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

It is an outrage that the Santa Cruz Government has been found to be infiltrating legal political activities in Santa Cruz through its police department.
An open letter to the Santa Cruz City Council in protest of police infiltration:

It is an outrage that the Santa Cruz Government has been found to be infiltrating legal political activities in Santa Cruz through its police department. These police agents lied about their names, contact information, and reasons for attendance in planning meetings. Their purpose was to spy on and potentially disrupt the legal political activities of activists organizing a New Years event that includes an anti-corporate and anti-war message.

This COINTELPRO type interference against the left by the supposedly liberal Santa Cruz City Government is an intolerable violation of the Democratic rights of the people of Santa Cruz.

The U.S. government, including the Santa Cruz Police, spy on, disrupt, and use violence against the left for one reason: They are afraid of and opposed to democracy.

Since the boss of the Santa Cruz police are the City Council we demand that the City Council make a public apology for this violation of basic democratic rights, fire all officers involved including Lt. Rudy Escalanate, and give a promise not to not carry out similar activities in the future.

The politicians that we are holding directly accountable and expect responses from are: Cynthia Mathews, Scott Kennedy, Tony Madrigal, Mike Rotkin, Ed Porter, Tim Fitzmaurice, Ryan Coonerty, and Emily Reilly.

Sincerely, Steven Argue
For Liberation News
lists.riseup.net/www/info/liberation_news

Undercover officers monitor New year's planners
santacruz.indymedia.org/newswire/display/19260/index.php

Send protest letters to the Santa Cruz City Council at: citycouncil (at) ci.santa-cruz.ca.us.
 
 


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Comments

Re: Undercover officers monitor New year's planners

Undercover officers monitor New year's planners
santacruz.indymedia.org/mod/otherpress/display/679/index.php
 

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

I know Scott's been on the council in the past, but what does he have to do with this most recent police abuse? I mean, the guys no angel but I hardly think he's culpable in this fiasco.
 

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

I think its Escalante.
 

Corrections

I forgot that Scott Kennedy was voted off of the City Council. He should be removed from this list.

On Escalante, I also seem to remember it being Lt. Rudy Escalante from his involvement in the repression of the May 22, 1999 anti-war demonstration. The spelling I used here earlier was from the Sentinel and is probably incorrect.
 

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

I remember the SC police doing nasty dirty and illegal things when I lived there in 1989. I was spied on in SC by a man we nicknamed "BUN" for Big Ugly Narc. Maybe he is still urking there...he is an old man with long white hair who wears this digital watch thing. He was so well known as a narc in the 80's in SC that one year someone went as BUN at Halloween and EVERYONE knew who he was playing!!!!! Unreal. I have endless stories of me and BUN.

The SC police once actually broke my property on the mall illegally when I was busking and I even put in a report and nothing happened. And I was LITERALLY RUN OUT OF SC by cops and the owner of the Heinz Biergarten. They gave me with 8 obscentity/peace disturbance tickets for busking and they threatened me as a poor single mom with serious crimes and basically said if I leave town, they will leave me alone which is why I never returned to SC. Too corrupt.
 

photo of Lt. Rudy Escalante

Click on image for a larger version

escalante_12-31-05.jpg
Lt. Rudy Escalante of the Santa Cruz Police Department was quoted in the Santa Cruz Sentinel on 12/31/05 defending SCPD infiltration of public meetings. Escalante states:

"If it's a public meeting about a public event on a public thoroughfare, we'll be there."

There was no reason for them to identify themselves as police, and they did not have to, Escalante said.
 

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

Understandable that they might not identify themselves, if not politically astute - but really, is there any proof they planned to disrupt the eventual parade?

Where is the proof that this was their purpose? Let's not wander off topic...
 

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

Our sources within the department say City Manager Richard Wilson and Deputy Chief of Police Kevin Vogel are the persons most responsible.

The city council has little say in day to day operations of this kind. Make your demands to the city council that the city manager and the police chief be held accountable.
 

Letter Sent By The President Of SEIU 415

Dear Council Members,

If there is any truth to the allegations that City of Santa Cruz Police have infiltrated groups conducting legal activities, I insist that you publicize the truth, stop this spying activity, and discipline any City employees who engaged in or ordered these outrageous infringements on residents civil rights and privacy.

Sincerely,
-Jeffrey Smedberg
 

Dick Wilson and Chief Vogel Are Only Part Of The Problem

Of course City Manager Dick Wilson and the Chief of Police are part of the problem. These people are no friends of civil liberties. That is why my platform included the firing of Dick Wilson and Police Chief Belcher both times I ran for City Council. Belcher and Vogel come from the same ant-leftist anti-poor culture of the SCPD and it is no surprise that Vogel is following in Belcher's footsteps.

The City Council does, however, have power over these employees and should be held accountable for their actions.
 

How Police Agents Disrupt

Nick "n5667" asks, "Is there any proof they planned to disrupt the eventual parade?"

No proof is necessary since I never claimed that I knew they had any such plan. These police agents did, however, disrupt planning meetings by infiltrating them with aliases and putting forward their opinions in democratic discussions where police opinions were not invited and were not wanted.

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 that they cause are working 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 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.
 

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

"and even to murder targeted activists."

We have to assume, even if incorrectly, that this is their ultimate goal. For now they are watching simply to observe, hinder, and conquer. But if these tactics fail to work...as they probably will, don't think for one second that they won't resort to the devil's work: murder, torture, etc. The picture with the undercover cop holding his hand to his face...don't think for one second that that pretty faced cop has no intention of murdering you, should the order be given. He'll do it with a proud grin on his face and sleep extra peacefully the following night and wake up to do it all over again to another peaceful American activist. This is a war of ideologies and we had better start treating it as such before it's too late. It's getting down to the wire and the bad guys see it for what it is: a battle of epoch proportions. We better catch up and start seeing it the same way. Right now, we're mostly sitting ducks squawking about these violations as though we're surprised.
 

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

Counter-Surveillance makes some good points but I also want to respond to their last point.

Counter-Surveillance says, "Right now, we're mostly sitting ducks squawking about these violations as though we're surprised."

Very little this government does surprises me. You shouldn’t mistake outrage and calls for action for surprise. On the other hand, if we were only talking to people who are not surprised, I would suggest broadening the outreach.

The ultimate goal of the government is not to kill us (although they have already killed some of us no longer here such as in the BPP). Their ultimate goal is to silence the opposition with the least possible reaction from a public that supports democratic rights. Reaching that goal may or may not include killing us. Yet, the more we squawk, the harder we make their job.

We do need to do more, but the squawking can only help.
 

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

what does the term busking mean??
 

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

"No proof is necessary since I never claimed that I knew they had any such plan. These police agents did, however, disrupt planning meetings by infiltrating them with aliases and putting forward their opinions in democratic discussions where police opinions were not invited and were not wanted.

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 that they cause are working 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 the movement in ways that hurt the ability of the movement to organize."

Did they really do this? Or did they just observe?..
 

Did they just observe? No.

They did not act as agent provocateurs, in fact on the night of the parade (perhaps because of that days Sentinel article) the police stayed very clear of us.

However, the undercover cops participated in meetings, asked questions, made suggestions, and even helped set the date, time, and location of the following meetings. They even committed to contacting the SurfRider Foundation who they said had expressed an interest in helping us clean up after the parade. At one point during a discussion of possible police response to the parade, the undercover officers were dismissive of the police.
 

COINTELPRO

For more on COINTELPRO, including FBI documents see:

www.icdc.com/~paulwolf/cointelpro/cointel.htm
 

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

How do you know they did not function as agent provocateurs?

How did they present you to SurfRider Foundation? What divisions have they created?

What harm have they done in terms of creating mistrust amongst our own ranks, especially with activists in the future that present themselves as "surfer dudes"?

What was their agenda when they suggested times? Was it just what was convenient for their police presence or did they have information that it was times that other activists could not attend?

What else did they do that we do not know about?

The police do not support our movements. Their spying on us as well as their suggestions are meant to harm legal political activities.
 

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

So I gather from Rico here that apparently the cops supported having the meeting in a public place, such as Wired Wash? Or was that mostly the legitimate organizers' idea? I still maintain that you probably have some legal protection against such covert surveilance in a private home, but not in a public place such as the Wired Wash. Of course there was the general ban on domestic spying on political groups that was supposed to have gone into effect in the 70's, but I'm not sure how effective that actually is. Does that ban mean that cops cannot surveil political groups in PUBLIC places without probable cause? Showing that the cops did not get a warrant for surveilance of a private residence is much easier to prove, I think. That angle should be investigated.
 

Legal Under The Patriot Act?

John Thielking says, "I still maintain that you probably have some legal protection against such covert surveillance in a private home, but not in a public place such as the Wired Wash."

On what legal advice do you maintain this opinion?

Perhaps whether or not the cops had a warrant can be used against them, since I'm sure they did not.

But why do you try to let the cops off the hook on the biggest issue? 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.
 

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

That angle should be investigated.
 

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.
 

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

Personally, I'd like more info from Last Night organizers about this "concerned source within the police department" who supposedly confirmed they were being infiltrated by cops. This person needs to come forward.
 

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

Dear @ctivist. Uh, that would make your job easier, huh? No, I don't think this source is going to come forward anytime soon.
 

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

Sorry, that last was my post.
 

I did some searching for 4th amendment violations

This is what I found. Some of it is not very encouraging.

It appears that the 4th amendment protections do not apply to “naked eye searches?, where cops are surveilling a location without any recording equipment. It seems that they are referring to searches in public places, as opposed to private homes. But even on private property the Supreme Court has allowed some loopholes. For more information on this, check out:

writ.news.findlaw.com/amar/20020614.html

A brief passage from this site reads:

Confusingly for both theorists and practitioners, the Court has sometimes upheld searches without individualized suspicion; but at other times has insisted that such searches are presumptively unconstitutional. This insistence, in turn, has pressured the Court into denying that an instance of naked-eye surveillance is a search at all.
Were the Court to both hold naked-eye surveillance to be a search, and also insist that searches must proceed only upon individualized suspicion, then most ordinary surveillance would be unconstitutional. That is because police and FBI agents typically engage in naked-eye surveillance before they have probable cause or anything like it. Indeed, it is often such surveillance that generates the probable cause supporting a later application for a search warrant.

Once again, an overly broad reading of the Fourth Amendment in one place (presumptively requiring all searches to be supported by probable cause or something like it) creates hydraulic pressure to weaken the Amendment in another place (by denying that naked-eye surveillance is even covered by the Amendment at all).

From www.sexuality.org/l/aclu/freeexpr.html
About the first amendment:

Q: Can free speech be limited in any way?

A: The government may place "time, place and manner" restrictions on speech as long as they are "reasonable." For example, requiring people to obtain a permit to hold a meeting in a public building, or to conduct a demonstration that may interfere with traffic, constitutes a justifiable regulation.

But restrictions that are overly burdensome violate the First Amendment. For example, during the 1960s, officials in Southern cities frequently required civil rights activists to apply for permits in order to hold demonstrations, and then granted or denied the permits arbitrarily. Thus, in the 1969 case of Shuttlesworth v. Birmingham, the Supreme Court struck down such licensing schemes as unconstitutional. Similarly, in 1977, the Court ruled that the local government's requirement that members of the American Nazi Party post $350,000 in insurance in order to hold a march and rally in Skokie, Illinois was an unconstitutional infringement on the group's First Amendment rights. Insurance requirements were also regularly used in the South to repress civil rights demonstrations.

From: sheridan_conlaw.typepad.com/sheridan_conlaw/4th_amendment_search_seizure/

The ultimate defender of liberty, however, is neither the Court nor Congress, but the people. In 1931 Judge Learned Hand famously warned Yale Law School graduates that

"Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it.... While it lies there it needs no constitution, no law, no court to save it."

Information about COINTELPRO

www.whatreallyhappened.com/RANCHO/POLITICS/COINTELPRO/cointelpro-methods.html

Also, lest I forget a sorrid part of my own history, there was a period of time when I believed I was the target of harassment by right wing NGO or possibly govt agents. They mostly did silent hang up calls at a time when I was emotionally vulnerable. But there were other more tangible things that happened too, which are difficult to pin on any one person, but which I have since labeled harassment. This type of harassment was for the most part always of a very low frequency, but has continued almost to the present day. In contrast, actual encounters with uniformed Police Officers during this time were always cordial.
 

Reply From City Council Member Mike Rotkin

I don't have time to reply to this letter this morning, but will try to find the time to reply later. -Steven

********
Dear Steve,

The city's Public Safety Committee will look into this, but so far at least on the surface, there is no reason to think that the Police were doing anything other than attending a public meeting to get logistical information related to public safety (e.g. potential car and pedestrian conflicts) concerning an announced demonstration in the streets downtown in which the planners of the event refused to talk to the police about their plans or apply for a permit. Other than a vague anti-authoritarianism, the non-organizers of the event, never expressed any particular political intentions for their event. I can assure you that there is no Police program to infiltrate or report on the activities of groups (viz. plural) in town in general.

As best i can determine so far, there is no evidence that the Police were gathering any information at the meeting they did go to about the individuals there or their politics, organizational affiliations, or anything else which would constitute an infringement of anyone's civil liberties. But our committee will look further into it at our February meeting. As chair of the Public Safety Committee, I have already asked the Police Chief to present a report on the incident at our meeting on February 27th, 4pm in the Courtyard Conference Room behind the Council Chambers at City Hall.

Mike Rotkin
 

Reply To Rotkin Sent By SEIU 415 President, Jeffrey Smedberg

Mike,
I appreciate your willingness to investigate the concerns. Could you let me know the outcome?
Thanks,
-Jeffrey
 

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

Rico wrote:
Dear @ctivist. Uh, that would make your job easier, huh? No, I don't think this source is going to come forward anytime soon.

@ctivist responds:
The tone of your message is very flippant and dismissive, as is much of what you write on SCIMC. Its as if you think I might not be an "@ctivist." I consider myself to be an @ctivist, but I am also a reporter, so actually, yes, that would make my job alot easier.

This whole story is a little vague to me, and frankly a bit unbelievable without a NAMED source. Yes, the infiltration was confirnmed to the Sentinel by SCPD Lt. Escalante. But how can we be sure about WHO the infiltrators are? You published photos of two people you claim are police infiltrators, but were they identified by your source, or was it their appearance and behavior which tipped you off? Did your "confidential source" tell you the names of the two infiltrators? Did your source approach you with the info, or did you first suspect the two might be cops and approach the SCPD? You see, in my job as a reporter, I need to check facts before publishing a story. I think this story highlights a growing problem in the US, and would like to put a feature together but I'd need to ask the "confidential source" a few questions... They would remain anonymous, but I'd need to speak with the person directly. That is my job, as a reporter.

I raise these questions as a reporter but also as an activist. I mean, c'mon, Last Night was a one shot campaign, but there are some groups here in Santa Cruz that have been organizing for over a decade. If the SCPD or other law enforcement agenies are going to infiltrate a silly little NY's parade, think about what they might do to disrupt real, longterm, effective grassroots efforts in Santa Cruz.
 

Reply to Mr. Rotkin

Dear Mr. Rotkin:

Steve Argue shared your letter regarding the infiltration of Last Night planning meetings. Thank you for addressing the issue, and thank you for your willingness to look into the matter. I only hope that a sanitized report by the police chief to the city council will not be the only action to come out of the matter.

I wanted to take the time address a few of your observations about the Santa Cruz police actions.

In your letter, you said, "there is no reason to think that the Police were doing anything other than attending a public meeting to get logistical information related to public safety concerning an announced demonstration in the streets downtown in which the planners of the event refused to talk to the police about their plans or apply for a permit." The Last Night planners did not refuse to talk to the police. In fact, at no point before the event was I or any of the event organizers approached, questioned, or contacted by the police. If they had, in all likelihood, we would have told them of our plans, openly and honestly, as we felt we had little to hide.

You also said, "the non-organizers of the event, never expressed any particular political intentions for their event." This is true, however we were told that Deputy Police Chief Vogel stated that he believed that this was an event by local anarchists. And while the parade represented a broad cross-section of the community, how did Deputy Chief Vogel come to this conclusion? How did it motivate his decision to infiltrate the group?

And lastly, you said "I can assure you that there is no Police program to infiltrate or report on the activities of groups (viz. plural) in town in general." Can you state with 100% certainty that this is the only political group in Santa Cruz that has been infiltrated by the Santa Cruz Police? And if not, which groups have been monitored? How often?

I would hope as an council member responsible for the actions of city government, that you would want answers to these questions and more as well.

Ostensibly, you are elected to represent the people of Santa Cruz and their concerns. This also includes a commitment to the people's rights to free speech, free assembly, and security from unreasonable searches. You are answerable first to the people, second to city administrators. Please do not immediately leap to the defense of city administrators before you have all the answers.

Thank you for your sincere and thorough push for a complete investigation of domestic spying by our own police agency.

Respectfully,

Rico Thunder
 

Another letter to the Santa Cruz City Council in protest of police infiltration:

Dear Mayor and City Council:

I am perplexed and dismayed by the apparent disregard for civil liberties recently excercised by the Santa Cruz undercover Police in their investigation of the Last Night planning meetings. It has been established by Congress in the 1970's that it is illegal for police agencies to infiltrate peaceful organizing groups when there is no evidence of a crime having been committed, that it violates first amendment gaurantees of the US constitution.

In addition to first amendment protections, there are also 4th amendment protections. At least as of May 30, 2002 (see writ.news.findlaw.com/amar/20020614.html ) even in public places, only recently has the Patriot Act extended law enforcement's ability to do surveillance to include those PUBLIC places where activists gather to organize, and this can only be used in the case of a terrorism investigation -- even under Ashcroft's interpretation of the Patriot Act. In contrast, online discussion forums can be browsed by the FBI the same as a member of the general public for the purpose of detecting ANY criminal activity, not just terrorist activity. I would think that a private home, such was utilized for some of the Last Night planning meetings that were attended by the SC Police, would have even greater 4th amendment protections against unreasonable searches. I am specifically concerned that a warrant or court order may have been required to do the surveillance that was done at a private home, for it is no different in my opinion than tapping the phone, which can be turned into a room bug even when the phone is on the hook. The police would not even be required to enter a person's home for this latter scenario to occur. It is clear to me from this discussion that it is likely that the police did not in fact have a warrant, otherwise why would they even need to be there in person.

It is true that today the FBI may have even more power to spy at will on the American people, since it has been specifically authorized under the Patriot Act and can search homes and tap databases without notifying the people searched and without getting any kind of a court order. This is Section 215 of the Patriot Act. ( See www.aclu.org/privacy/spying/15423res20021024.html ) Even here though, the FBI is theoretically restricted to investigating suspected terrorism or clandestine intelligence activity. But the SCPD is not the FBI, so they may not have the same carte blanche as the FBI do do just any old search.

For more details, please check out the comments on this issue at www.santacruz.indymedia.org .

Both the SCPD and the FBI need to learn to respect the spirit and the letter of the US Constitution, especially as intended by Congress in the 1970's after the COINTELPRO controversy. Please clean up your act and get it together. Thank You.

Sincerely

John Thielking


PS: I think there would have been better ways to get the information the cops were looking for from the organizers. They could have e-mailed the organizers for instance. They have a contact link on their website. The organizers were in touch with the Police dept directly, though they themselves were bent on gathering intelligence in their own way, not just communicating. Maybe next time it would be better for the organizers to simply call the Police, be direct, and let them know what the specific plans were. This was done for some of the bigger Mumia demos around 1998 and didn't generate nearly as much controversy about police spying. The cops were also very cooperative at directing traffic around the Mumia demo/march which proceeded on Bay and Mission and Laurel in the traffic lanes without incident. Hopefully the Last Night 2006 march will have less interference via police spying since now they know what is up.
 

A suggestion from a non-lawyer

The next time anyone in Santa Cruz holds a "public meeting" to plan an event, include the statement that the meeting is open to the public but not open to law enforcement, representatives of law enforcement, or volunteers working on behalf of law enforcement.

Next, require each attendee to sign a document stating that attendee is not a member of law enforcement, representative of law enforcement, or a volunteer working on behalf of law enforcement.

If a law enforcement infiltrator signs, even a false name, I believe you could call the police department on it. Additionally, if it is in a private home, you may be able to charge the infiltrator with trespassing.

Are there any lawyers out there who could create a "standard form" document for this purpose?
 

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

There are a few common misnomers about officers woking undercover. It is commonly believed that

1. officers have to identify themselves if asked. They do not. In fact, they are free to lie about their identity, occupation, etc.

2. officers cannot commit crimes while they are undercover. They can. If you thought smoking out with someone or committing vandalism, or whatever, proves someone isn't a cop, you're wrong. Cops may commit crimes while undercover.

For more information on police techniques, check out the book "Beat The Heat," published by the Midnight Special Law Collective. Their website is www.midnightspecial.net/ and has tons of great information about your rights and police shananigans.
 

Letter To Mike Rotkin From Tim Fitzmaurice Regarding Police Infiltration

Dear Mike,

I think this response obscures a few details of some importance. Isn't giving false names at a meeting in a private house an extraordinary measure, or is it standard operating procedure, when did the alternative parade become a demonstration, & what is a political intention? I think if you saw it as a "demonstration" it must have had a slight political tint for you. I assume there is no "Police program to infiltrate groups" but our assurances need to go beyond that.

It seems to me that we should be trying to be a bit further above board than this. Do we need a policy that says we will do this in only non-political instances where health and safety is a concern? Why would the police assume this discretionary power about political intentions? How will they make the decision that something is not political? That isn't their job. The use of this strategy requires a clarification of the standard of police conduct that we can assume from now on. What do we call it? The rules of engagement?

I hope that the Public Safety Committee will take this incident seriously and not prejudge the outcome. Many in the community have expressed their concern about this incident. They want an honest and an insightful assessment of what happened and why and how these tactics will be used in future. It could serve to put some people at ease if we assess this accurately and make the facts clear. Otherwise you know how people will let this suspicion cloud many future public discussions. You know that an obscure and vague use of undercover officers at public meetings will not be a useful attribute or tactic to ascribe to our police force. People need to trust their police force. As you inferred we need to assure people about the extent and the use of these strategies, in the past and in the future.

Sincerely,
Tim Fitzmaurice
 

Lt. Rudy Escalante: a questionable career

Back in 1998-1999, Rudy Escalante was dating a woman with a teenage son. That teenager attended a party in the Beach Flats where he was observed "getting smashed" drinking alcohol. Two hispanic men arrived at the otherwise all-white party, but one of the men, Miguel Gutierrez was virtually assaulted by the drunken teenager. Miquel had to back up and retreat the party due to the drunken and violent attacks by the teenager.

As he backed up, he picked up a golf club and swung it around him to protect himself from what had suddenly become a hostile white gang spurred on by the teenager. The teenager still came forward to assault him, and Gutierrez struck him with the golf club, threw it in the bushes, and fled.

No one called the police to report Gutierrez or the attack, despite dozens of witnesses. Several days later, Escalante learned of his girlfriend's son's injuries and vowed to arrest "the guilty party."

He arrested Miguel Gutierrez, and in the search of his room, found 3 red baseball caps (Gutierrez had a collection of baseball caps). He declared these "gang colors." He found Gutierrez' younger brothers science project: a device which could shoot out a potato. He seized the science project as "a weapon." Judge Atack accepted all of this into evidence.

In court, all evidence of the teenage youth's drunken attack was ignored. The golf club was mysteriously never found. Atack even blamed Gutierrez for the teenager's being in a special ed class---assuming it had to do with the attack when it did not. Judge Robert Atack totally believed all of Escalante's machinations and sentenced Gutierrez to 4 years in prison, including gang enhancement charges.

The case clearly had self-defense elements to it.

Escalante, despite his own hispanic origins, is a racist cop against hispanics (I learned this from several hispanic youth who worked in one of Escalante's youth groups). He has no problem manufacturing evidence if the real facts are not sufficient for a conviction.

An article detailing Escalante's role in the Gutierrez case was published several years ago in "Street Spirit" newspaper.

Escalante should have been removed from the SCPD years ago. Sadly, the City tends to promote some of the most abusive officers.
 

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