Santa Cruz Indymedia :
Santa Cruz Indymedia

Sentinel: Undercover officers rile New Year's Eve parade planners

"If it's a public meeting about a public event on a public thoroughfare, we'll be there." -Lt. Rudy Escalanate
SANTA CRUZ — Planners of a downtown New Year's Eve parade say two undercover Santa Cruz police officers "infiltrated" public planning meetings for the grass-roots event.

On Friday, Santa Cruz police Lt. Rudy Escalanate admitted that the plainclothes officers attended the meetings, but he had a much different take on their attendance.

Santa Cruz canceled First Night celebrations this year, but the alternative "Last Night Santa Cruz DIY Parade" was created to take its place. It begins at 6 p.m. today at Laurel Street and Pacific Avenue.

In planning meetings in a Santa Cruz home, which were announced on the group's Web site, two men attended three meetings and did not let on they were police officers, giving false names, phone numbers and e-mail addresses, said Wes Modes of Felton, an artist and carpenter who helped plan the parade.

Modes said that was an infiltration and said the officers were "profiling" people at the meeting.


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