Friday, April 10, 2009

Copwatch a Regular Feature of downtown Santa Cruz Saturday

posted on Santa Cruz Indymedia

Title: Copwatch Forever!
START DATE: Saturday April 11
TIME: 5:00 PM - 6:30 PM
Location Details:
In front of Borders Book Store on Pacific Ave. between Soquel and Walnut Sts. in downtown Santa Cruz
Event Type: Vigil/Ritual
Contact NameRobert Norse
Email Addressrnorse3@hotmail. com
Phone Number831-423-4833
Address309 Cedar PMB #14B Santa Cruz 95060
Join the jovial jackboot jousters! Come listen to music, sip cocoa, and keep an eye on the big-badged bluebellies.

The new Copwatch Santa Cruz Blog still needs lots of help updating it. Give a call to HUFF at 423-4833 if you'd like to help or e-mail rnorse. Or sign in and add your own comments.

Downtown, we'll be taking accounts of police behavior and videoing cops on the beat as they drive poor people away and give out tickets they can't pay.

Homeless vets are a significant proportion of the community without shelter outside. Please bring us any accounts of police harassment and ticketing of local vets--or discrimination at the local Vet's Building.

This is both a budget and civil liberties issue locally. Police must be discouraged from being a part of the local War on the Poor, and the merchant community that supports these outrages confronted.

The new anti-homeless Downtown Ordinance public assembly constrictions are now being enforced by police. They criminalize more than one hour's sitting on a city bench, make 3 unpaid infractions a jailing misdemeanor, and expand the notorious "No Go" zones downtown for sitting, sparechanging, political tabling, and street performing.

Anti-homeless ticketing for sleeping at night continues with shelter for less than 10% of the homeless community. If one forms, we'll also be supporting calls for a Tent City when the Armory Winter Shelter closes in several weeksl as is already happening in Sacramento, Fresno, and Ontario CA.

We will also be gathering accounts of harassment in hopes of joining Santa Barbara and Sacramento in challenging anti-homeless Sleeping Bans. Successful lawsuits and political pressure have already ended Sleeping Bans in Fresno, San Diego, Los Angeles, Laguna Beach, Richmond, and Palo Alto.

We hope to encourage media to counter the City's persecution of those outside using massive police overkill and a new city attorney crackdown with a civil injunction. Please contact attorney Jonathan Gettleman at 427-2658 if you have had positive experiences with Anna Richardson and Miguel deLeon, currently under City Attorney attack.

We have video cameras and tape recorders; bring your own as well.

If you want to volunteer for Public Records Act request work and other behind-the-scenes Copwatching, call 423-4833.

To help plan future events, come to the Human Rights Organization meetings Saturday 3-4:30 PM at the Sub Rosa Cafe 703 Pacific Ave. Or check out HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) at the same place Wednesdays 9:30 AM -11:30 AM.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Weekly Copwatch on Pacific Avenue in Santa Cruz

Copwatch Report from Last Saturday
by Robert Norse
Wednesday Apr 8th, 2009 8:34 AM
A sunny Saturday Copwatch table in front of Borders for several hours gathered reports, served soup, and distributed questionaires. The mood was merry and several new activists signed up. We'll be back Saturday the 11th in front of Borders again and invite the public. The results of the questionaire we gave out are below
4-4-09 Copwatch Questionnaire survey:

#1 Do police in Santa cruz enforce laws differently depending upon...?
race: 12 gender identity: 3 appearance: 19 class (if homeless): 19 sexual orientation:3 religion:1

#2 Have you ever been the victim of selective enforcement based on descriptions provided above ?
Yes: 13 no: 7 I don't know: 1

#3 Have you ever witnessed selective enforcement based on descriptions provided above?
Yes: 18 No: 3

#4 Are you aware that it is illegal for a person to sleep outside between 11 PM and 8:30 AM when no shelter is available?
Yes: 15 No: 7

#5 Do you support the ticketing, harassment, and confinement of persons who violate the above ordinance?
Yes: 0 No: 19

#6 do you think the SCPD is...
too powerful: 13 just enough power: 4 not powerful enough: 2 don't know/no answer: 3

#7 Do you support the HUFF boycott of the Bookshop Santa Cruz unless and until former Mayor Coonerty changes his position, acknowledging that homeless people in Santa Cruz must have the right to sleep—not anywhere and everywhere—but somewhere.
Yes, I support the boycott: 14 No, I don't: 2 Undecided : 6

22 responses

This questionnaire was originally prepared when Coonerty was Vice-Mayor and was originally distributed at our table in front of his Bookshop Santa Cruz. His positions, and that of Neal Coonerty, Supervisor and owner of the Bookshop Santa Cruz, have not changed, however. Nor, apparently, has public support among those who answered the questionnaire for a boycott.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Documenting Police Misconduct & Organizing to Resist It: One Man's Hopes

Copwatch: this blog has been created to allow victims of police misconduct as well as those who have positive experiences with the police to post their accounts.

I hope this blog will establish a record following the behavior of particular police officers, especially regarding their treatment of poor and homeless people outside in public spaces.

Police have recently had their power expanded to harass downtown by the Downtown Association, the Santa Cruz Neighbors, and the City Chamber of Commerce, working behind closed doors to create ordinances severely restricting political assembly.

I hope photos, videos, and other documents will also become a part of this blog

I hope those using the blog will be as specific as possible describing what they remember of the time, place, names, and badge numbers of the officers, victims, and witnesses involved.

Describing as accurately as possible what happened, what was said, who said it, whether a recording (audio or video) was made, who witnessed, etc. can be helpful in alerting the public to how the SCPD, the Parks and Recreation Rangers, the Deputies, the UCSC PD, the Highway Patrol, local security guards, and other local policing agencies are operating.

If court dates are involved, please post those, as well as citation numbers, court docket numbers, etc. If radio or other media accounts describe the incidents involved, please include those.

Those cited describing the incident need not write in the first person, but may choose to describe the incident from a third-party perspective, in order to preserve their right to avoid self-incrimination, while letting the public know what happened. In more serious cases, it may be appropriate to consult with an attorney before revealing some specific details of an incident for which you are being prosecuted.

Some posts, considered to be SPAM or unreliable personal attacks, may be hidden, but this blog will not, hopefully, be censored.

Copwatch tabling and videoing takes place regularly on Pacific Avenue. See for announcements and accounts of these events (for instance: ).

For more information and/or if you wish to help with the Copwatch project, contact me at 831-423-4833.

Regular meetings of HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) and HRO (the Human Rights Organization) are held respectively on Wednesday 9:30 AM to 11:30 AM and Saturdays 3 PM to 4:30 PM at the Sub Rosa Cafe at 703 Pacific Ave. Copwatch events are often planned at these meetings.

The next Copwatch is scheduled for 5 PM on Saturday March 29 in front of Borders Bookstore near Soquel and Pacific Avenues, weather permitting.

Robert Norse