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What Would Martin Luther King Jr. Do?
by Keith McHenry (keith [at]
Saturday Jan 18th, 2020 9:53 AM
Chief Andy Mills is pushing a series of cruel civil rights violations against those without housing and is sponsoring the MLK March in Santa Cruz.

Chief Andy Mills is pushing a series of cruel civil rights violations against those without housing.

The Sentinel notes “Prominent among the ideas that Santa Cruz Police Chief Andy Mills plans to shop around the community, including the more than 50 people gathered Wednesday night at a Santa Cruz Neighbors meeting, is a revamped city no-camping ordinance. The new law, as discussed this week, may focus on restricting signs of daytime encampments in public locations from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.” It would be hard to imagine Martin Luther King Jr silently agreeing to force those living on the street to be criminally charged for erecting a tent before 10 PM or remaining in their tent after 7 forced to pack all their belongings before being subject to arrest.

Doctor King would probably object to his proposal to “expanding Pacific Avenue’s designation as a city “park,” subject to nightly curfews and escalating stay-away orders” subjecting to those without housing to yet more laws. I doubt that the people leaving the music venues will be trespassed from Pacific but if you are seeking shelter in the doorway at Salvation Army you will be ordered to stay off Pacific Avenue and possibly face months in jail if caught on the avenue a second time.

Chief Mills is also asking the City Council to let police officers be given discretion to offer “diversion” punishments and/or upgrade infractions to arrestable misdemeanors in the field for repeat offenders.

The Sentinel ends their report on the Santa Cruz Neighbors meeting “Mills also elaborated on his plan to empower officers with more enforcement flexibility and discretion. He said of the approximately 11,000 tickets his officers hand out yearly, about 8,700 — some 79% — go to “people without addresses.” Of those who receive tickets and are homeless, Mills said, 92% do not appear in court on the citations.

“Because so many people fail to appear on their tickets, it’s not an effective strategy. What I’d much rather do is to divert them to keep them out of the justice system altogether,” Mills said. “A way of doing that is to give the officers discretion to hold the ticket and say, Saturday, if you come and help us clean up part of the city, let’s do something positive for the city, we will not send it over to the City Attorney’s Office for issuing.” This sounds like forcing people to choose between working for free for the police without due process or face arrest. What would Doctor King have to say about this?

Chief Andy Mills is on a cynical public relations campaign. On Friday night he told a heartwarming story of his officers recovering a one-year -old kidnap victim to a gathering organizing to stop the Recall Campaign that he is indirectly supporting. A couple days before he asked Rabbi Phil Posner if he could post his beautiful story of spending 39 days in a Mississippi Jail as a Freedom Rider and he is cosponsoring with the NAACP the city’s Martin Luther King Jr march.

While Chief Andy Mills is on tour pushing these cruel civil rights violation he will be leading a march to honor the civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr on Monday.

Feel free to share.
Keith McHenry - co-founder of the Food Not Bombs Movement and officer of the Santa Cruz Homeless Union.

On-deck Santa Cruz laws target nuisance behaviors
Proposals would affect city’s homeless population heavily
Listed below are the latest comments about this post.
These comments are submitted anonymously by website visitors.
Looking BackRobert NorseSunday Jan 19th, 2020 11:13 PM
Text of the Sentinel storyJessica York (posted by Norse)Sunday Jan 19th, 2020 10:18 PM
Video of Mills' Presentation to Santa Cruz Neighbors Vigilante Group(posted by) Robert NorseSunday Jan 19th, 2020 10:12 PM
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