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Stop the SCPD Sweeps! Stop Lying About Available Shelter! Services Not Threats!

Tuesday, August 02, 2022
3:30 PM - 5:00 PM
Event Type:
Robert Norse
Location Details:
Community Room, Santa Cruz Police Station Laurel and Center Streets.

Police have begun incremental removal of tent-homes in and around the Benchlands. This seems in line with City Manager Matt Huffaker's threat/promise to "demobilize" (i.e. remove) the Benchlands by summer's end. See City Manager's Report at

Trash pick-up's, and porta-potty cleaning, providing water for drinking and keeping clean, addressing the rodent problem, and dealing with overcrowding have been pointedly ignored.

HUFF has received repeated complaints.

Hear one resident describe the destruction of his tent and property on July 28th at (1 hour and 5 minutes into the file)

Continued description: (15 minutes and 40 second into the audio file)

The SCPD is celebrating National Night Out with a free community open house from 4-7 p.m. Tuesday August 2nd at 155 Center St.

Police are reportedly offering: Tours of the station, police dog and motorcycle "demonstrations", how to volunteer, preventing "crime", and refreshments and giveaways.

HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) will be proposing: (1) Shifting funding from police sweeps to assisting unhoused folks with tents, fresh water, shower facilities, decent bathrooms, more space, and other essential amenities to support Benchlands residents and other encampments.
(2) Adhering to the Martin v. Boise decision and the COVID shelter-in-place guidelines--so that no one will be threatened with removal from the Benchlands unless more suitable places are actually available--clearly not the case at the present time.
(3) Oversight and action to end racial, economic, and class profiling in police enforcement--particularly as it applies to disadvantaged minorities and unhoused folks.
(4) Other real reforms demanded of other police departments, but ignored by the City Council involving transparency, accountability, and less lethal and violent ways of dealing with community problems.
Added to the calendar on Mon, Aug 1, 2022 8:10PM
Several HUFFsters (myself included) showed up at the SCPD parking lot and Community room, where various police, para-police, and allied agencies had set up tables.

Cotton candy, stickers, popcorn, pinwheels, and cardboard police caps emblazoned with "SCPD" were available for kids and zealots.

A steady stream of community members with their families trickled in, some accepting, some declining fliers.

We attempted unsuccessfully to get the procedures to use the police parking lot supposedly part of the Tier 1 program, but Chief Escalante himself knew no details about it. He and the other officers I approached sent me to this lieutenant and that. However no one seemed to have any no information on how many folks were using the program, what the restrictions. were, etc.

Lieutenant Carter Jones was full of reassurances about the many places available for Benchlands refugees, but did not satisfy me when confronted with the obvious question: "will you be forcing people out of the Benchlands with no place to go when City Manager Matt Huffaker makes good on his eviction promise at the end of the summer?"

Police officers were amaible, but many declined the literature with fixed smiles. I regretted not making louder and more persistent statements to both police and passersby regarding the police involvement in homeless harassment.

I am passing on some of the conversations I had with police officials on the 8-4 netradio show at around 6 p.m. on August 4th.

I'm hoping future such appearances around police events will be more focused and forceful around the real issues that police and their political backers ostentatiously ignore. That, of course, is more likely if larger numbers of people gather and insist on real answers.
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Ursula Reed
Wed, Aug 3, 2022 10:04AM
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