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Police State & Prisons News

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On February 16, Santa Cruz County District Attorney Jeff Rosell announced his office will not file charges against Erik Bailey, the Santa Cruz Police Department officer who shot and killed 32-year-old Sean Smith-Arlt on October 16, 2016. SCPD Officers Erik Bailey and Adam Baker were the first officers to be dispatched to a house on Chase Street that evening after residents called to report a disturbance at the home. When police arrived they say they confronted Sean, who was advancing towards them with a gardening rake. Within 20 seconds they deemed him a threat and opened fire on him. Sean was experiencing mental health issues at the time of his killing.
What sounded like a garbage truck at first in the dark hours of the morning turned out to be a nightmare for many families in the Beach Flats, Lower Ocean, and Live Oak neighborhoods of Santa Cruz on Monday morning, February 13. Beach Flats residents report hearing helicopters overhead and flash grenades cast into several homes while an unidentified voice (no indication of jurisdiction) on a loudspeaker demanded that "[street address] come out with hands on head" blared. This caused confusion because [street address] is the address to the entire apartments complex.
At 8:30am on the morning of February 2, at least 80 Oakland Police raided the village. Structures were then bulldozed by the Department of Public Works (DPW). The inhumane action went against the wishes of hundreds of Oakland residents who contributed to building up the sanctuary for two weeks. Sixteen residents, half of them elderly, were displaced. An additional four guests who were seeking sanctuary for the night were also rudely awakened. Two of the evening guests who slept in The Promised Land open air living room, sought refuge because Caltrans had destroyed their encampments down the street.
Protesters and journalists have reached a tentative settlement with the City of Berkeley in a National Lawyers Guild federal civil rights lawsuit over police brutality at a December 6, 2014, racial justice protest. The plaintiffs alleged that they were clubbed and tear gassed for no reason and forcibly herded more than a mile down Telegraph Avenue, from the south campus area into Oakland. The settlement, which is expected to be approved at the February 14, 2017, Berkeley City Council meeting, includes policy changes intended to prevent a recurrence of the police misconduct, and $125,000 for seven plaintiffs.
Tue Feb 7 2017 (Updated 02/10/17)
Trump's Muslim Ban Protested Nationwide
On Friday, January 27, Donald Trump issued an executive order banning refugees and other visitors from seven predominantly Muslim countries. The following day, thousands of people began to gather at airports across the United States to protest. At San Francisco International Airport, over four thousand protesters showed up in support of migrants and against the Muslim ban, virtually shutting down the airport. On Monday, courts across the nation began to weigh in, halting parts of the ban in differing regions. On February 3, a US District Court judge in Seattle ordered a nationwide stay on Trump's entire executive order.
President Trump signed executive orders on January 24 to push ahead with the controversial Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines. Both projects sparked widespread opposition and protests, especially because of their risks to water, wildlife, climate and people. On January 27, attorneys representing the first ten water protectors arrested in actions against the Dakota Access Pipeline in early August 2016 renewed their motion for a change of venue, on grounds that the state did not adequately respond to their motion and is not taking basic steps to assess bias among jurors.
A warrant from police in Arkansas seeking audio records of a man’s Amazon Echo has sparked an overdue conversation about the privacy implications of “always-on” recording devices. The story serves as a wakeup call about the potential surveillance devices that many people are starting to allow into their own homes. The Amazon echo is not the only such device; others include personal assistants like Google Home, Google Now, Apple’s Siri, Windows Cortana, as well as other devices. Digital assistants and other IoT devices create a triple threat to privacy: from government, corporations, and hackers.
On the morning of Saturday, January 21, a network of Oakland community members took over Marcus Garvey Park, a public plot of land at 36th Street and Martin Luther King, Jr. Way, moving in small homes, a hot shower, a healing clinic, and other services — declaring it a people’s encampment for those who need housing and basic needs and services. The group which includes folks living on Oakland streets, activists from Feed the People and Asians for Black Lives said that the move-in demonstrates their ability to provide what the City of Oakland cannot to its most vulnerable residents.
Mon Jan 16 2017 (Updated 01/22/17)
Reclaiming King's Legacy in the Age of Trump
For the third year in a row, actions will be held across the Bay Area to “Reclaim King’s Radical Legacy." In previous years, protests and rallies culminated with a large march in Oakland on Martin Luther King Day. This year, with Trump set to be inaugurated as the President of the United States on the Friday after MLK Day, protests will be held over five days, from MLK Day on January 16 through to the inauguration of Donald Trump on January 20. A diverse coalition will engage in 120 hours of direct action, coalition building, and campaign launching against white supremacy.
A recent US Supreme Court decision, “Williams vs. Pennsylvania,” could open the door for Mumia Abu-Jamal’s freedom. The decision ruled that a prosecutor cannot later sit as judge over the same defendant’s appeal. This is exactly what happened in Mumia’s case. On December 8, marking the 35th anniversary of imprisonment for American political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal and to protest the refusal by prison authorities to provide necessary medication, a coalition of supporters in Philadelphia, Toronto, Wellington, and Oakland demonstrated.
A lawsuit filed on December 13 by civil rights groups charges the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) with violating the constitutional rights of homeless people by confiscating and destroying their property in ongoing sweeps. Plaintiffs have lost cherished and necessary items, including family heirlooms, photographs of loved ones, tents, sleeping bags, warm weather clothing, tools, food, camp stoves, bicycles, and personal documents. “Caltrans has been a major obstacle to getting my life together," said plaintiff James Leone. "Twice in six years, I’ve been left with only the clothes on my back. Twice I’ve lost everything I own in the world.”
Chanti Ollin, a well-known autonomous cultural center in the gentrified financial district of Mexico City, was violently evicted on November 22. Eight hundred riot police, two helicopters, and an armored car executed the operation, illegally breaking into the building and detaining 26 individuals without so much as a judicial order. This eviction takes place against the backdrop of Mexico City's new constitution, which seeks to privatize land and resources, and suppress any political or cultural activity that disrupts this profit-making program.
iCal feed From the Calendar:
Rain at Midnight? Freedom SleepOut #85 Faces Wettest Winter Keith McHenry (story by Norse) Monday Feb 20th 11:19 PM
Pack the Courthouse for Yuvette Henderson APTP Sunday Feb 19th 2:44 PM
Sanctuary for All March In Fresno Mike Rhodes Saturday Feb 18th 4:16 PM
Community Support for Black Lives Matter in Capitola Robert Norse (1 comment) Saturday Feb 18th 3:31 PM
SCPD officer Erik Bailey named as killer of Sean Arlt; DA won't press charges Santa Cruz Police News (6 comments) Thursday Feb 16th 3:30 PM
Raids on Santa Cruz Immigrant Communities Cause Severe Damage Xirenita (2 comments) Thursday Feb 16th 1:51 AM
Highly Militarized ICE Raids on California's Central Coast No Raids, No Wall (3 comments) Wednesday Feb 15th 5:56 PM
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Cower or Continue? Bob Lamonica Wednesday Feb 22nd 9:07 PM
The Long History of Human Incapacitation by Politics and the Press Wolfgang Jungmann Tuesday Feb 21st 6:14 AM
Art of War : Executive Order K. Larmee Saturday Feb 18th 11:06 PM
Please Say No To Serially Executing Neil Gorsuch Universal Abolition Thursday Feb 9th 4:35 PM
Milo Yiannopoulos event canceled after violence erupts UC Berkeley Public Affairs Thursday Feb 2nd 8:13 AM
People at a forum called 4chan are trying to entrap undocumented people An Ally (1 comment) Thursday Jan 26th 8:12 PM
MI6 operative on anti-Trump campaign Matthew Wheeler Monday Jan 23rd 1:38 AM
Trump, spokesman slam U.S. media over inaugural crowd coverage afpRappler (1 comment) Saturday Jan 21st 11:04 PM
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