HUFF prepares for Protest Against Police Cover-Up 11 AM-1 PM Sub Rosa 703 Pacific Wednesday 12-17

HUFF looks for clearer skies tomorrow after its meeting when we assemble at the police station at 2 PM  on Cop Corner for some flyering, feeding, fasttalking for passing pedestrians and vehicles.  Then closer to Copland for a Speak-Out, perhaps a Shriek-Out against police violence.

The HUFF meeting at 11 AM  will consider the latest police non-response to Public Records Actg requests for police use of force (tasers, batons, pain-compliance holds, choke-holds, bullets, etc.).  We will discuss a response to the upcoming Homeless (Lack of) Services Center Homeless Death Memorial (reportedly Thursday), consider emergency responses to the unmet Warming Center crisis, take Street Reports, and attempt to link up with protesters across the state and country who are addressing police violence against the unhoused communities.

Come, have fun, discuss what might work, then do it!

More Fuel for Wednesday’s Protest at Cop Corner in Santa Cruz

The protest against SCPD acquisition of the Bearcat armored vehicle,
its targeted attacks on homeless people,
its lack of transparency,
its huge bite out of the Santa Cruz budget,
its growing militarization,
its backroom manipulation of the political process,
its use of force record
its failure to discipline abusive officers
its failure to address real crimes of violence against women, minorities, and the poor

…all will be up for discussion, debate, and protest tomorrow at 2 PM at Laurel and Center Streets.

Bring an umbrella, warm clothing, noise-makers and friends!    (“Keeping Up the Pressure: Protest at Cop Corner”).

Information and a downloadable flyer about the protest are at

A gripping and informative video and a series of hard questions can be seen at   (“Bearcat-a-tat-tat” Video and Abbi Samuels Letter to the Mayor”).

Come Out on the Streets to Demand An End to Local Police Secrecy and Profiling

Keeping Up the Pressure: Wednesday Protest at Cop Corner

The SCPD has still not responded to concerns about racial and class profiling by Officer Bradly Barnett and videoed concerns that Officer Bill Azua is selectively ticketing African-Americans in downtown Santa Cruz for trivial offenses. It has not released specific reports on its use of tasers, batons, choke holds, pain compliance holds, and drawn weapons as requested in Public Records Act requests. It continues to militarize the department through acquisition of surveillance and armored vehicle acquisition without meaningful public input or debate. Instances of documented officer abuse of homeless people such as Officer Vasquez’s sidewalk smash of Richard Hardy remain unredressed. HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) calls for an active and diverse protest Wednesday December 17th at 2 PM at Laurel and Center Streets.



Please distribute this flyer widely and come on down on Wednesday–or start your own protest!Further Information:

Vasquez’s Hardy Take-down:

Barnett’s Anti-Homeless Profiling:–homeless.pdf
Barnett’s Racial Citations:

Azua’s Selective Ticketing of Blacks on Pacific for Smoking:

Prior Stories: “Protest Shuts Down City Council, Urban Assault Vehicle Approved, Anti-Homeless Law Delayed” at
“SCPD No Disclosure of When People were PepperSprayed, Choked, Tasered, Gun-Bullied or Shot” at


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Councilmember Posner Has Office Hours Around Pacific Avenue Street Stuff

After some delay Micah Posner has agreed to be in his office 11 AM to noon every Friday to hear take input on the new (goes into effect December 25th) “Performer Pens” law.  He asks that folks call in advance if they’re planning to come in on his office line at 831-420-5028.

For this Friday only, Posner says he’ll be in the office at 3:30 PM

Posner is finally establishing office hours at the request of HUFF and some street performers.

Presumably he’ll also be interested in hearing about other concerns regarding ordinances downtown impacting poor people (such as the current 1-day Stay Away ordinance–due for explosive expansion on January 11th).   And he has expressed a continuing interest in bemoaning the Sleeping Ban (while voting for laws that further empower rangers and police to enforce it).

The ordinance (MC 5.43) further restricts and freezes in place specific spaces where the public can perform, vend, table, or panhandle.  It also likely more severely limits the sitting spaces on Pacific Avenue where one can put butt to sidewalk.

Neither he nor Lane moved to abolish or amend the Move-Along law section of 5.43, which poses huge ($300+) fines on anyone with a cap, open guitar case, table, or other “display device” who fails to move along every hour after being told his “time is up”.  (Police have falsely directed people  to move every hour and “time themselves” but the wording of the law requires a warning after an hour is up.

A sight-disabled man at the HUFF meeting yesterday advised us he was ticketed for his painting activity when he didn’t clean up and move on quickly enough for the various police officers surrounding him.

HUFF has strongly opposed the anti-homeless Downtown Ordinances–particularly the “forbidden zones” law which shrinks available space for sitting and sparechanging to less than an estimated 1% of the total sidewalk area, and available space for vending, tabling, and performing to less than 2%.
[See “Restore Sidewalk Space For All; End the “One Hour of Free Speech and Get Going” Rule” at ]

Lengthy e-mail dialogue with Mayor Don Lane from a few months ago can be found at [“Vice-Mayor Meets With Activists on Performance Pens Along Pacific Avenue 1:30 PM Today “]

As far as street performing goes, HUFF supports the Voluntary Street Performers Guidelines [ )] created in 1980 by Tom Noddy & other performers and effective for 22 years before being bulldozed over by the Reilly-Mathews Council of 2003.

Council Moves to Shut Down “Shame” Protest; Excludes Public; Jettisons Agenda


Council Moves to Shut Down “Shame” Protest; Excludes Public; Jettisons Agenda
by Robert Norse
Tuesday Dec 9th, 2014 10:29 PM

Every single speaker opposed the acquisition of a new armored police vehicle at the afternoon City Council meeting. When two speakers turned their backs on the Council, outgoing Mayor Robinson made arrest threats, further heightening the tension in the room. At one point the Council left the room, leaving the community to organize its own meeting. They shortly returned, quickly voted in the police vehicle, without giving a clear answers to questions about the deadline requirement, additional costs, and the potential for further militarizing the police force. Speakers began shouting “shame” from the floor. Police “escorted” one out; others raised the cry; police then cleared the chambers and the Council met (illegally) behind locked doors and drawn shades.

At the request of activist Steven Argue and others, Micah Posner pulled item #13 “2015 Homeland Security Grant Funding – Budget Adjustment (PD/FD)” off the agenda for more extensive debate.

At some point I hope to give a more extensive account of the critical testimony as well as the police PR for the “rescue tank”. It took the police half an hour or more to come up with a picture of the machine–which activists had found on line hours before.

Deputy-Chief Clark claimed the agenda item was “time sensitive”, but declined to specify what the deadline was for applying for the grant. Councilmember Posner–who asked the question–considerately took him off the hook and immediately suggested that Clark’s assurance was enough for him. He moved that the $250 grand piece of heavy hardware be accepted with the caveat that it “not be used against peaceful protesters”, and that in future such items be placed on the regular agenda and given several weeks notice for the public. Posner’s scramble to please all sides while essentially rubberstamping the item was pathetically obvious.

His motion was voted down 5-2, and the item passed 6-1–prompting the cries of shame that led Robinson to order police to force the public to leave the meeting.

Outside, people continued to shout “shame”. When the Council resumed deliberations behind locked doors, it refused me and others access without explanation. No one was arrested or cited. Demands that he Council allow the public to reenter the chambers were ignored. The shutters were drawn. At several points police chief Kevin Vogel asked me if we could hear the proceedings through the speakers–which we couldn’t. That didn’t stop the Council from proceeding as though we weren’t there. Well in fact, we weren’t. We were all locked out.

One bright note was that any action on the infamous Stay Away Ordinance was postponed until the second Tuesday in January according to Micah Posner. A second was the apparent determination of many ejected from the meeting to hit the streets in protest in the days ahead–specifically Saturday when a day long event with marches, die-in’s, and other actions against police violence are planned. Additionally some felt empowered and for once not cowed by the police-backed authority of City Council.

Outside HUFF brownie baker “Push Back” Pat Colby served brownie, coffee, and vegan soup–compliments of Jumbogumbo Joe Schultz.

The evening session, I’m told proceeded with the usual congratulatory blather and a post-coronation chowdown in the Civic.


I”ll be playing some audio and commenting on the afternoon’s events on Free Radio Santa Cruz Thursday evening 6=-8 PM at 101.3 FM and/or .

HUFF outruns the rain Wednesday 11 AM December 10th Sub Rosa

HUFF prepares for rainy weather tomorrow:  Discussing the Upcoming Saturday protest at the Town Clock against Police Violence, the implications of City Council’s Shut down today, Soldarity with Berkeley and other Cities rising up to demand real change.   Also up for consideration–Small Claims Court Struggle, Occupying Warming Centers in Winter, and…whatever else we can piece together.  With coffee and munchies.

Last Council of the Year Takes a Bow Over the Bodies of the Poor in Santa Cruz

Last Council of the Year Takes a Bow Over the Bodies of the Poor


City Council meets today ignoring the national and local crisis around police class and race profiling. Ignoring foreign militarism, national police scandals, and local police profiling, they will be patting themselves on the back as they vote on a final escalation of the War Against the Poor. Here’s a reiteration of some items that are coming up.

At 1 PM in Council chambers, City Council will be following a unusual procedure in holding the open interval of its closed session in this larger room. It will then retire to the smaller City Council Conference room behind the chambers where it usually meets behind closed doors in “Closed Session”.

What’s peculiar here is the process being followed. Two of the most powerful and well-paid officials in the City–the City Attorney and the City Manager are up for “performance evaluation”. The on-line agenda suggests that it will be behind closed doors with the public excluded.

City Manager Martin Bernal controls the hiring and firing of the Police Chief Kevin Vogel.

The SCPD refuses to open its records of use and display of force, tasering, pain compliance holds, choke holds, gun drawings, baton use, and so forth (See “SCPD: No Disclosure of When People were PepperSprayed, Choked, Tasered, Gun-Bullied or Shot” at

Unaddressed claims of racial profiling also hang over the department (See “Race and Class Bias in the SCPD: What’s the Real Story?” at

City Council is legally required to open its closed sessions–however briefly–for public comment. Of course, Mayor Robinnson (and in-coming Mayor Don Lane) haven’t cared much for that in such matters as allowing unimpeded recording of City Council meetings (See “Video of the False Arrest at Santa Cruz City Council for Audio Recording ” at


Consent Agenda Item #13 is titled “2015 Homeland Security Grant Funding – Budget Adjustment (PD/FD)” This is likely to come up shortly after 2:30 PM.

See “Santa Cruz Police to Procure $250K ‘Rescue Vehicle’” at

Could be another Steve Clark special (he’s our reactionary Deputy Police Chief) rushing to amp up the department’s aggressive image? With anger against police abuse rising all around the country, it’s a good time

I’ve asked Councilmember Posner to pull this item from the agenda for discussion rather than a rote vote. The public has been banned from pulling items and requiring they be more fully discussed and individually voted on. Other City Councils, our Board of Supervisors, and past City Councils have had this rather elementary public process, but it was removed at the behest of former Mayor and incoming Supervisor Ryan Connerty some years back. Neither Posner nor Lane have moved to restore this process.

Cafe HUFF will be serving brownies and brew (that is, coffee) as well as Jumbogumbo Joe Schultz’s soup, hopefully as early as 2;30 PM


The time for this item is uncertain but probably between 3:30 and 4:30. Come early to be sure.

This is the latest anti-homeless eruption from the Public Safety Task Force/Public Safety Committee. It’s aother step demonization of the poor outside and follows on a long train of anti-homeless laws and policies.

The law that vastly increases the discretionary power of rangers and cops to arbitrarily ban people from large areas of the city (not just parks) for any infraction, no matter how minor with no court injunction, conviction, or charge.

To paper over this homegrown Constitution-shredding, the City Attorney came back with an “administrative review” process that would have the stay-away order dissolved if a city employee appointed by the city manager finds the infraction “unjustified” “by a preponderance of the evidence”.

The new wording of the ordinance is at . Or go to and click on item #18.

All correspondence received by City Council has urged the law be voted down. But it is likely to pass 5-2 or 6-1.

The one-day stay away law, passed last year, and equally un-Constitutional and abusive passed unanimously. Councilmembers Posner and Lane have yet to apologize for this travesty which has been used 1000 times by Homeless Deportation squads in uniform, according to their own figures.

Steve Pleich has said he will appeal the proposed expansion of the law but probably not the current law.


Want to raise issues that others are raising on the streets (and that are planned for a Saturday day-long rally at the Town clock)? Come and speak out demanding fundamental changes in the SCPD. (See for my thoughts on the issue). HUFF will review the record of the Council and the SCPD.


At 7 PM outgoing Council blowhards will make speeches celebrating their wonderful terms in office and the in-coming Council elected people will do the same. Around 8 PM or soon thereafter, the whole jolly crew will cross the street to the Civic Auditorium where the public is invited to mingle and munch with them on various pastries and pies. It’s a tradition.

Fortify yourself for the Wednesday storm. Bring some homeless friends. Confront the privileged in public. While chowing down at the same time.

HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) meets Wednesday morning at the Sub rosa Cafe 11 AM to plan for protests and express solidarity with those in other cities.


Protest Rising in Santa Cruz?

Escalating Protest Against Institutionalized Police Bullying on the Horizon?
by Robert Norse
Saturday Dec 6th, 2014 12:33 AM

I see rising national outrage against police, prosecutors, and politicians for the entrched system of callous class and vicious racial warfare. Will this find local expression in demands for profound change here in Santa Cruz? HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) will be serving Shout-Out Soup at Tuesday’s afternoon City Council meeting opposing the “Stamp-Out-the-Homeless” Stay-Away Orders. I’m also suggesting some ideas for a overturning the current SCPD system that covers up class and racial abuse, targets and scapegoats the homeless, packs the jails with Drug War criminals, and makes the community less safe. HUFF will be supporting a Saturday of protest on December 13th, demanding justice for us all.



Protests continued in many cities across the nation for the third day and night (see even Fox news at ). The demand for an end to police violence and privilege is something to make the ghost of Emma Goldman dance up a joyful storm. While symbolic, peacemeal, and focused on a few individual cases, awareness is growing that individuals and communities abused by the police are not alone. Not only the talk of the nation, I hope this swelling tide becomes the talk of the town and the county–a series of tsunamis with enough force to engulf the castles of power and privilege. Could it happen here?To that end, I present two flyers which I’ll be distributing tomorrow at the Xmas parade (10-noon), the UN Human Rights celebration (noon to 3), and the “Compassion is not a crime; Food is a right” demonstration at the main post office starting at 4 PM. HUFF will also be gathering tickets and providing claim forms to be filed against the city for police and ranger abuses against poor and homeless people involving property theft, the Sleeping Ban, Stay-Away-from-Parks edicts, and the Downtown Ordinances at the Food Not Bombs table at 4 PM We’ll also be at City Council Tuesday afternoon at 3 PM along with soup, coffee, and brownies.

§Protest at City Hall Tuesday 12-9

by Robert Norse Saturday Dec 6th, 2014 12:33 AM


§Reiterated Background

by Robert Norse Saturday Dec 6th, 2014 12:33 AM



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SCPD Hides Records on Beatings, Chokings, Taserings, and Gun Draws

In August of this year, the SCPD forwarded me its Policy 300, covering Use of Force. They also refused to respond to the substantive part of my request detailing when and where they drew their guns, shot their guns, used their tasers, initiated choke holds, used their clubs or pepper-sprayed. City Council’s “Public Safety” Committee has been spending its time wagging its tail behind the “Homeless Are Criminals” Public Safety Task Force and, as far as I know ignored this important issues that have now assumed national prominence. I include my initial Public Records Act request and the responses that followed.

QUESTIONS THAT DEMAND ANSWERSDoes the SCPD report on the number of injuries suffered by and inflicted by its officers to federal authorities? Is such available to the public? I’m putting in a Public Records Act today.

Are racial stats available in regular reports that may clarify whether other police officers are disproportionately citing African-American (“black”) people in issuing citations. (See “Race and Class Bias in the SCPD: What’s the Real Story” at )

When and where are the specific uses of force used, as described in the original Public Records Act above. Who used them? What injuries were created? Were the individuals so impacted ever charged with or convicted of crimes?

NOW IS THE TIME…. for public pressure and protest to demand answers to these questions, so Santa Cruz can separate itself from the National Shame of class and racial police abuse. With the national media focused on these issues, we are at our strongest point in raising issues long ignored here.


SCPD PAIN-COMPLIANCE TECHNIQUES…”Officers may only apply those pain compliance techniques…when the officer reasonably believes that the use of such a technique appears necessary to further a legitimate law enforcement purpose.”

CHOKE HOLDS: “The carotid restraint may only be used when the officer reasonably believes that such a hold appears necessary to prevent serious injury or death to an officer or other person(s).”

DEADLY FORCE: “An officer may use deadly force to protect himself/herself or others from what he/she reasonably believes would be an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury…[or] to stop a fleeing suspect when the officer has probably cause to believe that the suspect has committed or intends to commit, a felony involving the infliction or threatened infliction of serious bodily injury or death, and the officer reasonably believes that there is an imminent or future potential risk of serous bodily injury or death to any other person if the suspect is not immediately apprehended.”

LEG RESTRAINTS, CONTROL DEVICES, AND TASERS: Go to (at least for the 2011 Policy Maual) and check out sections 306, 308, & 309.

In August of this year in response to a Public Records Act request, the SCPD forwarded me its Policy 300, covering Use of Force. However refused to respond to the substantive part of my request detailing when and where they drew their guns, shot their guns, used their tasers, initiated choke holds, used their clubs or pepper-sprayed. City Council’s “Public Safety” Committee has been spending its time wagging its tail behind the “Homeless Are Criminals” Public Safety Task Force. Yet these issues are of particular local importance for those of us who want to restore real peace and justice in our community. Hopefully this record may be helpful in those carrying on the investigation and the struggle.

I reprint the correspondence in Comment section below as well as my latest follow-up Public Records Act Request .

For the 2011 SCPD Policy Manual go to

Hopefully Jacqui will be providing the updated manual (if it has been updated) soon.

If anyone else has been having fruitful correspondence (or unfruitful correspondence for that matter) with the SCPD–please post your results.


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Upcoming Events in Santa Cruz as Anger Rises Against Police Abuse

A series of homeless related events and meetings is happening in the next few days. These include Thursday 12-4: 6:45 AM demolition of the important “Jungle” homeless camp in San Jose; 4 PM: Association of Faith Communities meets at the Red Church (Lincoln and Cedar) to discuss winter shelter & other issues; 5:30 PM: County Recommendation Input at Vet’s Hall for Homeless Planning in City and County; 6:30 PM San Jose “Jungle” report on the City’s destruction of the camps from Robert Aguirre at (101.3 FM); Friday 12-5: 5:30 PM Cooper & Pacific “Dump the Drones” Demo; 5-9 PM Farewell to Free Skool at Sub Rosa Cafe Saturday 12-6: 10 AM Downtown Xmas Parade; noon-3 UN Day at Abbot Square w/Media Benjamin…and more…

Thursday 12-4:
6:45 AM Demolition of the important “Jungle” homeless camp in San Jose;
4 PM: Association of Faith Communities meets at the Red Church (Lincoln and Cedar) to discuss winter shelter & other issues; 5:30 PM: County Recommendation Input at Vet’s Hall for Homeless Planning in City and County;
6:30 PM San Jose “Jungle” report on the City’s destruction of the camps from Robert Aguirre at (101.3 FM);

Friday 12-5: 5:30 PM Cooper & Pacific “Dump the Drones” Demo;
5-9 PM Farewell to Free Skool at Sub Rosa Cafe

Saturday 12-6: 10 AM Downtown Xmas Parade;
noon-3 UN Day at Abbot Square w/Media Benjamin;
4 PM Restore Rights to Food Servers Across the Country Sidewalk Near Main Post Office (see “Compassion is NOT a Crime – Food is a Right ” at;

Not to mention…Protests at They Happen Against Racial Profiling and Police Abuse in Santa Cruz and Nationwide, especially after the NYC Grand Jury thumbs-up for the murderous police gang that choked to deathAfrican-American Eric Garner for “resisting arrest” in a stop for “illegally selling cigarettes”. See


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