$158.00 donated in past month
On June 16, 2014, during a protest against police brutality and recent police shootings in Fresno, Brian Sumner used chalk on the Fresno Police Department Memorial. Phrases such as “FPD = Guilty”, “Badges Don’t Grant Extra Rights”, and “Who do you call when the police murder?” were written in an attempt to call attention to the issue. Brian was arrested with one other individual, and charged with vandalism of less than $400.
During trial, Judge Hilary Chittick said that the chalk being washable was not a defense nor was free speech. The prosecuting District Attorney called only three witnesses, police officers who said they were offended by the chalk writings. On July 17, 2015, Brian was found guilty of vandalism by a jury in Fresno. He faced up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. At his sentencing on July 23, the judge lectured Brian about fascism before he was sentenced to one year of informal probation, 50 hours of community service, and $250 in court fees and restitution. Brian says he plans to appeal his conviction and sentence.
Interview with Brian Sumner on Filming the Police and Police Accountability
Previous Related Indybay Feature:
Family of Fresno Police Victim Attempts to Visit Mayor, Then Marches to Jail and Police HQ
The Muwekma Farm was located on the corner of 31st and International, across the street from the Native American Health Center. For two months, various supporters planted over 50 plants, including squash, tomatoes, jalapenos, kale, huckleberry, oregano, and arugula. On July 9, however, the City of Oakland and OPD descended on the farm and destroyed every single plant, raised bed, and bench. They even destroyed the few plants that remained along the edges of the land. The farm was located on 1.5 acres of unused land owned by the City of Oakland. Despite the support of the neighborhood, the city decided it did not want fresh fruit and vegetables growing at that location International Blvd.
Muwekma Farm writes:
We have no specific date for retaking the land, but when we do there will be another announcement. But to those who would like to support the farm in the future, our main request is to start as much organic corn seeds as possible right now. Our next event was going to be the planting of corn, but obviously our plans have changed. To those who desire a world free of environmental destruction and economic slavery, we would like to remind you that there is an inordinate amount of vacant land in the City of Oakland.
Muwekma Farm Destoyed by City of Oakland and OPD |
Video of Muwekma Farm and Call for Future Support |
Muwekma Garden work party
The year 2013 was a busy one for animal liberation actions across the U.S., primarily at businesses that breed and/or sell fur. That September, Los Angeles animal activists Tyler Lang and Kevin Johnson
were arrested in rural Illinois, charged with felony "possession of burglary tools." Tyler served four months and was released. Kevin was sentenced to thirty months in jail and remains behind bars. In July 2014, both were charged with violating the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA), a 2006 law that reclassified a wide range of petty criminal activity as “terrorism” if done in the name of harming the profits of animal enterprises. In June and July of 2015, Kevin and then Tyler pled guilty and currently await sentencing. SupportKevinandTyler.com/
On July 24, 2015, the FBI arrested two more animal rights activists for allegedly freeing mink and other animals from fur farms, and vandalizing the property of animal-abusing businesses. Joseph Buddenburg and Nicole Kissane of Oakland were charged under AETA. The government alleges that since the summer of 2013 the two caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage to corporations that they viewed as being cruel to animals. They are alleged to have freed 6,000 animals, including mink and bobcat, from fur farms in Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. They’re also alleged to have traveled the west coast of the U.S. and used super glue and glass etching fluid to vandalize the property of fur retailers in San Francisco, San Diego, and Minneapolis.
In 2009, Joseph Buddenburg was one of the first four people ever arrested under AETA, largely related to to free speech activism targeting animal research at the University of California. A year later, charges against the "AETA4" were dismissed.
A call-out for support for Joseph and Nicole has gone out for their court appearance at 9am, Tuesday, July 28
at the Oakland Federal Courthouse.
Court Support for Nicole and Joseph
Two Oakland Activists Accused of Freeing Animals Are Charged as Terrorists | |
DOJ Press Release and Indictment |
Oakland animal advocates accused of vandalism spree against fur industry |
San Francisco fur shop vandalized |
New list of 92 fox farm addresses released by the Fur Farm Intelligence Unit
Previous Related Indybay Features:
Over 10,000 Animals Released in Total Since July in Massive ALF Fur Farm Campaign
Interview with Joseph Buddenberg of the AETA 4
AETA 4 Case Dismissed, But Re-Indictment Possible
Rights Attorneys Argue Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act Is an Unconstitutionally Vague Law
Federal Authorities Arrest Four Bay Area Animal Protesters
On July 14, three of the remaining Santa Cruz Eleven defendants agreed to a plea deal with the prosecution, and it is likely the last remaining member of the group will follow suit at his upcoming hearing, bringing to a close the Occupy-era case that has been slowly moving along since 2011. Defendants entered pleas of “no contest” to a charge of misdemeanor trespass. The felony vandalism charge was dropped.
Donations are being sought to support the family of 17-year-old Cyrus Hurtado, who was shot and killed by two Santa Cruz sheriff's deputies in Boulder Creek on July 9. Hurtado, who reportedly suffered from mental issues, was killed after a family dispute at his grandparents' house where he lived, and their home and possessions were severely damaged by the deputies' gunfire.
Questions have arisen following the press conference when Sheriff Jim Hart first released the details of the killing, such as whether the officers who killed Cyrus Hurtado were trained in Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) and when was their last class on how to deal with people experiencing mental illness. These details have been glossed over by the Sheriff's Department, the DA, and the media.
account has been established to help pay for memorial services, and donations to the family can also be made in person at the Liberty Bank branches in either Felton or Boulder Creek, using account #02-179538.
Read More | Funeral Expenses for Sweet 17 Boy
On June 27, friends, family, and supporters of Richard "Pedie" Perez, killed by Richmond police, took the streets downtown. The diverse group chanted, held signs, and distributed flyers. The march, which followed a rally outside of the Richmond BART station, came after a recent decision by the District Attorney which ruled the police killing of Perez was justifiable. Rich Perez, Pedie's father, stated in the local media: “All of our witnesses dispute the claim that our son was reaching for (the officer’s) weapon. It’s like a cover up or just being blind to the fact that cops can do wrong.”
Richard “Pedie” Perez was shot and killed by officer Wallace Jensen outside of a liquor store on Cutting and Carlson Avenues in Richmond on September 14, 2014. Like almost all killings of civilians by law enforcement, the media first presented the police side of the story, alleging that Pedie was violent and attempted to grab Jensen’s firearm. However, through the work of the Oscar Grant Committee (OGC) and community members, the Perez family was able to talk to witnesses and workers at the liquor store where Pedie was shot, presenting a much different story.
Same-sex weddings took place across the country after the Supreme Court ruled on June 26 that all 50 states must now permit LGBTQ couples "the fundamental right to marry." The historic decision puts an end to marriage equality bans that remained in 14 states, impacting tens of thousands of couples. The plaintiff in the case, Jim Obergefell, celebrated the victory: "Today’s ruling from the Supreme Court affirms what millions across this country already know to be true in our hearts: Our love is equal..."
After the Supreme Court’s historic ruling on marriage equality, many LGBT organizers are now redirecting their attention to obtaining federal, state and local legal protections in areas of employment, housing and commerce. Nationwide, anti-discrimination laws for gay people are inconsistent and unequal with only 22 states barring discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Locally, activists want to shift the focus to issues that LGBT immigrants face in detention centers across the U.S. Transgender activists indicate that LGBTQ immigrant detainees are uniquely vulnerable to abuse, including sexual assault, while in custody. In prison settings, non-heterosexual prison inmates report sexual assault is higher than heterosexual inmates, with almost 40 percent of transgender inmates in prisons are sexually assaulted.
In San Francisco, kicking off Pride weekend on June 26 was a trans rally and march. As is custom, the rally was held in Dolores Park, then the Trans March worked its way through the streets of the Mission into downtown SF. The San Francisco Trans March is San Francisco’s largest transgender Pride event and one of the largest trans events in the entire world.
LGBTQ Weddings, Pride Celebrations Follow Historic Supreme Court Ruling on Marriage Equality |
Chelsea Manning Contingent in the SF Pride Parade |
Armed Trans People Will Not Get Bashed! |
Trans Pride SF 2015 - audio from the stage and march |
Stonewall Was a RIOT: No Pride in Police Brutality |
Transgender Immigrants Taking A Stand Against Abuse: Trans March 2015 |
Trans March! 2015 |
Open Letter to SF Pride (re: Pink Brick for AirBnB)
On July 4, community members in Santa Cruz held a public campout at Santa Cruz City Hall, but it was quickly cut short by police at about 1am. The campout was organized in response to the recent reduction of services at the Homeless Services Center that occurred due to a funding deficit, as well as to protest local laws that criminalize sleeping outdoors. At least eight individuals were issued infraction citations for refusing to leave City Hall.
In June, the Santa Cruz County Grand Jury released its report: Medical Services at the Jails: How Does the Sheriff Coroner Manage Oversight?
(PDF) Since 2012, Santa Cruz County has outsourced its jail medical services to the private for-profit corporation California Forensic Medical Group (CFMG). The Grand Jury has found that there is, "a lack of transparency and accountability on the part of CFMG and there is insufficient oversight by the Sheriff Coroner’s office."
The report also summarizes the Grand Jury investigation of the November 2014 death of 65-year-old Sharyon Gibbs, who died in custody, stating that, "On the night of her death, around midnight, she complained of back pain to the onduty Corrections Officer," and was later found dead. When the Grand Jury was investigating her death, CFMG would not provide access to Gibbs' full medical records, according to the report.
Since August of 2012, six individuals have died while in custody at the Santa Cruz County Jail. In May of 2014, the Santa Cruz County Grand Jury released a report on jail medical care and conditions titled: Five Deaths in Santa Cruz: An Investigation of In-Custody Deaths
(PDF). In that report, one juror reported he was “shocked” at the lax oversight and poor communication between jail staff and medical personnel that led to the five deaths that occurred in the facility at that time.
Read More with PDF of the Report | See Also: Santa Cruz County Grand Jury Releases Annual Jail Report
Previous Coverage: Hundreds March for Freedom at Cages Kill Rally in Santa Cruz
|| One More Death at Santa Cruz County Jail Makes Six In Two Years
|| Grand Jury Report on Jail Deaths Only a Snapshot of the Larger Picture
|| Sin Barras Rally at SC County Jail Held in Response to Recent Deaths at Facility
On the 4th of July, community members in Santa Cruz brought messages of peace, justice, and equality to Ocean Street as they greeted visitors entering town for the busy holiday. Every year a variety of groups working on peace and justice issues rally along Ocean Street as thousands of people make their way to the beach and the Boardwalk. Although some very serious statements were communicated by those holding signs at the rally, the atmosphere was generally fun and festive.
The six UCSC students charged in association with the March 3 blockade of Highway 17, where it meets Highway 1 in Santa Cruz, will be back in court on Monday, June 29
and Tuesday, June 30
. On June 29 at 10:00am, there will be a hearing in Santa Cruz County Superior Court to finalize their sentence, and on June 30 at 1:30pm there will be a restitution hearing. The students are calling for court support.
On June 19, Bay Area community groups CodePink, Stop Mass Incarceration Network, Occupy SF Action Council, Anti Police-Terror Project, Jewitch Camp, the Green Party, and World Can’t Wait gathered outside the Hilton Hotel in San Francisco to protest the presence of police chiefs from around the country during San Francisco’s Conference for Mayors. Many events were planned during the 4-day conference and protests were held at all of them.
On June 18, Jose Velasco filed a legal claim
for damages against the City of Salinas and the Salinas Police Department for the injuries he suffered after officers with the SPD violently arrested him on June 5. The claim alleges, "assault, battery, false imprisonment, negligence, negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligent hiring," on the part of the city and the police department.
As a result of the June 5 arrest, Velasco suffers from a broken leg, multiple stitches in his head, and bruises on his torso, arms, legs, and face. His family has described him as having a "hole" in his leg from the beating. A video of the arrest
, which went viral in the news and on social media, shows one officer continuing to hit Velasco with his baton after he is pinned to the ground. Velasco is being represented by John Burris, who announced the details of the claim surrounded by supporters at a press conference at Salinas City Hall.
The Velasco family, who were severely traumatized by the incident, continues to seek justice for Jose by speaking out, holding demonstrations, and creating the Facebook group, Justice for Jose Velasco. On June 13, Velasco's mother and sisters held a demonstration on North Main Street, the location of his arrest, to call for justice for Jose.
Read More: Jose Velasco Files Legal Claim for Damages Resulting from Violent Arrest by Salinas Police
| Family Seeks Justice for Jose Velasco after Violent Arrest by Salinas Police
Video Shows Salinas Police Hitting Man Already Pinned on Ground
Demouria Hogg, a 30-year-old father of three, was killed by Oakland police on June 6 at the intersection of Lakeshore and Lake Park avenues in Oakland. Mr. Hogg was asleep, or unconscious, in his car at the intersections when paramedics were called, but when they arrived and saw a gun on the passenger seat, they called the police instead of helping. OPD tried to wake Mr. Hogg up for about 1.5 hours, and ultimately shot and killed him within 1 minute of "making contact" with him.
On June 12, Anti Police-Terror Project (APTP), with support of Mr. Demouria Hogg's family, organized a vigil to honor his life and mourn his senseless killing. The vigil was held in the spirit of spiritual militancy, which included pouring libations, prayer, a Danza Azteca ceremony, and artistic performances. Members of Black Youth Project, APTP, Asians for Black Lives, and Bay Area Solidarity Action Team locked themselves together and held the Lakeshore and Lake Park Avenue intersection for two hours to signify the approximate time of the siege of his vehicle by OPD that led to Mr. Hogg's killing. After the vigil, people set out to march around Lake Merritt.
Read More with Photos | Hundreds occupy intersection then march in protest of OPD killing of Demouria Hogg | Justice for Demouria Hogg
A video was posted online that shows a group of five officers with the Salinas Police Department violently hitting a man they have pinned to the ground during an arrest on North Main Street on June 5. Even though the man is on the ground and not moving, officers can still be seen hitting him with clubs. A YouTube user by the name of Richard Boxing uploaded the video with the title, "Salinas Police Wrong."
In a press release dated June 6, the Salinas Police lists the name of the man who was arrested as being Jose Velasco, age 28. The press release also states that Velasco was tased by the officers. Police say they were dispatched to North Main Street when Velasco's mother, "called in about her son running in traffic."
In the comments section of the YouTube video of the arrest, Antoinette Ramirez, who says she is Velasco's sister writes: "My poor brother. He is mentally ill and the cops had no right to keep hitting him he was already on the floor." She also wrote that Velasco was in the street because her mom, "had him there."
Read More and View the Video
Related Indybay Features: National Police Brutality Day in Salinas
|| Salinas Police Tase Jaime Garcia to Death
|| Police Officers Kill Fourth Person in East Salinas: Frank Alvarado
|| Salinas Police Kill Three People in Last Three Months
On May 23, families and loved ones of people in solitary confinement, and advocates from community organizations, held the third Statewide Coordinated Actions To End Solitary Confinement (SCATESC) throughout California in Manila, Los Angeles, Oakland, Point Reyes, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Barbara, and Santa Cruz, as well as in Philadelphia. So far, over 50 organizations statewide, nationally, and internationally, are co-sponsors and endorsers, and the movement continues to grow.
In Santa Cruz, about 25 people rallied at the entrance to the Municipal Wharf, where locals and tourists found two large banners, storyboards exposing the realities of solitary confinement, signs, and a variety of educational literature about solitary confinement in Santa Cruz and California.
Cynthia Fuentes, of California Families Against Solitary Confinement (CFASC), spoke about her brother, Robert “Robio” C. Fuentes, Sr., PBSP SHU 20 years, hunger striker, poet, and jailhouse lawyer, who never debriefed, and died due to medical neglect and mistreatment by CDCR. She stated, “It was never just my brother who was incarcerated; it was the whole family. CDCR separates prisoners from their loved ones. I watched my parents age much more than they should have. It was heartbreaking. During visits there was never any contact; you talked on crappy phones through heavy glass."
Read More with Photos
Previous Coverage: Statewide Coordinated Actions to End Solitary Confinement Continue
|| Use of Solitary Confinement Protested at Coastside Vigil in Santa Cruz
|| Rallies and Demos Begin in Support of 2013 California Hunger Strikers
Community members in East Salinas held a vigil on May 9 to mark the day 26-year-old Osmar Hernandez was killed by Salinas Police in 2014. Osmar's family members were in attendance; Maria Guardado-Hernandez spoke, and Asuncion Guardado stood by solemnly while holding a lit votive candle. Also in attendance were the family members of two other men killed by Salinas Police in 2014, Frank Alvarado and Angel Ruiz.
The May 9 vigil was held in front of the Mi Pueblo Market on Alisal, near where Hernandez was killed. Individuals wrote a variety of messages in colored chalk on the sidewalk. One message posed the question: "Tony Barrera - Where are You?" Barrera is the city council member elected to represent District 2, where the Mi Pueblo Market is located. Those at the vigil explained Barrera has been silent and inactive in response to the police killings. Supporters standing at the corner of Alisal and Sanborn chanted statements such as, "no justice, no peace, no racist police," and, "hey hey, ho ho, McMillan has got to go," referring to Salinas Chief of Police Kelly McMillin.
Five Latino community members died at the hands of Salinas Police in unrelated incidents in 2014. Four were shot and killed, and one died after being tased. In 2015, community members have been honoring the victims with vigils. On March 20, a vigil was held for Angel Ruiz, and a vigil is planned for Wednesday, May 20
from 6-8pm at the corner of Sanborn and Del Monte in Salinas to honor Carlos Mejia-Gomez at the location of his killing.
Read More with Photos
Previous Coverage: Salinas Police Tase Jaime Garcia to Death
|| Police Officers Kill Fourth Person in East Salinas: Frank Alvarado
|| Salinas Police Kill Three People in Last Three Months
Students at UC Santa Cruz occupied the Stevenson Coffee House for a short period of time on April 27 to expose a person they say is a known rapist who is presently employed at the business. The small cafe, which is privately owned and operated under a lease with the university, is located within Stevenson College on the east side of the UCSC campus.
All around the world May Day has been a day for labor solidarity, immigrant rights, direct action, reclaiming the streets, and speaking out against injustice. May Day 2015 in the Northern California was a busy day for actions from San Francisco and Oakland to San Jose and Mountain View to Santa Cruz and Fresno. Call-outs went out for rallies, marches, flying pickets, the shutdown of the Port of Oakland, a tech commute blockade, and an anti-capitalist/Baltimore solidarity march.
Women of color are often the invisible victims of police terror. On April 12, the Anti Police-Terror Project (APTP), in conjunction with Yuvette Henderson’s family and a handful of other organizations, held a vigil and caravan in the name of Yuvette. The mother of two was killed feet away from an ExtraSpace Storage surveillance camera, yet both the storage facility and the police have refused to release those tapes. Yuvette suffered a head-wound at the hands of Home Depot security, paramedics were called, yet tapes of this encounter not released Yuvette’s family either. The vigil and caravan were held on the corner of 34th and Hollis street in Emeryville, half a block away from where Yuvette was killed. Numerous other demonstrations have been held to demand justice for Yuvette as well.
On April 21, the Oakland Police Department conceded to community pressure and allowed the brother and sister of Yuvette Henderson to review the videos leading up to her murder by Emervyille police, which is rare after a police killing. The family left that meeting disappointed. Upon arrival, they were told that there was no video of Yuvette's assault inside of Home Depot and that the DVD controlling the video at ExtraSpace Storage — where she was killed — was broken that day. So the two most critical events of the day Yuvette was killed are not available for review.
Oakland Police Release (Some) Video to Family of Yuvette Henderson After Community Pressure |
OPD to Reveal Surveillance Video to Yuvette Henderson's Family After Community Pressure |
Vigil, Caravan Demands Justice in the State-Sponsored Killing of Yuvette Henderson |
Anti Police-Terror Project hosts vigil for Yuvette Hendersen and delivers demands to OPD |
Anti Police-Terror Project returns with demands to Home Depot and OPD
Previous Related Indybay Features:
Emeryville Home Depot Shut Down for Yuvette Henderson
Yuvette Henderson Gunned Down by Emeryville Police in Oakland
A group of about 100 homeless people and their supporters attended the Tulare City Council meeting on April 21 calling for specific changes in public policy. The group, which delivered a petition signed by over 1,000 residents, called for improvements in the way homeless people are treated by the police, a safe place to sleep and equal rights. The Union of Hope in Tulare filled the City Council chambers with an overflow crowd. There was standing room only. This was the statement they delivered to the mayor and council members:
We thank you for this opportunity to address this issue that we want to bring to your attention. The issue is the poor treatment of houseless people here and the lack of a long term solution to the problem in this beautiful city. According to the Homeless Central California Area Social Services Consortium 2015 there are 595 houseless persons in our County, and in our city of Tulare there are 100. We find it deplorable that three houseless persons have died already this year, and Raul Galegos encountered a houseless mother with her 8-month-old child who were both as cold as ice. The houseless have reported being assaulted, having bones broken, and their belongings taken. These people are residents of Tulare and as such deserve to have access to shelter and provisions in their time of need. They deserve to be protected and not assaulted. They are human beings and they need to have access to emergency shelter in the heat of summer and the cold of winter. It is time to stop kicking this particular can down the road. The houseless need solutions, not a cold shoulder.