Santa Cruz Indymedia :
Santa Cruz Indymedia

Political Surveillance Supposedly Banned Unless Criminal Activity Under Investigation

As I undertstand it, the use of undercover police to surveille political gatherings doesn't violate the Fourth Amendment (unlawful searches and seizures). It does however violate the First Amendment. It has a chilling effect (as FBI infilatration of the CPUSA did during the 40s and 50s) and was specifically banned after the Church Committee investigations into police abuses in the 60s and 70s.

If there is reasonable suspicion of criminal behavior, police have the right to surveille. I don't think this was the case here (unless you view Last Night's lack of a permit as a "criminal action"--which isn't very persuasive).

I urge organizers and interested parties to file Public Records Act requests asking for all email and hardcopy of communications between City Council, City Manager, City Attorney, and Police Chief on political surveillance in Santa Cruz over the last three years.

The City has been regularly taking Homeland Security grants.

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