Video Exposing Abuse of the Homeless Suppressed

A video of a Clean Team activist, supported by other Clean Team members, harassing, assaulting, and battering a homeless camper was posted for several days on a SC Patch article (“Fever Pitch – Interview with SC Clean Team founder TJ Magallanes” at http://santacruz.patch.com/groups/jeremy-leonards-blog/p/bp–fever-pitch-interview-with-sc-clean-team-founder-0c63abc71a ).

Under what he described as intense pressure and threats, the author removed the video, both from the SC Patch website and from You-Tube.   Brad Kava, the local SC Patch manager, says that all the original comments (more than 75, some estimate) were eliminated through a technical  glitch.   I  was able to save some and have restored what I  could in the article below.

Both the video and its subsequent censorship under hostile pressure from supporters of Take Back Santa Cruz [TBSC] and The Clean Team [ TCT] is an important indication of the crypto-fascist devolution in Santa Cruz under the phony “Public Safety”, “Environmental Protection”, and (most shrilly) “Needle Menace” labels.

City Staff, the SCPD, and the City Council  have in recent years supported and intensified anti-homeless laws and policies such as the Sleeping Ban, the Sitting Ban, the Panhandling Ban, etc. and is currently considering repressive measures.  These include monitoring of the pathetically limited services of the Homeless (Lack of) Services Center, new Stay-Away-Before-You‘re-Even-Charged orders in the parks, triple fine zones on the parks and beaches,

Additionally armed goon squads (First Alarm, Panther Patrol, SCPD, Hosts, Rangers) abusively patrol the downtown area massively responding to and/or false citing  “crimes” like sitting next to a vacant building, displaying jewelry, jaywalking, smoking, and walking along Pacific Avenue in violation of an anti-homeless “Stay Away” order.  Most recently homeless people with companion dogs that they regard as service animals are being cited if a person is on the street after dark.

SCPD assailant Nathan Vasquez, who maliciously or incompetently dropped Richard Hardy face down onto the sidewalk, sending him to Dominican Hospital is still reportedly on the job.  Attempts to file either assault charges and Internal Affairs/Professional Standards compllaints against him have been rejected by the SCPD.

In the last several months there have been more ominous incidents.  Gabriel and Sam-I-Am reported group “get out of town” physical assaults. 

Official harassment and stereotyping is also on the rise.Steve reports being told when he walked into a shoe  shop to ask about buying a pair of shoes “you can’t use our restroom”.  Deputy Chief Clark was observed harassing and driving away a homeless man from Starbucks

With the TBSC-orchestrated destruction of accessible Needle Exchange in the City, the stage is set not merely for a greater health hazard (more costly to everyone) and more improperly distributed needles, but following that, another wave of Needle Hysteria–created by the very shut-down.

Meanwhile a TBSC-cowed City Council moves to Keep Santa Cruz Scared with a Public Safety Citizen’s Task Force, stacked with right-wing homeless-hostile types who are sedulously following SCPD Clark’s ridiculous claims that homeless “crime” is taking up 41% of the calls.  The “crimes” have been created by laws pushed by the SCPD criminalizing homeless people in public downtown, in the parks and Pogonip or on the levy, around the library, politically protesting the measures at City Hall, and through the “predictive policing” auto-generated police activity.  Non-criminal activity like drinking a beer or sleeping at night is a “crime” in public spaces.

Peeing and pooing are also crimes–even though the city adamantly refuses to open 24-hour bathrooms.  The War on Marijuana and Drug Users impacts  homeless people as its first victims.  TBSC takes credit for blocking a recent Medical Marijuana dispensary application in Harvey West) is being dialed up with homeless people its first victims.  Meanwhile there is virtually no emergency shelter nor drug rehab programs.  And, of course, no affordable housing or living wage employment.

Meanwhile Take Back Santa Cruz and The Clean Team rage, but more important, the Santa Cruz City Manager, Council, and Police pretend that they are “managing” a “Public Safety” crisis, while what they are actually doing is stirring up hate crimes against the poor and engaging in systematic and “legalized” human rights violations.

When a video appeared documenting this, it was denounced and suppressed.

Video of Take Back Santa Cruz-supported Clean Team Harassing Homeless Forced Off Internet
by Robert Norse
Wednesday May 15th, 2013 11:31 PM

A week ago, writer Jeremy Leonard posted a video with faces disguised of a member of the Clean Team threatening and harassing a homeless camper as he and others did one of their regular “clean-up’s”. The video was only up very briefly before it was taken down. A few days ago it reappeared as part of a long interview Leonard did with former Clean Team founder T.J. Magallanes. The interview–still up as of this writing–provoked dozens of comments, and reportedly numerous threats against Leonard. The entire thread was removed as well as the video. I saved some of the thread and reprint it here.

The interview with T.J. at this writing can still be found at http://santacruz.patch.com/groups/jeremy-leonards-blog/p/bp–fever-pitch-interview-with-sc-clean-team-founder-0c63abc71a?ncid=newsltuspatc00000010 .

I shall attempt to repost it, if it too disappears. In all fairness, SC Patch writer (and frequent SCPD groupie) Brad Kava has explained there was a broad technical problem that resulted in both the removal of the video and all the comments.

Subsequently Leonard wrote me that he also took down the video from You-Tube because, even with faces and voices disguised, he was getting too many threats.

I will be playing a phone interview I had with T.J. Magallanes on Free Radio Santa Cruz at 101.3 FM (streams at http://tunein.com/radio/FRSC-s47254/) tomorrow (Thursday May 16) at 6:30 PM. I invite listeners to call in at 831-427-3772.

The interview will archive at http://www.radiolibre.org/brb/brb130516.mp3 about half an hour into the audio file.

The recent Sentinel, SCPD, and City Council hyperfocus on the Collins, Baker, and Butler killings–freak incidents which provoked rage and grief (while the deaths of many homeless and poor people go unnoticed or vilified)–seems to me part of a political campaign to Take Over Santa Cruz with an old and repulsive ideology. It’s the same story, dripping with venom that the Downtown Association, the Mathews-Coonerty crowd, and now the ascendant Bryant-Terrazas-Robinson-

Comstock coalition is spewing.Ramp up the drug war, hire more cops and security guards, declare more areas off-limits to everyone (since just targeting homeless would be unconstitutional and give away the game), cut off homeless services, encourage public hostility to homeless and transient people, encourage a “snitch system” to spread terror among the poor and drive them out of town. Scream “needles, needles, needles” and terrorize residents into supporting deeper police state measures to “monitor” the poor. Along the way, shut down needle exchange, marijuana distribution centers, and other classic right-wing targets.

THE COMMENT STREAM THAT WAS DELETED OR CRASHED

I saved as many of the comments as I could–none before the one I made (which I wasn’t able to save). They include comments by both supporters of TBSC and TCT as well as critics. The real issue isn’t those organizations per se, but the question of whether the “clean up” activity is really a mask for “cleaning out” a class of people in Santa Cruz that are being demonized as a “Public Safety” hazard.

What’s really shown here is how far TBSC and TCT supporters will go to preserve the image of their group as a nice family-friendly group with no nasty prejudices or agenda. The suppressed video, which I’m still hoping will reappear, shows how hollow these claims are. The speed with which the video was suppressed is ominous.

Much of the thread may be repetitive but I wanted to put as much of it up as I could save.

I was able to post some of the times of some of the comments. Some comments are still up, not the earlier ones or the video.

Deb: “i will try again . . .i do not know tj and don’t know the merit of his allegations. his ideas can certainly be debated. what is interesting to me, are the lack of responses about what takes place in the video. i think that says a lot.” 11:33 5-14

Jeremy Leonard: “Thank you for your comment, Deb. I have been interviewing homeless people in town for the past couple of months on and off, and just yesterday I interviewed a guy that is living in his car. I bought him a coffee at Pergolese, and let him talk. He said that he is feeling more pressure, and knows several other people that have gotten beaten up recently. It’s my fear that if we allow even veiled anti-homeless dialog to persist, then we aren’t really making Santa Cruz a safer place. I wasn’t targeting any one group with my opening paragraphs on groupthink per se, it was just general commentary on human nature. We should be mindful of what we say, because as we see in the vid, good people can be lured into following a “leader’s” example…be ti good or bad. I disguised the voices and speakers, because my goal is not to throw anyone under the bus, it’s to just make people think before they act. The guy in the sleeping bag deserved none of that.” 11:49 5-14

Paul: “Pretty funny- you didn’t see it because it was deleted 🙂 I remember these events specifically. I, myself, was silently kicked out of the group in under 3 minutes for making one positive comment about HSC and saying that the biggest problem was that there was no treatment available for the population that needs it the most. Nothing rude or cobfrontational, just what I thought was a good point to bring up. For groups that are so vigilantly moderated around the clock, it’s ridiculous to hear them say they’re not responsible for all the comments. That may be technically correct, but every admin is responsible for leaving all the hateful and incendiary comments up and at the same time deleting the ones they don’t personally agree with.” 12:03 5-14

Paul: “Basically everyone that has listened to either group knows that the behavior in the video is exactly what is being cultivated by both groups. They just got caught with their pants down. Santa Cruz can do better than this.” 12:10 5-14

The article continues at some length at: http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/05/15/18736901.php

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