Santa Cruz Indymedia :
Santa Cruz Indymedia

LOCAL News :: Civil & Human Rights

Santa Cruz City Council Will Face Trial in mock-Nazi salute case

On Friday, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the City of Santa Cruz's summary dismissal motion in the lawsuit of Norse v. City of Santa Cruz for its false arrest. Norse was arrested at the instigation of Councilmember Tim Fitzmaurice for a silent protest against Mayor Krohn's repressive silencing of a peace activist during oral communications.
As described in detail in earlier postings on indymedia (references below) then-Santa Cruz Mayor Christopher Krohn arrested Norse for a silent "heil" salute. The salute was in resonse to Krohn's silencing a member of the public improperly. The salute expressed the not unusual view of the City Council: "you're acting like a bunch of Nazis"

When Councilmember Fitzmaurice interrupted proceedings to demand that Mayor Krohn evict Norse for the impertinent gesture, Krohn--on advice from Kennedy--recessed the meeting and arrested Norse. Norse was taken away in handcuffs and held 5 hours in jail.

He subsequently sued the Council both for redress and to stop subsequent arrests or intimidations against other people.

The lawsuit was initially rejected by Judge Whyte, and an appeal to Whyte's ruling made in the fall of 2003. The 9th Circuit Court has taken an unusually long period of time responding.

The case will now return to San Jose for continued to discovery and eventual trial. Councilmember Fitzmaurice will be able to explain in his own words why it's legal, appropriate, and a use of good taxpayer money to arrest critics who make silent gestures.

The 2-1 decision of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reversing Judge Whyte's dismissal of the false arrest Norse lawsuit is available at this website:

To read the original press release on the arrest and subsequent indymedia discussion of it see "SCruz: Robert Norse Arrested at City Council Meeting " 13 March 2002

To a view a video of the full "Heil Krohn" incident see "SCruz: Video of Robert Norse Incident" 16 March 2002

To read the initial Sentinel story on the arrest of Norse see "SCruz Sentinel: Activist Robert Norse offers Nazi salute, ends up in jail" 14 Mar 2002

For a legal analysis of the Norse arrest, see California First Amendment Coalition Analysis of Robert Norse Arrest!!! 17 March 2002

For some of the prior history of City Council repression against homeless activists see "Call For SCruz Reporters: Protest @ City Hall this Tues" 24 March 2002

To read what happened at the next Council meeting when activists served the Council with a lawsuit, go to "SCruz: Threats but No Arrests as Activists drop Federal Lawsuit in Council's Lap" 27 March 2002

See also Heil Krohn appeal by Thomas Leavitt (20 Nov 2002) for Whyte's dismissal.

For further analysis of the Norse case check out "CFAC Flash Article on Norse appeal of Heil Krohn case" 20 November 2002

There will be more discussion and postings on this subject down the road.

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San Francisco Chronicle story (Saturday 12-4-04)

Federal court OKs suit over Nazi salute
Bob Egelko

Saturday, December 4, 2004

Visit "the otherpress" section on SC-IMC to read the article.

Re: Santa Cruz City Council Will Face Trial in mock-Nazi salute case

is this a JOKE?


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