Friday, December 27, 2013

Santa Cruz: Echos of the 'Code Blue' campaign of terror against homeless residents

Human Rights abuse in itty-bitty Santa Cruz [link]

"Bring Back Code Blue" Sticker Found in Downtown Santa Cruz
2013-12-27 by Alex Darocy []:
Update (2014-01-01): An associate contacted me and reported seeing a Bring Back Code Blue sticker, like the one pictured in this article, stuck on the bumper of a car that was driving in downtown Santa Cruz on December 30.
On December 25, a sticker with the statement "Bring Back Code Blue! Santa Cruz, CA" printed on it was found on a no trespassing sign located on Bulkhead Street at the rear entrance to the parking lot of two businesses in downtown Santa Cruz. (I spotted the sticker when I was walking on Bulkhead Street.)
Many residents remember the phrase "code blue" as a reference to when officers within the Santa Cruz Police Department organized a pattern of violent assaults on homeless or "street" people in the 1980s.
As the story goes, when police found a person on the street they wanted to attack, they used the phrase "code blue" over their radios to call other officers to the scene to participate in the beating. Today, little information about what has been called "operation code blue" is easily accessible by the public. In 2012, Deputy Chief of Police Steve Clark did publicly confirm he was originally hired to fill a position within the SCPD that became vacant after the police attacks became public knowledge in the 1980s.
The bartender working on Christmas at the Rush Inn, which is one of the businesses that uses the parking lot, said she was filling in that day and that she didn't know who placed the sticker on the sign, or what it meant. When she was informed that "code blue" was a possible reference to the police practice of assaulting homeless people, she was appalled and immediately removed the sticker from the sign.
Clarification: No one tipped me off. I spotted the sticker by chance when walking on Knight Street. The sticker appeared to be brand new, and when the bartender pealed it off of the sign it came off cleanly.

"Wishful thinking: A personal history of 'code blue'"
2013-12-28 by Razer Ray []
I remember those guys. Catanni, Reyes, Chevalier, and another one or two whose names I don't recall, when Gino Pini was Chief of Police and the old conservative 'regime' ruled Santa Cruz (Chevalier shoved me, while in uniform, in public one day in front of the Peppermill restaurant by the alley next to the location where Plaza visions Optical is now, because he was looking for someone and was frustrated by my not knowing)
I'm going to write WHAT I KNOW PERSONALLY FROM OBSERVING THEM AND "DEALING" WITH THEM and would LUV to see other people's PERSONAL experiences recounted here (NOT myths, third hand stories and rumors... all immediately discounted as bullshit)
Sidebar: At that time it might be noted there was a much larger percentage of travelers, and not as many displaced local people with longstanding connections to the community in the 'streett' population. Which leads me to believe, along with other social factors such as a typically much more educated SCPD officer than those Jock High School graduates (Education? Catanni ended up an alcoholic working at an East Side liquor store for decades) who took the prereqs for eligibility as police officers and that's all (One patrol officer I know has his masters in Sociology... He KNOWS why the 'problems of Santa Cruz' exist and probably reads the NY Times, not the Senile) the same "Code Blue" scenario is NOT viable in the current mileau. Dispatch... As we will see, plays prominently into this and the logging required in these days of Homeland Insecurity would also prevent the following collusion I describe.
And that IS the bigger issue... The "Code Blue" boys worked in COLLUSION with on-duty officers, despite denials all around from the SCPD and the city at the time of the SCPD's dismantling by the state for that "alleged collusion"... not for the acts of the off-duty cops themselves.
Now... My story, which illustrates that SOMEONE at the SCPD must have known what was going on.
Alex Darocy: "As the story goes, when police found a person on the street they wanted to attack, they used the phrase "code blue" over their radios to call other officers to the scene to participate in the beating."
This is not the way it worked.
The code blue goons were four or five SCPD local boyz who hung out together at the dingy old Del Mar bar in the Palomar arcade where the Palomar restaurant bar is now. They worked OFF-DUTY. I'll repeat OFF DUTY, thugging not only the occasional homeless person who had personally pissed them off, but local kids who annoyed them as well.
At the time quite a few local kidz were very much into burglarizing the nuevo-riche homes springing up as the computer industry expanded over the hill (similar sociology to Hawaiian loco's, and haolie tourist's motel rooms getting looted while the tourists are out 'touring' for the day) making them not just 'jail bait' but seen by the goons as 'problems' in the same manner homeless people were considered to be undesirable and problems.
What I witnessed (besides the shoving incident w/ Chevalier recounted above):
It was a summer evening at the old Santa Cruz Metro station. At that time (early 80s) the 'bus station' was ON Soquel between Pacific and Front on both sides of the street. The Soquel parking lot was in the same place but it was just a parking lot not a multi-story building. The bathrooms, park style, and a driveway where the alley next to the Trust Building now is, are in essentially the same places as that time. Next to the driveway towards Pacific, the original Pizza My Heart, and then farther towards Pacific, Uncle Gaylord's Ice Cream store.
I was standing waiting for a bus and a couple of local kids/problem children... Billy P (name withheld. He's a well known local auto mechanic now) and Gabe Butterfield (Yes... Paul Butterfield the blues musician's son) were dawdling near the bathroom next to the driveway when a private car sped out of the lot screeching to a halt in the driveway egress to the street. All 4 doors (maybe 3... it IS a long time you know?) flung open and the Code Blue boys jumped out, just like in the cop movies, with sticks and bats... the car still rocking from the sudden stop.
Billy and Gabe seemed to know what was up and started running. A couple of "Code Blues" (again OFF-DUTY and OUT OF UNIFORM) chased Gabe up to Pacific and northbound while the other literally started thugging Billy up against the window of Pizza My Heart with at LEAST a hundred people at the bus stop watching, stunned. People hollerd at him but no one was willing to attempt getting the the guy, who banging Billy's head against the glass of Pizza My Heart's window, off him
Mist likely because it all happened to fast and they looked too well organized and mo one wanted to get into that 'mix'.
All of a sudden, it couldn't have been longer than a minute or two, a couple of police cars sped onto the scene blocking Soquel, and one immediately got the goons off of Billy while the other one chased northbound on Pacific on foot.
I remember commenting cynically to the person standing next to me at the bus stop: "Watch what happens when that cop comes back around the corner..."
Sure enough, Gabe was in handcuffs and the off duty cop was walking with them, his stick MIA, and as they took Gabe across to the police car on the B of A (New Leaf) side of the street I hollered
"HEY! You've got the wrong guy! Those people just jumped that kid with a bat for NO REASON!"
The cop turned to me, still in the middle of the street with Gabe in handcuffs, with a hundred people looking at us, and said: "Shut Up!"
I retorted:  "What do you mean shut up?
The cop came back with: "You want to go to jail too?"
Then he piled Gabe in the car and left. At least a hundred people witnessed this thugging incident.
Eventually these guy's bravado and arrogance got the best of them. They were actually going around to local businesses pitching for donations to assist their 'work'. Then they pitched the guy who owned Morris-Abrams clothiers... where the Indian restaurant is at the corner of Lincoln/Pacific now. It was a small clothes store that sold mostly men's stuff, including Boy Scout uniforms and other BSA paraphernalia and kits.
Morris-Abrams was owned by an old (snigger) Eastern European Jew.
I'm sure he smiled as they pitched him and told them what a great idea it was even as he was thinking WTF? These guys are BlackShirts!
shortly after that... he didn't bother going to the city or county legal people, or the SCPD's Internal Affairs, he went straight to the State AG's office and the dismantling of the SCPD began.
The new Chief of police, Jack Bassett if I remember correctly, was from Cleveland, and hired a LOT of new officers who came from larger cities, and for the most part, the new guys took one look, said what crime?, and things calmed down a lot... for a while anyway.
Today the thugging is institutionalized, NOT COWBOY JUSTICE.
Don't turn your back on them. They'll say you were fleeing and faceplant you!
You MIGHT get 'ticket blitzed' and made an incarcerated 'scofflaw'.
NEVER make any quick moves around ANY COP ANYWHERE ANYTIME!
No matter who, and I pointed no finger, it's an attempt to cause recollection of something truly unlikely to occur in the same fashion if only due to the DHS proscribed logging of all unit's comms and literal realtime location data for them, and other less obvious, arguable perhaps, sociological reasons.
So all that's really possible from a wish for a "Code Blue" anymore is derived from the "Vigilante Meme" inherent in the events of the early 80s.
It's stupid no matter who did it.
I KNOW the owner of a store nearby from a music industry relationship in the 80s, and I can tell you, beyond ANY shadow of a doubt, that person would NOT condone a "Code Blue" of ANY sort.
If the jackwad who put that sticker up is reading this is intent on organizing such a relationship with SCPD officers, or intends to act on the meme inherent in that sticker with a group of civilian vigilantes. Be forewarned. Your 'code blue' dream could quickly become your criminal court nightmare and not even Robert Norse will come to picket in your name because ... Snigger... Your kind just ain't welcome 'round these parts by the RESPECTABLE MEMBERS of the community. Ya hear?

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