Posts Tagged ‘eureka’

November’s “Radical Rap” Addresses Inhumane Treatment of Houseless People in Southern Humboldt

Radical Rap is a radio show on KMUD radio that runs the 2nd Wednesday of the month (most months).  You can listen live at:  http://kmud.org/programs-mainmenu-11/listen-live-kmud

Here is a link to download and hear Radical Rap from Nov. 14, 2012:  https://www.box.com/s/m6qi2q41bt3xf9g3fh75


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Undoubtedly, thinking himself a “good Samaritan”, John Shelter has been working the poverty pimp scene in Eureka these days, trying to get a PAID gig that’s related to poor and houseless people. He is known to speak of his ‘great programs’ that the City and/or the County “really like” or “appreciate.” Well, we know what kinds of “programs” local government really likes and appreciates: DISAPPEAR HOUSELESS PEOPLE programs.

So, John Shelter is again traveling to places where people are finding a spot to sleep (under bushes and trees, away from businesses other residences, etc) and telling people that they need to go because the cops will be coming. He also, over the past 8 or so months, has been TAKING PEOPLES’ BELONGINGS (leaving a note with his organization’s name, Northcoast Resource Center) and telling people to move along.

But, of course, (sarcasm) he’s stealing people’s only possessions and moving people onto… nowhere- FOR THEIR OWN GOOD.

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from Redwood Curtain CopWatch


On Thursday, April 8, 2010, fifteen to twenty community members gathered in the reception area of the District Attorney’s office, fourth floor of the courthouse, to address Paul Gallegos regarding a recent incident and the systematic injustice related to that and many other instances.  As you may remember, on March 15th of this year, two people from Redwood Curtain CopWatch were arrested because Sheriff’s Deputy Joseph Marsh did not want to be videotaped while he was detaining and searching a man in Eureka.

On April 6, 2010, the two of us who were arrested learned that the DA had not (yet) charged us with any crime related to our arrests.  After we were arrested and in jail, we signed Agreements to Appear in court on April 6th.  When signing an Agreement to Appear, the document informs the signer that if s/he does not appear on that date, s/he can be arrested again.

On April 6, we were not on the court schedule, which means the DA had not yet decided what charges or if he would charge us at all.

We called the DA’s office many times over a 3 week period, emailed him, and had personally delivered a letter regarding the bunk arrest and the holding of our copwatch cameras.  Because Paul Gallegos’ campaign manager received the (open) letter through an email list and contacted Paul Gallegos with concerns about our cameras, he apparently made a call to the Sheriff’s Department so that the cameras would be returned. Gallegos’ campaign manager called us at the end of the business day on Wednesday, April 7th; but when Kim Starr went down to the Sheriff’s Dept., it was too late to retrieve the cameras.

The next morning, we went and got the cameras and the video footage we had recorded with them- prior to and during our bogus arrests.  When we called the DA’s office for the umpteenth time and asked if we had been charged with anything, we were told the case was still “pending.”  Later that afternoon, 15-20 community members were at the DA’s office to insist that the DA officially decline to charge the copwatchers who had been arrested. 

Here is a link  to the flier we delivered: http://www.box.net/shared/90vvzi9osj.  The flier text is also HERE (click here).


While we were at the office from about 2pm on, we made clear that we wanted to speak to DA Paul Gallegos.  We said we wanted justice.  Gallegos never showed.  About 10 minutes before the office would close for the day, one of the DA’s investigators, James Dawson, walked through the group and, out of anger, shoved our friend’s trumpet into his lips and then laid his hands on Kim Starr.  Within about 7 minutes after the assaults by Dawson, a bunch of Sheriff’s Deputies congregated in the DA’s office and arrested each of us who were still there- five of us, and cited our friend with the trumpet.  This is how the system functions when there is abuse by state officers.  If a cop or other government agent hurts a person, that person will soon be criminalized, charged with a crime, forced to defend her/himself in court. Now it is up to the DA to decide if he will charge the six of us who were exercising our Constitutional rights to protest  (“redress grievances”) at his office.  Unfortunately, Gallegos is always willing to corroborate a cover-up for ‘his’ officers.  Let’s make sure that does not happen.

There are specific injustices that this whole situation has highlighted.  We will be talking about them, and taking action.

Targeting of CopWatch or ANYONE who stops to observe and videotape police activity.

–Deprivation of due process rights through the systematic setup of what we’re calling “floating charges”– wherein a person must sign a promise to appear on a specific date, charges are not filed by that date, and the next thing s/he knows, there is a warrant for her/his arrest! 

Filing of criminal charges against a person who has been abused by an officer BECAUSE s/he has been abused– in order to coverup for the officer’s actions and distract the person who has been mistreated by putting them on the defensive. 

-Unnecessary and violent escalation of situations by police.  “There’s no situation which the presence of an officer can’t make worse.”


**April 8th and 9th were called as West Coast Days of Action Against Police Killings and Police Brutality.  From Seattle to Los Angeles, people were participating in acts of resistance to the SYSTEM THAT SANCTIONS MURDER AND ABUSE BY THE POLICE.  We stand in solidarity with those actions.**


Below is a REPORTBACK from Kathy Anderson, one of the people arrested at the DA’s office. Video from the arrest of CopWatchers and from our action at the DA’s office coming soon. 

Here is a link (http://www.box.net/shared/mo1um8i4tm) to the letter sent today again insisting that no charges be filed against the copwatchers related to the arrests in March while we were legally observing and videotaping the cops.

Yesterday, April 8, 2010 I (Kathy Anderson) joined a group of people to talk to the DA about dropping floating charges on a couple of CopWatchers who were illegally arrested and cameras confiscated.  The cameras were returned yesterday morning but the charges have yet to be filed.
Since this was an illegal arrest all charges should have been dropped.  The DA “floats” charges to have time to gather more evidence to build up weak charges.  It could be March of 2011 before charges are filed and notice is NOT given to the now defendant, just a warrant issued and then you are surprised by a second arrest.  This is not honoring the constitutional right to a “fair and speedy trial” and I felt it necessary, in the spirit of justice to make the point that COPWATCH is an honorable service to the community and deserves respect and the assurance of protection from violent police.

After making our presence known for 2 hours an officer with the DA’s office entered the lobby, shoved a trumpet against the mouth of Carrington, leaving a welt on his upper and bottom lip and chipping his tooth, and walking up to Verbena, grabbing her wrist with his hand.  As I was taping this violent action by a “mature” and seasoned officer at one point it seemed as if he was going to attack Verbena again.  Not one person in the office came to Verbena’s or Carrington’s aid.

This pillar of society in Humboldt County, The District Attorney’s Office, has failed to train it’s employees to have self-control and treat people with dignity and respect.

There is a poster in the DA’s lobby saying that the DA’s office is committed to serving crime victims with respect and dignity, yet has failed to do so when someone is assaulted in his own office!
We made it very clear that injuries had occurred.  The DA’s office responded by arresting 5 of us, not Carrington, he was cited on the spot.

This does not come as a surprise to me.  In my lifetime I’ve seen and met people who have been horribly abused by police officers and other officers of the court.  I’ve known people who’ve been killed by police and families who have been destroyed by police who are protected by “The Blue Shield”.  It goes on and on with no end in sight and I’m not going to be quiet about this perversion of duty.

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On Tuesday, April 6, 2010, PEOPLE PROJECT organized the 6th weekly protest to END THE WAR ON THE POOR! Here are photos from this Tuesday. The food has been great! Real cooperative effort, most weeks in the rain, but not this one! Great music and people energy, too. We’re on our way to building a powerful poor peoples’ movement in this area. And this is what the back of the small invitation handbill says:


PEOPLE PROJECT invites you to gather every Tuesday-

Dinner is shared on site at 4pm.

The war on the poor takes many forms. PEOPLE PROJECT understands that all wars are wars against the poor, the Earth, and the defenseless. The war on the poor includes lack of affordable housing, lack of access to healthcare, abuse of millions of animals in factory farms, slaughterhouses and labs, and heavy military recruitment of youth for global wars on the poor. The war on the poor includes state violence against refugees and houseless people, corporate exploitation of working people, lack of decent jobs, and the injustice of the prison industrial complex. A main focus for PEOPLE PROJECT is to stop the criminalization of houseless people. Please join us to speak out and build strength to END THE WAR ON THE POOR, however you experience it.
All photos but the last one were taken by Mark Deneen.

A Tent is Affordable Housing (if only we could put one somewhere!)

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Rodrigo Reyna-Sanchez, on March 18, 2010, shot David Sequoia in the head, killing him. Here is a letter from March 23, 2010

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

Re: EPD Sergeant Rodrigo Reyna-Sanchez threatens to kill!

It is unfortunate that we must write to you again about yet another series of violent incidences, one of many, wherein Eureka Police Officer Rodrigo Reyna-Sanchez is targeting, physically abusing, and threatening the life of a vulnerable Eureka resident. The City’s lack of response to any of our prior letters and its failure, to date, to expel dangerous officers such as Sanchez from the police force exhibits your unwillingness to protect the people of Eureka. However, with this explicit notice of severe threats and abuse by Sanchez against a specific person, you have a moral and legal obligation to take whatever actions to prevent further abuse or even murder by Rodrigo Reyna-Sanchez.

We learned about a year ago that Sanchez had blatantly threatened to kill Shawn “Rutherford” Hill. “I’ll shoot you in the back of the head” were the words Sanchez used. Sanchez has since made such explicit threats on at least two more occasions. Sanchez has told Shawn that “you are a piece of shit because you do heroin”, that “no one will know or care if I kill you, “if you have a seizure tonight- and I know where you sleep- I’ll shoot you.”

Many times during the day, Sanchez will see Shawn and tell him to “move on”, whether he be standing on a corner or sitting on a public bench. Sanchez will also often demand identification from Shawn and put him in handcuffs, although on those frequent occasions, Sanchez is neither in the process of ticketing Shawn nor is he investigating a crime. Shawn, who is a lifetime resident of this area, is houseless; so he is very vulnerable, having no walls to cover with, to this harassment and danger from Sanchez.

On or about March 11, 2010, Officer Sanchez threw Shawn off the back ledge behind the library. He also threatened Shawn, referencing the Derringer packed in his [Sanchez’] ankle. With other officers behind him (names unknown to us), Sanchez pointed his gun at Shawn and told him “You even move, speak, fart, or anything, I’ll shoot you in the back of the head, stupid.” That makes twice that Sanchez has pointed a gun at Shawn. In every instance wherein Sanchez approaches Shawn, Shawn is doing nothing violent, saying nothing violent, and doing nothing to harm another.

Some months ago, Shawn watched Sanchez and another officer, at about 5 or 6 am, cut up his survival gear – sleeping bag, clothes, and blankets- behind the library.

Sanchez has ordered Shawn to get in his patrol car and driven him both ways over the Samoa bridge, speaking so to intimidate Shawn, then dropping him off back in Eureka.

Sanchez recently kicked Shawn in the head while he was sleeping (on public property).

Neither Shawn’s act of sleeping in hidden public areas, which he is forced to do due to his status as houseless, nor his substance addiction issues pose a threat to Sanchez. Shawn is not hurting another person, and has never threatened Sanchez verbally or otherwise. Indeed, Sanchez has Shawn extremely scared. So much so, Shawn now checks in with Redwood Curtain CopWatch every day so that we know that he is alive. Over the past two weeks, there have been two instances at night- one in which Sanchez physically abused Shawn, and the other, wherein Sanchez, again, verbally threatened Shawn with further violence or death.

We have not seen Shawn since Saturday. Hopefully, he has found a safe haven, out of danger from your viscous and murderous police. It is horrible and unacceptable for our community to have to worry, due to police violence and threats to kill, when we have not seen some one, and it is despicable that your officers, Sanchez being one of the worst, target the most vulnerable people.

As we have reminded you before, several of the young men who were killed by Eureka Police Department had prior awareness and had expressed to others that the police were going to kill them. You are now on notice about Shawn.

We do not want Shawn “Rutherford” Hill harmed AT ALL by Sanchez or any other officer. If Shawn is not in contact with us for a long period of time or is found dead or seriously injured, we will have every reason to suspect Sgt. Sanchez (or someone acting on behalf of him, EPD, or other local “law enforcement.”). That being said, we much prefer that you (and each entity to which this letter is going) protect Shawn and prevent the anticipated violence against him.

Sanchez’ abuse and threats against Shawn are ILLEGAL. As is any retaliation for this or other complaints.

Once again, and in light of the recent shooting (in the head!), we implore you to EXPEL RODRIGO REYNA-SANCHEZ from the Eureka Police Department.


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

Eureka Times-Standard

North Coast Journal

Humboldt State Lumberjack Newspaper

Greenfuse Publication


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Please see the Redwood Curtain CopWatch website for comments, links, articles, video.

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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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