Friday, August 13, 2010

Early morning SCPD Raid on Peace Camp 2010 - 1 citation issued

by Becky Johnson
August 13 2010

Santa Cruz, Ca. -- Peace Camp 2010 has completed its second night at City Hall and the score

Sleeping is legal during the daytime and one of the Peace Camp demonstators takes advantage on August 11th at their new location, City Hall. Photo by Shmuel Thayer/SENTINEL

so far is 2 citations issued for illegal sleeping and one arrest. "Ocean" was arrested last night when he refused to give his name after being rudely awakened by officers in the wee hours of the morning. Ocean was handcuffed and booked into Santa Cruz County Jail.

Meanwhile, after 5 days in jail, Peace Camp 2010 protester, GARY JOHNSON has been released. Gary refused to cooperate with authorities while in jail, refused bail, and went on a hunger strike which he continued throughout his stay. He had been placed in solitary confinement at his own request. GARY donated all of his meals to his fellow inmates, which encouraged them greatly. Two days before his release, his worried brother found a sympathetic sheriff's deputy to check on him. The deputy returned saying Gary was "fine" and that "he'd been eating food for two days." Apparently that report was not correct.

"Police lie," commented protester, LEIGH.

While Peace Camp 2010 is attempting to go back to it's original raison d'etre by starting at 8PM each night and disbanding at 8AM, leaving the public building open and clear for business as usual, a small core of protesters remains during the daytime. For this, the City has bought and paid for a security guard from 8AM to 5PM daily who tells them where they can smoke a cigarette and to keep off of the grass.

Yesterday, RED and TODD HILL reported a hostile encounter with Parks and Rec groundskeeper, MIA DUQUETTE when she threatened to "blow them" if they didn't move.

"I guess she was doing some work around the grounds. She came by to inform everyone that she was going to be using use a leaf blower and that we" should move ourselves and move our things" because "she wouldn't want things blowing around and getting in our eyes," reports TODD HILL.

"I have a pretty decent sarcastic meter and her sarcasm was off the charts". HILL gathered his things and moved off. He did not witness what happened next.

"She had told Christopher that she was going to blow everyone in the space," both RED and CROW reported, the co-owners of an 8-month old miniature chihuahua puppy.

"She put the blower directly on him. She put the blower directly in my puppies face." RED reacted defensively and attempted to flee the scene.

"I walked backwards 10 0r 15 feet and she followed me and put the blower directly in my face."

DUQUETTE was seen a short while later, furiously hoeing on the grounds.

By contrast, both Officer FORBES and the security guard stationed to watch Peace Camp 2010's daytime tabling effort, have been courteous and restrained. Officer Forbes went out of his way to attempt to determine the owner of a shopping cart stuffed with salvaged electronic gear and an old mattress lodged across the street in back of the public library. A City truck came and picked up the garbage to cheers from those at Peace Camp who don't want those kinds of eyesores associated with their protest.

"Curbhugger" Chris Doyon is still suffering from lingering pneumonia which he succumbed to his first night in jail, and now is being exacerbated by sleep deprivation.

"I was handcuffed for four hours straight, and even then not allowed to use the bathroom. I was left in a freezing cold room with only my tee-shirt." DOYON was charged with PC 647 (e), the State anti-lodging law. But at City Hall, so far at least, the State law is being ignored.

That's not the only law being tested. Confusion has arisen over the newly passed smoking ban which bans all smoking at City Hall and on adjacent sidewalks. The ban also bans smoking at all "City buildings" but SCPD officers have been directly smokers to go across the street by the library to smoke, despite saying right on the side of the library "City and County Library." It is also run and funded by the City and is clearly is a "city" building.

One officer told protesters that the public sidewalk is okay but smoking on the brick sidewalk is not. A different officer told them to go across the street. The ordinance itself bans smoking "at all public buildings," which would make smoking in the street the only legal option.

"They just make it up as they go," says LEIGH.

Many ignore the ban and openly smoke anyway. Confusing things even more, one of the trashcans on the City Hall plaza has an ashtray. City Councilmember, DON LANE, who was a big pusher of the anti-smoking ordinance, is also one of the "pro-homeless" city councilmembers. Yet he supports the ban on Sleeping after 11PM citywide.

In today's SENTINEL, in a op-ed piece called "Snooze, You Lose", LANE's position is characterized as being " that people sometimes fail to make the distinction between protesters and transients -- and those who by circumstance or health find themselves without shelter and need help."

Is LANE arguing that we should only shelter the "good" homeless and arrest or cite those who remain sleeping outside of the shelters? Does he think "bad" homeless people should be routinely punished with sleep deprivation as a matter of law? With friends to the homeless like LANE, we don't need enemies. But then LANE has enriched himself off homeless efforts before.

Previously LANE was hired as the only paid employee to aid the Homeless Issues Task Force in 1999-2000. LANE then produced the final report minus the recommendation of that task force that the entire camping ordinance be thrown out or possibly re-written. More recently he urged that smoking be "confined to private places" even though many homeless people smoke tobacco and have no "private places" in which to smoke.

In the wee hours of August 13th, 4 police cruisers arrived with 6 officers to cite or arrest the sleepers. People quickly jumped up, many rolling up their bags, and only one citation was issued to one of the new, homeless youths.

"We at Peace Camp 2010 wonder how the citizens of Santa Cruz feel about this insane waste of resources deployed against a few peaceful people," wrote DOYON on twitter about the raid. The County must be wondering the same thing as they consider what comes next after making 9 arrests and issuing 25 citations for misdemeanor "lodging." 25 jury trials potentially await with defendants who, all but one, qualify for a public defender.

Contrary to reports, no one is TRYING to get cited. "We're trying to get the Sleeping Ban repealed," Doyon said. "No one WANTS to get arrested."

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