Human Rights abuse in itty-bitty Santa Cruz [link]
This attempt by the mysterious masked American Revolutionary to address Human Rights abuse in Santa Cruz has been endorsed by organizers with the "Homeless United for Friendship and Freedom (HUFF)" [www.huffsantacruz.org] [firstname.lastname@example.org], who not only are campaigning for Human Rights, but are also protesting the new July 11th "thou shalt not hold a sign on the median" law as well as its more toxic brother "parks for the privileged" ordinance in Santa Cruz, and solidarity with the Bay Area city of Palo Alto in its struggle to preserve the right to sleep in one's vehicle.
The masked American Revolutionary conducted his action in solidarity with Peace Camp 2010
and Occupy Santa Cruz, "where homeless gear was destroyed by authorities in efforts to clear the protest camps from public space"... Peace Camp continues it's campaign for justice against Human Rights abuse in Santa Cruz, despite their campaign being attacked, with participants under threat of incarceration for 17 years, as described in the following adapted from their comment at the article by Alex Darocy posted at IndyBay.org:
PeaceCamp2013 is virtual. Yep, 4th year! :)
Beginning on July 2nd, 2013, PeaceCamp2013 has been (virtually) protesting at a different site every night. The courthouse, city hall, State capitol, everywhere in California (at once), Whitehouse, U.S. Congress, U.S. DOJ, U.S. Supreme Court...
As of today; no tickets, no arrests, and no answers to the simple question "Why is sleep a crime?". Mostly via Twitter (so far). #LegalizeDreaming [twitter.com/PeaceCamp2010in]
And, beginning on July 9th, 2013, PeaceCamp2013 has been (virtually) protesting in 'solidarity' with 'American revolutionary'.
Commander X recently tweeted the following... "Statement From Commander X On The 3rd Anniversary Of Peace Camp 2010" [bit.ly/124b8L2] [twitter.com/CommanderXanon/statuses/352599433843707905]. He also writes, "All totaled, between state and federal charges - I face 17 years in prison for peacefully standing up for human rights at Peace Camp 2010." [twitter.com/CommanderXanon/statuses/352578756029841408]
#PeaceCamp2010 #Anonymous #PLF #Revolution
The message of the masked American Revolutionary: "The practice of keeping property, that the homeless need to survive, for several days or weeks is yet another tactic used by law enforcement to harass the homeless out of town. Unlike other tactics though, this one can lead to homeless deaths from exposure and hypothermia. I believe there were four homeless deaths from hypothermia in Santa Cruz in 2010. By accepting service of this notice, the authorities can no longer assert that they were unaware of the dangers they subjected the homeless to when sued by the parents or children of a homeless woman who dies of hypothermia while her sleeping bag remains in lock-up. Wrongful death suits can run into the millions. I am doing this masked and anonymous because I have seen other effective activist who challenge law enforcement misconduct like Wes Modes and Brent Adams, later become targeted by the police."
The American Revolutionary added the following to the comments following the article by Alex Darocy posted at IndyBay.org:
2013-07-12 "More on the Tactic" by American Revolutionary -
i cited and had a photocopy of California Penal Code 185 where it says: "It shall be unlawful for any person to wear any mask, false whiskers, or any personal disguise (whether complete or partial) for the purpose of: One—Evading or escaping discovery, recognition, or identification in the commission of any public offense. Two—Concealment, flight, or escape, when charged with, arrested for, or convicted of, any public offense. Any person violating any of the provisions of this section shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor."
some other states still have unconstitutional "Wear a mask-go to jail" laws.
the mask does give cops reasonable suspicion to detain you for a Terry Stop.
here is an example of what you will run into:
cop-why the mask?
protester-to prevent reprisal
cop-we won't do anything to you (yeah right..cops are allowed to lie)
protester-others might, the press is here, i don't want my picture in the media, besides Penal Code 185 only makes a mask illegal for criminals, i am not doing anything unlawful
cop-what's your name?
protester- i wish to remain anonymous
repeat over and over.. (they must have asked me my name 20 times, in various ways.)
cop-why are you on gov. property with a mask?
protester-i am serving legal notice on the gov.
also bring protest signs to give you extra protection with the 1st Amendment.
one cop asked me if i belonged to a group called "Free the Blankets". Naacp v Alabama allows you to protect your identity when you promote unpopular causes, since you would be completely "chilled" from speaking out at all from fear of reprisal.
DON'T DO ANYTHING ILLEGAL or threatening or make any sudden moves, note the cop with his hand on his gun. this is why i had to do it alone, other protesters might start taunting trigger happy cops.
if detained you must not leave until they say you can. but they can't hold you a long time, keep asking if you are free to go.
finally and most importantly make sure the press is there. the press not only get the message out to the people, but also provide crucial Cop Watch protection. cops are less likely to violate you if a camera records it.
as Norse (of HUFF) commented, the City is worse on this issue. i started with the County because i had very good evidence on them, sheriffs found the man who died from hypothermia and i had citable testimony that proved Gary (of Peace Camp) did not get his property back.
if they had not re-jailed him, he might have died that cold December night...
2013-07-08 "'Black Bloc' Action at Gov. Center Calls Attention to Police Seizure of Homeless Property"
by Alex Darocy [www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/07/08/18739525.php]:
On July 3, an activist served representatives of the Santa Cruz County government with a written notice stating that the Sheriff department's policy of seizing the property of pre-trial homeless detainees violates federal code and the United States Constitution. The notice was accepted, and the activist believes that if a lawsuit is brought against the county, the authorities can not assert that they were unaware of the dangers they subject the homeless to. The activist served the notice wearing a face mask, believing strongly that individuals have the right to serve branches of the government with legal papers anonymously.
"By not immediately returning said property upon an indigent's release from custody, your affirmative action deliberately places that person in greater danger of dying from hypothermia than that person was in before the arrest," the notice read.
The notice was submitted to the county with a legal brief styled cover letter which listed a plaintiff as "future litigants" and a defendant as Sheriff Phil Wowak. It was titled, "Notice of Deliberate Indifference to the Probable Wrongful Deaths of Indigent Pre-Trial Detainees."
"The practice of keeping property, that the homeless need to survive, for several days or weeks, is yet another tactic used by law enforcement to harass the homeless out of town. Unlike other tactics though, this one can lead to homeless deaths from exposure and hypothermia. I believe there were four homeless deaths from hypothermia in Santa Cruz in 2010," the activist stated in a press release.
In the notice, the activist referenced the Santa Cruz Superior Court case brought against Gary Johnson in 2012. That case featured testimony detailing the seizure of Johnson's property during a sleep demonstration that Johnson undertook in 2011 and 2012 to protest the local ban on sleep at the county court house. When Johnson was arrested during a multiple evening sleep demonstration by Sheriff's deputies with the county, his possessions were confiscated. When he was released from the Santa Cruz County jail at 10pm, he was left with none of his possessions when confronting another evening of sleeping outside.
In his notice to the county, the activist referred to the seizure of Johnson's property as a, "cruel custom being used by law enforcement against an indigent protester exercising his 1st Amendment rights in a traditional public forum."
The local activist, who wished not to be identified, donned a face mask before entering several offices in Santa Cruz county's government building on Ocean Street during the afternoon of July 3. He said the action was in solidarity with Peace Camp 2010 and Occupy Santa Cruz, where homeless gear was destroyed by authorities in efforts to clear the protest camps from public space.
The activist self-identifies as an "American revolutionary."
He described wearing the mask as a "Black Bloc" tactic. In the press release, the individual further explained that activists in Santa Cruz who "challenge law enforcement misconduct" later become targeted by the police.
The activist gathered first for a photo opportunity in the Santa Cruz County Law Library, which is located on the bottom floor of the County Government Center. He held a protest sign that said "Cold Can Kill" in front of some of the library's legal texts.
Cold Can Kill - Law Library
Santa Cruz County Law Library
He then visited the offices of the County Board of Supervisors and County Counsel in order to serve the notice.
A worker in the County Counsel office accepted the notice with very little comment. The clerk at the Board of Supervisor's office was having some trouble discerning what type of legal document the notice was when the activist served it there, and the woman working called another department on the phone attempting to determine if the notice had been served there yet.
The activist cut the process short and said, "Well, you have been served."
Cold Can Kill - Board of Supervisors
Clerk of the Board
Cold Can Kill - County Counsel
County Counsel Reception Desk
As he was leaving the Board of Supervisors office, four plain-clothes members of law enforcement wearing badges from the Sheriff's office arrived, two of whom were wearing hand guns in belt holsters.
"May I ask your name?" one of the deputies said.
"I would like to remain anonymous," the activist responded.
One of the deputies had his hand on his gun.
"Sir, we are getting some phone calls of people concerned because of the mask. Is there a need to have the mask on?"
"I'm not doing anything unlawful," the activist responded.
"I'm not saying that," the deputy replied. "I'm just saying that people are concerned, obviously, when they see the mask."
The activist explained that he wanted to serve the Sheriff's department with a legal notice. Deputies asked if there was anything they could do, and attempted to determine if the document was something they could officially accept as part of their specific duties with the department. After some back and forth, the deputies suggested they walk downstairs to their department.
A deputy then made another attempt to get the activist's name, explaining, "it's just that mask thing gets a lot of attention."
"That's why I did it," the activist responded.
While walking with the individual to the Sheriff's Warrants Division, the deputy holding his gun continued to do so as he followed the activist.
Four Sheriff's Deputies arrived
In the hallway of the Warrants Division, the discussion about whether the deputies could personally accept the document was repeated. They asked what type of document it was and the activist replied that it was a "Notice of Deliberate Indifference." They then referred him to the counter.
"Lets check with records, that way you have official service," one of the deputies said.
At the counter, a staff member quickly accepted the document.
Free the Blankets - Sheriff's Warrants Division
Deputy reads over the notice
Sheriffs concluded their interactions with the activist at that point, and he left the building without being physically followed.
When outside of the government building, the activist made his way to the final photo-op location, which was an area outside of the court house where Gary Johnson held his sleep protest in 2011-12.
There, the activist held a sign that said, "Being a sleeping bag is not a crime."
Being A Sleeping Bag is Not A Crime - Court House
Leaving the area
The notice the activist served the county was titled "Notice of Deliberate Indifference to the Probable Wrongful Deaths of Indigent Pre-Trial Detainees," and read, in full, as follows:
"This is notice that your current policies and practices regarding property seized from indigent pre-trial detainees, that they use to protect themselves from the cold, violates Title 42 Section 1983 of the Federal Code and the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution.
"By not immediately returning said property upon an indigent's release from custody, your affirmative action deliberately places that person in greater danger of dying from hypothermia than that person was in before the arrest. DeShaney v. Winnebago 489 US 189, 201 (1989)
"People can die from hypothermia in this area: see attached Exhibit.
"The property that indigents might use to protect themselves from hypothermia include blankets, sleeping bags, mats, tarps, and tents.
"For an example of this cruel custom being used by law enforcement against an indigent protester exercising his 1st Amendment rights in a traditional public forum see Superior Court of Santa Cruz case number M64170 Reporters Transcript III 551, 10-20, 553 2-16, and 554, 4-24 ."
Notice of Deliberate Indifference to the Probable Wrongful Deaths of Indigent Pre-Trial Detainees
2013-07-08 "Let me Know..." by Robert Norse:
...when the masked crusader intends to serve the SCPD--where it's even harder to recover your property and the wait is longer. Not to mention being a longer walk from the jail. I'll bring my vidcamera. Be advised that bogus "no recording allowed" notices litter the SCPD lobby--though that hasn't stopped us in the past. Nice work, Crusader! And a tip of the hat to Alex D.!
2013-07-09 "Sorry Robert..." by An American Revolutionary:
my clairvoyant powers tell me that those poorly trained city cops will actually shoot me. but fear not, i also have hacking powers that rival the great and notorious Commander X. if you look in your Downloads directory on your computer you will find you now have 2 Word files named hypo14th.docx and hypocover.docx that you can modify to serve on the city. add a sentence at the end about the SC muni code's no blankets after 11 pm not serving any rational much less compelling government interest. Then watch Barisone disappear that evil section in the code faster than Mayor Bryant's Bike Church emails did.
you will need to add a photocopy of this as the exhibit [www.santacruzsentinel.com/localnews/ci_21958060/deputies-redwood-city-man-died-hypothermia-exposure-aptos] as evidence people die from hypothermia in this area.
also add a photocopy of the few hours the public can access the police station, or add a separate Declaration in this form: "I, Robert (real last name) declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the State of California that the hours posted on the Santa Cruz Police Station are Tuesdays and Thursdays _____ to ______. "
then sign and date it. also sign and date the notice.
you don't need a proof of service or to file it since this isn't an actual case, just a notice.
the proper people to serve in the City are "full of baloney" Barisone at his office, "banal Bernal" at both his office and the City Clerk to be sure and the City itself at the City Clerk. You can also serve the Police Chief for fun.
to make it even more powerful re-serve everyone in email also CCing all the top lawyers you know.
i am not a lawyer - this is not legal advice.
today would be an auspicious day to serve them since July 9 is the anniversary of the ratification of the 14th Amendment mentioned in the notice.
2013-07-09 "Superb Activism!" by Brent Adams:
I highly praise this "American revolutionary" for this theatre of shame against the county and sheriffs department. The person has addressed a serious situation that has gone over-looked and he(?) did it with style and humor. It goes straight to the gut and to the heart. May this be an inspiration to all activists.
A new local super hero is born.
2013-07-08 "Forgot something?" by abogado o avocado:
Who forgot to add the proof of service to the back, never mind filing it with the court first?
2013-07-09 "Guess Who Else Reads Indybay?" by An American Revolutionary:
"Who forgot to add the proof of service to the back, never mind filing it with the court first?"
only Alex or someone at the County would know that. i almost put a blank proof of service on the back for fun. but filing and a proof would necessitate me revealing my identity in a situation where i have good cause to fear reprisal from the sheriffs. NAACP v Alabama alleviates me from that necessity. otherwise my 1st Amendment right here would be completely extinguished.
You are a "green lawyer" indeed.
All some big city lawyer needs to show to collect millions from the County and the Sheriff is :
1. a wrongful death due to not retaining and returning an indigents sleeping bag.
2. the Defendants had ACTUAL KNOWLEDGE of the danger
3. they had time to deliberate
4. they made a choice to ignore that danger
5. it is clearly established law in this context
the notice (and this news-story) satisfies 2. you are already out of time on 3 and 4.(lucky for you it is summer). you MIGHT have a chance for qualified immunity on 5 ONCE. but if Norse can interest an attorney to file for a Declaratory Judgment in Federal Court, you will quickly lose that loophole.
the smart thing for you overpaid fucks to do would be to mend your evil ways now and start acting like decent human beings.
this is not legal advice and i am not an attorney.
"Notice Of Deliberate Indifference!" by G:
While generally adverse to 'black bloc' stuff (in particular, the 'use innocents as shields' flavor), I (the prosecuted of PeaceCamp2011 & PeaceCamp2012) am flattered and encouraged by this 'action'.
PeaceCamp2013 (virtually) protests in 'solidarity' with 'American revolutionary'.
For the activists out there; notice that this action was political theater AND has legal teeth, an effective combo! My undertanding (see: Police Misconduct; Law And Litigation) is that deliberate indifference 'pierces the veil', turning immune state actors into legally liable individuals. Immunity is at the root of law enforcement abuses (see rash of cop kills dog (unprosecuted) crimes). Perhaps now, at least for blanket theft, their abuse of technical immunity will end. [PeaceCamp2010insider.blogspot.com]