Santa Cruz Indymedia :
Santa Cruz Indymedia

The SCPD Have Violated First Amendment Constitutional Rights

The Anonymous Poster asks, "How [does this violate protected First Amendment expression]?"

As I've already explained:

The SCPD have violated the First Amendment Constitutional rights of the people of Santa Cruz through an illegal covert operation at taxpayers’ expense.

These kinds of covert operations are illegal. They were banned by the Senate in the 1970s due to public outrage about COINTELPRO and Watergate. In the 1980s the Socialist Workers Party sued the FBI for millions of dollars for their covert activities against the SWP.

The Patriot Act, however, does subvert these freedoms from government spying and harassment. It would be interesting if the City Government tried to use the Patriot Act to defend their activities subverting democratic rights here in Santa Cruz since the City Council has also passed a resolution saying they are opposed to that same act.

Politically the City Government will have a hard time using the Patriot Act to defend their actions. In addition I think that a very good legal and political argument can be made that the Patriot Act itself is illegal in that it violates various constitutional rights including the First Amendment.

At this meeting the police were a hostile presence and their suggestions were not meant to be helpful.

Undercover police agents have a long history of this kind of disruption of political movements in this country. One of the most common forms of disruption is attempting to get the movement to do something stupid or illegal that can then be used to discredit the movement or arrest movement members or both. Another common strategy of police agents is to work to divide and disrupt the movement in ways that hurt the ability of the movement to organize.

In addition the FBI has used information gathered through infiltrations to get people fired from their jobs, burglarize and assault activists in their homes and offices, and even to murder targeted activists.

The infiltration of legal political activities by government agencies is an intolerable violation of the law under the First Amendment of the Constitution and will not be tolerated by the people of Santa Cruz.

The City Council is directly responsible for these acts by allowing years of violations of civil liberties by the police department and the City Manager. Some of these council members have been on the City Council for decades and have been the chief spokespeople in white washing and attempting to justify political repression and other police abuses.

Likewise the newer council members have refused to take the basic steps necessary against the Chief of Police and the City Manager to correct an ongoing problem.

While we demand that the City Council take the steps necessary, including firing City Manager Dick Wilson and Deputy Chief Vogel we must also hold the feet of City Council members to the fire. As the boss of the Santa Cruz police and city bureaucracy they are responsible for a police department, city manager, and city law office that are all immersed in a culture of anti-leftist repression.

How City Council members deal with this will be up to them. To the extent members of the City Council make moves to correct this problem they may be seen as heroes to the public. On the other hand they can choose to do nothing and then this will be just another repeat of the past. A repeat where the City Council either justifies and defends police misconduct, pretends it didn't happen, or does too little to correct it, once more encouraging more abuses to take place in the future.

Keep your eyes on Cynthia Mathews, Tony Madrigal, Mike Rotkin, Ed Porter, Tim Fitzmaurice, Ryan Coonerty, and Emily Reilly and hold them responsible for what they do or don’t do. Hold their feet to the fire, it is the only way to either get them hopping towards justice or getting rid of them.

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