing a good job? Ridiculous!!!
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