Thoughts on Escalating Police Violence in Santa Cruz


> Date: Fri, 26 Apr 2013 06:02:51 -0700
> Subject: The Artificial Creation of Crime and For What?
> From:
> To:
> The Artificial Creation of Crime and For What?
> April 25, 2013
> The Artificial Creation of Crime and For What?
> Yesterday I watched the Youtube video of a drunk homeless man being
> accosted by law enforcement I couldn’t help wonder what other options
> could have been employed by the persons responsible for public safety
> (homeless persons are included under the definition of the “public”).
> Let’s explore the options: the police could have walked by, smiled and
> kept moving. This would be my favorite. They could have questioned the
> duo, and then moved on, realizing they were drunk and minding their
> own business and harmless – number two on my list. They could have
> arrested them and when they got belligerent, “tasered” them, saving
> the one guy from a potential brain damaging blow to the head from a
> cement collision and resolving the situation – not the best option
> but better than a hospital stay. Apparently this dangerous situation
> called for backup and a physical confrontation.
> According the Santa Cruz police department there were 3 homicides, 33
> rapes, 83 robberies, 313 aggravated assaults, 527 burglaries, 2792
> acts of larceny, 264 auto thefts and 21 acts of arson. That makes 11
> of these types of crime per day. So I am just wondering if police time
> could be better spent on these types of crimes. Sitting on a bench
> drunk didn’t make the list for 2012 but there will be at least one
> offence for 2013. The good news is the Santa Cruz police department
> has launched Twitter and Facebook Pages and has a Mobile App for
> iPhone and Droid!
> Back to the dynamic duo. So let me get this straight, there are two
> guys on a bench, drunk, but doing a whole lot of nothing, and not
> really in any condition to walk, let alone able to creating mayhem. So
> pretty much the sum total of their transgression is akin to speeding
> or jay walking – it appears to me these two guys were totally
> harmless…so, here’s the result, the police initiate a confrontation,
> then the situation escalates, the two become belligerent (they weren’t
> belligerent before the cops arrived, begging the question what’s the
> catalyst?). This results in a booking, hospital visit, jail time for
> one, costing the tax payers tens of thousands of dollars, issuing
> nuisance citations that will never be paid, generating arrest warrants
> (again costing more money), the officers will get paid 1.5 their pay
> for overtime and retire at 45 with a healthcare benefits and a
> generous pension…and the City of Santa Cruz gets sued into oblivion
> (again) by a smart young attorney …not to mention the guy got his
> face bashed in and potential brain damage and pain…and for what? Who
> wins here? The man was belligerent. Who gives a shit? My kids are
> belligerent and so are my employees. So what? Adults handle these
> situations with common sense. The new buzz issue these days is
> bullying, but this is worse than bullying, it’s brutality. The
> standard justification for acts like this is how hard the job of the
> police is – as if this justifies assault? Being a doctor is a hard
> job. Working in the fields is a hard job. Having a hard job doesn’t
> justify being an ass hole. This is crime creation, not law
> enforcement. And they could have just walked by.
> Posted by D. B. Loisel.NORSE’S NOTES:

Nicely put, Doug.

I wouldn’t suggest tasering,  which can also be lethal and tends to be misused as curbside punishment for less-than-swift-compliance.   But rather calling for a few more cops to help  move the guy into the squad car.

The new strategy seems to be to use fear and punishment if people don’t fully cooperate,  seems like.

I’m normally not a fan of megacopping on Pacific Avenue–I’ve seen half a dozen instances of it in two weeks around things like “leaning against the railing of the fence near the New Leaf Market”  (an incident involving Brent Adams and Officer Ahlers), 4 squad cars blocking traffic on the street while a fifth parks across the street (near community TV) to handle one drunk on the sidewalk who’s already handcuffed (and may have also been slammed down–I got their late and his face was bleeding).   Actually both these and a third happened on the same day–I witnessed the first, got a first hand account of the second, and a more distant account of the third–I think it was Friday April 5th.

Maybe there’s a “message” police are trying to send out to drunks similar to the message their vigilante cousins are sending out to homeless people:  “get out of town or get hurt”.   Just wonderin’.

Finally, the cops also often use this “drunk in public” charge to haul people in, seize their property, and sequester it for days–notably homeless people and their backpacks and blankets, when folks simply have an open container or are mildly buzzed and “have the wrong attitude”.  They are then held in a cell for a few hours and released in the cold wee hours without charges.

It looked like Richard Hardy–the name of the man assaulted by Officer Vasquez–was perhaps too drunk to take care of himself–the actual definition of drunk in public, rather than the police misusage above.  So perhaps he had justification, but what really tells is the subsequent behavior of the cops (“Are you all right, Richard?”) where they attempt to whitewash their brutality for the watching videocamera and the cover-up of the matter by the SCPD (not aware that Vasquez has been relieved of duty pending investigation).  Also with the Copley decision of a decade ago, there’s no public revelation of any disciplinary consequences unless someone leaks it.

Hardy, by the way, was reportedly released from Dominican yesterday, but I’m not sure if that’s because they’re cheap, or because he’s truly recovered.

The aggravated anti-homeless climate in Santa Cruz (I got another report yesterday of 4 guys jumping a man named Gabriel as he headed for Cabrillo College–which you  may have heard on the radio–report to be posted soon) is ramping up and solidifying this long-time police corruption.

I’m hoping to begin creating a video on-line library of such local incidents and turn them into a well-edited video that demonstrates both police brutality locally and the abusive anti-homeless laws to pass on the public in another of my (often seemingly ineffectual) Calls to Conscience.

Thanks for your analysis.


Subject: RE: [huffsantacruz] Thoughts on Escalating Police Violence & in Santa Cruz
Date: Fri, 26 Apr 2013 21:05:28 -0700

Unless we’re talking some new laws, jaywalking doesn’t mean not crossing at a crosswalk, but crossing in a block between two stop lights or obstructing traffic.  Were you doing either?   What’s the ordinance they cited?

Subject: RE: [huffsantacruz] Thoughts on Escalating Police Violence & in Santa Cruz
Date: Fri, 26 Apr 2013 10:33:21 -0700

11pm officers winston and “coffy”?.. in front of new leaf as they were scaring off drunken street performers.

I crossed a vacant well lit street to pass by them.  He recognized me from afar and said, “SIR!!  COME HERE NOW!!”
….. and asked me to produce my ID.   it was because i had crossed the street outside of the cross walk.

they both indicated that they knew about the police violence video.

Subject: RE: [huffsantacruz] Thoughts on Escalating Police Violence & in Santa Cruz
Date: Fri, 26 Apr 2013 10:23:35 -0700

Thanks, Brent.  When and were did this happen–if you remember?  Any video or further commentary?  Number of officers involved, for instance.  Time of day, etc.  As well as the ultimate consequences (did the ticket show up in court?).

Subject: RE: [huffsantacruz] Thoughts on Escalating Police Violence & in Santa Cruz
Date: Fri, 26 Apr 2013 10:21:05 -0700

i was given a ticket for Jay walking and officer Coffy tried to give me a ticket for an unregistered bike untilWinston told him that they don’t do that anymore because its illegal.

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