Santa Cruz Indymedia :
Santa Cruz Indymedia

Re: An open letter to the Santa Cruz City Council in protest of police infiltration:

I think my uninformed speculation (see the other thread) concerns the 4th amendment against unreasonable searches and siezures. Robert Norse seems to have the opinion that surveilance of politcal activists does not violate the 4th amendment, but I would dissagree in this case. If it can be shown that the cops needed a warrant to do any kind of undercover work at a private residence, then what actually happened may be a 4th amendment violation. For them to show up in person with false disguises, to me it is the same as if they put an infinity bug on a phone in the room. Or if they search your car by asking you if they can hitch a ride without first telling you they are a cop. If they did that without a warrant or probable cause (such as you asking them if they are a hooker in the case of a car search) it is wrong. An infinity bug is a device which amplifies the signal generated by the mouthpiece of the telelphone, which is transmitted over the phone lines even when the phone is on the hook. (Think of the open switch as a capacitor and I think it becomes obvious how this occurs. A capacitor conducts the AC signal from your voice just fine.)

A warrant is not needed to put an undercover cop at the Wired Wash because it is publicly accessable. You might still need a warrant to put a bug in the room, but probably not to have an undercover cop be there. My uninformed speculation is that the cops may have been attempting to move the meeting to that location (Wired Wash) so as to provide "admissable evidence", since surveilance without a required warrant at a private residence would have been "inadmissable". It is also possible that the entire case, if any, would be thrown out if it started with illegal surveilance. That's assuming of course that the cops could come up with trumped up charges for someone if they chose to do so.

Thanks Steve, for clarifying the First Amendment violation which occurred. I don't think the cops should be let off the hook, no matter which avenue we persue to try to snag them in their own web.

Just don't be suprised if Mike Rotkin and the local ACLU fail to help us.

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