Posts Tagged ‘constitution’

REPORTS from only three days!

May 6, 2010

This morning I was wakened from sleep at around 7 in the morning by four men in uniform, led by Sgt. Swithenbank.

I was sleeping under the Bear Gulch bridge.

They told me they were having complaints about “you people”.

I said I wasn’t “you people” but they said yes I was.

They gave me a white paper notice of trespass warning with the County of Humboldt and Swithenbank’s name on it.

They said I would be arrested if they found me sleeping anywhere.

They photographed me with a board with my name, first and last, and something else written on it. I objected briefly before being photographed but one officer pulled out his handcuffs and said “I’ve been waiting to use these”.

I then let them take my photograph.

I wear glasses, I was not able to see the officer’s names. I know Swithenbank by sight; the others I think are new to our area.

I think referring to anyone as “you people” is stereotyping or profiling.


At about May 6, 2010 at about 7:30AM I was sleeping in my tent on the ridge north of Redway and I heard “you in the tent, come out”. I asked if I could put on my pants; he said no, come on out. I had long johns on so I stepped out.

I was surrounded by 8 officers, including a female.

The female was blonde and tall. The guy making demands was dark haired with a mustache and a chiseled, hawk like face. I did not get the names of the officers.

They asked what brought me to Humboldt County. I said “camping”. They said you’ve been camping for a while and I said I’d been ripped off by 3 companies and decided to live different.

They said I was trespassing on private property and asked me to produce my ID. I did. I had glass beer bottles containing water in my tent; I use glass bottles because they are safer and chemicals don’t leach into my water. They said “you’ve got your 40” and I told them it was water. Are you sure you aren’t making moonshine he asked. I was reaching in to get one of my water bottles and he yelled “hey, get out of there, you might have a gun”

I said “no, no, nothing like that”.

He said “Stand up, we’re gonna take your picture” They put a board with my name in front of me. One of the officers made a joke about my morning hair looking like a rooster and another officer said it was the best photo of the morning.

They gave me a white piece of paper and told me “If you’re here again it will be a fine. You have an hour to get out of here”. I told them it might take a little while longer.

They tazed someone the other day. I didn’t want to provoke them, there were 8 of them, and one of me and I was alone in the woods.


From an Iraq veteran.

On May 6, 2010, yesterday, about 0700 me and my girl were already awake after staying up all night watching shooting stars on the hill a little north of Garberville. Swithenbank and his officers came out and gave us papers and teased us about being a couple. We had no garbage there, nothing, the camp was clean. There were 4 or 6 officers and animal control, they seem to want to just take the things homeless people have, and their dogs, and everything.

They ran our names to see if we had warrants. I don’t understand why they took my picture.

I’ve been cleaning up this town for years; they need to stop harassing us. I have a fiancé, I’m trying to keep things together.

They said we can’t camp down by the river either. They didn’t tell us where we could go.

I grew up around here and Redding, I was part of a homeschooled family. My grandpa died and I was left homeless.

I’m trying to start my life again.

Two years ago I got laid off 9 times; I was doing jobs I never did before, like welding.

from Vietnam era vet:

On May 6, 2010 at about 10AM I was sitting in my chair drinking a cup of coffee, enjoying the quiet morning. My cat alerted me that intruders were coming. Four deputies walked up into my camp. I saw them first, I said “good morning, how’s it going”. They asked if I had any ID. We don’t know if you are America’s top ten wanted, please have a seat (on the poison oak). They ran my name and told me I was camping illegally on private property and told me I was being issued a trespassing/littering notice. And that I should leave as soon as possible.

I told Swithenbank it would take me at least 24 hours to get things together (which I did, but I have to go back to get my cat).

They took my picture with a board in front of me with my name, as if I were a criminal.

They said they would come back and would be checking. If I were still here they would “have to take appropriate action”

One cop asked if I was on drugs like heroin or meth. I said no.

9 Contacts from the raids on the homeless in SoHum
May 6, 2010 from 7AM till around 1PM

-Man at Bear Creek Gulch (just north of Garberville) contacted by cops with Sgt Swithenbank. Cops took picture, issued warning. Land owner Humboldt County (aka public property)

-Man at Redwood Drive by Bear Creek Bridge contacted by cops w/Swithenbank. Took picture, issued warning. Land owner Humboldt County(aka public property).

-Man Contacted by cops under Bear Creek Bridge, took picture. He’s from out of state: Swithenbank told him “to leave Humboldt county and if they come back he would go to jail”

-Young man contacted by cops at Bear Gulch. Cops took picture. Gave warning.

-Young man contacted by cops. Took picture, gave written warning.

-Man contacted by cops. Cops took picture, given warning.

-Woman contacted by cops at 10:45 AM. Cops took picture, gave warning. Contact was behind Blue Star Gas
(north of Garberville, near the freeway). Cited for no rabies tag on dog. Officer C. Nikolaus #99704. Cops were very rude.

-Young man contacted by cops behind Blue Star Gas. Cops took picture, issued warning.

-Man contacted by cops at Raven’s Cliff (Redway, above the river). Cops took picture, issued warning.
Woman who was born in this area. Her boyfriend used to work for John Casali.

On Friday May 7, 2010 early in the morning around 6:30 we were in our tent about a quarter mile out of town (Redway). Police approached us and told us to get out of the tent. We did. They asked for our ID’s and our names. They said “We’re taking your pictures” and they wrote our names and dates of birth on paper on a clipboard and held it in front of us and took pictures. They did not ask our permission to take photographs of us.

They gave us a paper saying we were trespassing and that we should move immediately. They cited me for having a dog without a rabies tag even though I had mailed in my papers to get the tag.

We moved down to the other side of the road, to the bridge near Dean Creek.

Hamilton came by on Saturday, gave us till 9 AM Sunday to move and told us he was arresting us, but releasing us at the scene. Tresspassing and littering is what it says on the ticket, although we were not at the same location as we had been and were not littering.

Hamilton came on Sunday and gave us till 1 PM to move.

I get my food stamps here, and counseling, I was in a house
in Myers Flat for 4 years but now I am in a tent. I have no place else to go. I was born in Humboldt County. I feel I am being pushed from my home. I have Cherokee in me.

We keep our camps clean.
Ticket issued today, May 8, 2010 by Sheriff Deputy Hamilton for trespassing and littering. However, the circumstances were that the guy returned to the river bank with a few friends to have lunch there. There is a firepit; they were heating their lunch. They informed Hamilton they were just there for lunch, not to stay, but he said they’d been warned.

more from May 8, 2010:

1) Man contacted by cops. Picture taken, warning given. He was on Public Land

2) Woman contacted by cops on public land. Picture taken.

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On Tuesday, May 4, 2010 John Shelter awakened a couple sleeping outside in Eureka and gave them a NorthCoast Resource Center pamphlet. Then he told the couple, who have no other place to go, that cops were coming that weekend.

Shelter, who, for months, has been waking houseless people sleeping on public property in Eureka and stealing houseless peoples’ possessions (whether the people are present or not, leaving a written and false promise that the person can retrieve their gear and personal stuff if they CALL John Shelter) just received a huge grant to… what? continue his “work” ?…

Back to May 4th: John Shelter told the couple that they could get a certificate from the NorthCoast Resource Center (in Arcata) which would allow them to sleep there (a pass so the cops would not get them?), but the cops were to come on the weekend, and John Shelter told the couple to come get a certificate on MONDAY!!

Perhaps, John Shelter now has the authority to determine for the cops who is “deserving” or allowed to sleep!

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::: SAT. APRIL 24 :::



:::WHAT::: SIDEWALKS ARE FOR PEOPLE is a monthly citywide celebration of San Francisco’s public space, its vibrant and diverse culture, and its tradition of tolerance and compassion. People from all walks of life, across the city, will be doing what they love on the city’s sidewalks: barbecues, chalk drawing, chess, yoga, reading, knitting, jumprope, playing music, painting, tea/coffee parties, sunbathing, meditating, DJing, hanging out, tai chi, hot tub parties, dancing, anything — you name it!

::: WHERE/WHEN ::: Gatherings will be happening all day in multiple locations across the city. People can post their events or find other events on the official map at www.StandAgainstSitLie.org.

::: WHY ::: The Board of Supervisors will soon be voting on a “Sit/Lie” law that would make it illegal to sit or lie on the sidewalk anywhere in San Francisco. We think it’s a really bad idea to criminalize the act of sitting in public space and that it’s a clear violation of our basic civil liberties. We think public spaces are safer when people are encouraged to use them to meet with neighbors, friends, family and others from the community. We like how our sidewalks reflect the diverse, vibrant culture
of our city. We believe in freedom of expression, the right to peaceably assemble, and the pursuit of happiness on our sidewalks!

We acknowledge and empathize with legitimate fears or frustrations that people encounter while sharing public space with others, but we do not believe that a sit/lie ordinance would address these fears and frustrations in a truly effective way. We are interested in participating in dialogue around real solutions they address core issues. For starters check out, A Very Different Approach to the Sit-Lie Law by Gabriel Haaland.

::: RSVP on facebook :::

Anything you want! Be creative — or not. It doesn’t matter! Just be sure to have fun on the sidewalk and invite friends, family, and neighbors to join you. Please avoid obstructing the free flow of our fellow San Franciscans! Take pictures and shoot video to document your event. Post your event on the interactive map at StandAgainstSitLie.org so that we can show that people all across our fair city love our public spaces.

We will provide you with some basic materials to hand out to curious pedestrians, along with tools to support you in orchestrating this in the most effective way. Other than that, we leave it up to you to organize the best event that you can. You can do whatever you want, but please do something!

CONTACT: info@StandAgainstStiLie.org if you have questions or would like to offer your skills and passion to help put this event together. Or call Andy at 415-533-4694.

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Do you know what to do if you’re stopped by the police? Do your children? Are you tired of your rights being violated? This workshop focuses on the law “on the street” — what your rights are and how cops try to trick you out of them. We want to share strategies to ‘survive’ police encounters.

Know Your Rights!
Workshop: How To Handle Encounters with Police


at P.A.R.C. [Peoples’ Action for Rights and Community]
on Q street, take a right into the alley between 3rd and 2nd streets
in Eureka



workshop hosted by Redwood Curtain CopWatch
for info, call (707) 633-4493

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from Redwood Curtain CopWatch

REDWOOD CURTAIN COPWATCH (707) 633-4493 copwatchrwc@gmail.com
February 15, 2010

Re: EPD Sergeant Michael Quigley

Open Letter To Eureka Police Chief Garr Nielsen,
Eureka City Council members,
Eureka Mayor Virginia Bass
Eureka City Attorney Sheryl Schaffner:

We, of Redwood Curtain CopWatch, receive report after report of unprovoked, vicious behavior by Sergeant Michael Quigley toward houseless people. With this letter we intend, once again, to alert you to Quigley’s regular practice of abusing his authority and abusing people whom he apparently perceives to have little to no political power. As exhibited by his indecent and cruel behavior, Quigley believes he has absolute impunity to blatantly and repeatedly violate peoples’ human and constitutional rights. This open letter goes out to hundreds of individuals and groups to call attention to Quigley’s ongoing unacceptable behavior and to publicly call on you to correct it immediately and prevent any such misconduct and abuse in the future.

Redwood Curtain CopWatch aims to stop oppressive, abusive police activity, support victims of police abuse, and provide education regarding rights and social action. We observe and film police activity in the streets in an effort to hold the police accountable for their behavior, and we speak with many people about their experiences with the police in this area. We have informed you in the past of Quigley’s vile and discriminatory behavior toward poor and houseless people, and have received no substantial response nor seen any change on his part. In fact, Quigley seems to have become increasingly hostile.

As CopWatch, we see that Quigley is more concerned with undermining our work than upholding his duty. He has a habit of approaching whoever is using a camera to observe, and using his chest to obscure the view of the camera and prevent documentation. The night after the January 9, 2010 earthquake, Redwood Curtain CopWatch responded to a call from a resident of a damaged building. The resident requested our presence because her landlord and the police were both present at the evacuated building. Upon our arrival, Quigley shoved his body close to the camera-person and moved around to block our view of the situation. We then overheard Quigley lie to a resident family with a baby, telling them that they could not go retrieve things from their apartment because “They [CopWatch] have us on video and if I let you go up there, they will sue us.” Quigley’s behavior indicates that he is actively suppressing CopWatch’s right to observe police activity, and that he is attempting to influence people to fear or dislike our presence. Furthermore, he makes a spectacle to intimidate more of the public from exercising their constitutional rights to observe and videotape police activity. Many of the incidents documented by Redwood Curtain CopWatch wherein Quigley hurts and degrades people occur in relative isolation.

Every day, Quigley intimidates and bullies poor people.

Toward the end of January, Quigley and Eureka Police Officer Wayne Rabang approached a van parked near the Marina. They banged on the vehicle, shouted, rocked the vehicle and made lots of noise. Quigley then slid the screen part of the window open and put his hand inside. He pushed away the curtain and threatened to smash the windows if the person inside did not come out. After the owner of the van rolled down the window about halfway in the front/cab, Quigley then grabbed with both hands the window and started shaking it back and forth. He then reached one hand in, unlocked and opened the door, and physically grabbed the owner of the van, pulling him out of the van and onto the front of the police car.

Quigley then demanded identification from the van’s owner. The owner, a calm and soft-spoken person, stated that his ID was inside the van; when he went to get the ID, Quigley grabbed him and pushed him down. Although Quigley physically refused to let the man retrieve any of the van’s paperwork and the man had not been driving, Quigley began interrogating the man about the vehicle and made irrelevant comments and accusations about “people pissing and shitting on the streets.” Quigley spoke menacingly to the man and told him to appreciate that he [Quigley] was being a nice guy because he “could have just climbed into the vehicle.”

Rabang at some point said “We’ve had a lot of trouble with this vehicle.” Quigley then told the man (owner) that the vehicle did not belong to him! When the man replied that it does, the officers said (if you can believe this) that the same vehicle was parked “over there” the other day, but “at that time it was brown.”!! Then Quigley told the man that he did not have a valid driver’s license. The man has a valid license from another state, and had just arrived in this area. Quigley told him that if he wanted to drive here, he would have to register “with my king.” Quigley then cited the man for camping and threatened to have the vehicle towed if he if he saw it again.

A camping ticket is an infraction accusation/charge. It is not a driving violation charge. It does not warrant entry into a person’s vehicle. It does not require force. It does not warrant a tow or the threat of a tow. It certainly does not warrant the rude, intimidating, and violent behavior exhibited by Quigley. But, Quigley is a repeat offender of people’s rights- particularly people whom he perceives to have no shelter, or limited resources.

Poverty is not a crime, yet Quigley criminalizes houseless people and makes them unsafe, thereby exacerbating their condition of poverty.

-Quigley told people who were in an alley that if “anyone gets caught pissing in the alley, they’ll get beat up and put on a bus to Sacramento.”

-He aggressively awoke one houseless woman from sleep, accused her of being high on methamphetamines, bruised her up and down her arms and threw her in jail.

-After Quigley’s return from a leave of absence, he approached a young man sitting in his truck and, assuming that the man had been sleeping in the truck, told him “now that I’m back, you and the other parasites better watch out.”

-Quigley ran a black man and his children – a homeless family – out of Eureka by harassing and threatening them constantly.

-Quigley harasses people at St.Vincent de Paul’s Free Meal day after day, going so far as to ticket poor people whom he accused of sleeping in their vehicles the night before. He has been heard there saying “There’s no free lunch in Eureka”

-In December, Quigley walked up to an officer who had twice confirmed that the two people he’d approached were not breaking any laws and were free to go. Quigley clearly wanted to arrest someone, so he almost instantly ‘ordered’ the arrest of the houseless man (one of the two people) who was not being detained- for not providing his name to the other officer. The DA rejected prosecuting the case “in the interest of justice”. You can watch video of what happened at: http://vimeo.com/9410853

Quigley acts despicably toward houseless people. As a police officer, Quigley is a representative of the City of Eureka and the Eureka Police Department and therefore his aggressive harassment of Eureka’s residents should concern city officials and the community. He physically and verbally assaults houseless people with his invasive and criminal behavior. Quigley’s targeting and punishing people based on their status (or perceived status) must stop. He is a danger to our community. There are hundreds of incidents involving Quigley that prove it. He exhibits a complete lack of compassion and professionalism. His inhumane treatment of some of the most vulnerable people in our community is unfair, unnecessary, and illegal. Appropriate action on the part of the City of Eureka and the Eureka Police Department would include disciplinary action or firing. We expect a timely response explaining how this situation is being satisfactorily remedied.

Please remind Sergeant Quigley that retaliation for this or any other complaint is against the law.

Redwood Curtain CopWatch

cc: Civil Liberties Monitoring Project
Civil Liberties Defense Center
Humboldt County Human Rights Commission
Ms. Susie VanKirk
Eureka Times-Standard
Humboldt County Public Defender
Humboldt County Conflict Counsel
Humboldt County Alternate Conflict Counsel
National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty

Here is a pdf attachment of the letterOpenLetter_re_EPDQuigley_2_15_10

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and the State insists too!! Missions are often used by the State as proof of having shelter for houseless people. Ain’t gonna fly.

Inmate Challenges Mission Requisite
He claims having to live at the Eugene Mission violated his rights

By Karen McCowan

The Register-Guard

A Eugene man serving time in a state prison for theft and drug possession has filed a federal lawsuit alleging that Lane County parole officers violated his civil rights by requiring him to live at the Eugene Mission after his October 2006 release from prison in another case.

Court records show that Jason Dwain Davies, 32, was most recently convicted June 28, 2008, on two felony counts of possessing methamphetamine and one count of identity theft. They also show that he was sentenced in September 2005 to six months in prison with one-year of post-prison supervision after pleading guilty to identity theft, drug possession and resisting arrest in a July 2005 incident.

According to his federal lawsuit, Lane County violated the U.S. Constitution’s separation of church and state clause by requiring him to reside in a “fundamentally religious facility” while under supervision of parole and probation officers.

He seeks unspecified monetary damages and an injunction barring the county from imposing the same requirement as a condition of remaining at liberty in the future.

Joan Copperwheat, the county’s director of parole and probation services, said she could not comment on an unresolved lawsuit.

In his complaint, filed by attorney Joseph Connelly, Davies alleges that the county cannot legally require someone on post-prison supervision to live at the mission — which provides food and beds to area homeless people — because it requires residents to attend daily gospel services.

Connelly said Davies seeks monetary damages because he was jailed a total of 319 days between December 2006 and March 2008 for refusing to stay at the mission on various occasions. The suit cites his loss of liberty, employment and the ability to visit his daughter.

According to the complaint, parole and probation supervisor Susan McFarland at one point told Davies to “cover his ears during the gospel service if he did not want to listen.”

Copperwheat said the parole and probation department cannot tell people they have to live at the Eugene Mission, but can require them to have a department-approved residence. The only other free living spaces, she said, are the Sponsors post-prison program and some recovery houses for inmates with substance abuse problems. Those places often are full and have waiting lists, she said.

Copperwheat said she could not recall a similar lawsuit regarding the Eugene Mission. But she noted that the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in 2007 that parolees cannot be required to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings as a condition of their release because the organization contains a religious component.


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