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Posts Tagged ‘Murl Harpham’

Days Of Action Against Police Brutality, Oct 22-23 2013 EUREKA

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Below is a reportback from Skye, a participant this year.  Verbena, of Redwood Curtain CopWatch, wrote the following 3 paragraphs only to fill in what Skye was not present for.

Sending love & comfort & solidarity to young Andy Lopez‘ spirit and his family & community.  13 year old Andy was killed by Santa Rosa deputies on Oct 22.Image

from Verbena
On the night of Oct 22, 2013, while some protestors slept at Cesar Chavez park, a couple of us went, from midnight to 3am, to the Humboldt County Jail for “Welcome Out”!  ImageWe sat in a car right near where people exit the jail, with a bin of warm socks and clothes, tobacco, and a sign on the windshield to welcome people out on the cold, blustery night.  It is such a worthwhile and necessary activity; should be a regular thing. We encountered about 7 people who needed something warm, the use of a phone, maybe a cigarette, a friendly face and listening ears.

The next morning, October 23rd, people gathered for breakfast at Clarke Plaza, open to everyone who was hungry or wanting coffee or tea.  One of Chris Burgess’ brother’s came by; this being the 7th anniversary of his brother’s death.  Even those of us who never met Christopher during his short life, will always remember him.

After some music, some tears, and gathering up our signs, we marched and biked to Eureka Police Department where murder and cruelty are common practice.  And where violent creeps, like Terence Liles, Rodrigo Reyna-Sanchez, Murl Harpham, and Justin Winkle, reside.  We are not afraid to call that out. Then we moved on (happily) to the neighborhoods of Eureka, where we talked with folks, and people remember Christopher and show spirited agreement- from their cars, houses, and yards- with the messages in our chants and banners: STOP POLICE BRUTALITY, LILES IS A KILLER, BEING A YOUTH IS NOT A CRIME, R.I.P. ZACHARY COOK (DEC 23 1989-JAN 4 2007) KILLED BY EPD’S LILES, CHANGE IS POSSIBLE,  WE REMEMBER CHRIS BURGESS. With dignity and strength, and care for each other, we decry and defy the intimidation of the police state.  ~Verbena

from Skye 10-25-13
For the past eighteen years, cities across the United States have rallied on October 22nd to show solidarity against police brutality. I am learning that occurrences of police brutality are much more numerous and severe in the United States than they are back home in Canada. A sad truth that is only deepened through the discovery that such violence often leads to death. This sharp reality felt all too often in the communities of the most northern part of California where police brutality ranges from daily intimidation to outright murder, tasering to decades of confined isolation.

Typically a one day event, the March is extended to two days in Eureka to honour the memory of Christopher Burgess, a 16 year old who was shot by a Eureka police officer on October 23rd, 2006. The supporters met at noon on the 22nd to share in discussion, food, and sign making. Despite the cloudy skies and serious purpose, spirits were high with the anticipation to flex our vocal cords and work our legs during the march. The call went out to begin and we each picked up a sign and gathered outside the park on the street.

Marching along an unplanned route, the group walked past the high school as the students were being released for the day. ImageMany showed their support to the idea of removing police from schools. An understandable reaction from students who are finding their schools resembling prisons more and more – security check points, undercover police, random locker searches, metal detectors. I hope we realize soon that treating people like criminals does not help in any way, especially when they are not. After a quick break the group continued to march through the city, waving signs, yelling chants, and throwing up peace signs to passing traffic.

Much to the group’s gratitude, the police encounters passed by without incident. Many people showed their support for our protest with honks from their vehicles as they drove by. The drivers who found themselves in a hurry were not too pleased with our presence on the street, even though we always left room for them to pass around. An understandable reaction to the injustice of having one’s life run by a clock – we wished them free time in response to their show of frustration. As the time to march came to a close, we stopped at another park to set up for the evening’s events.

An abundant feast was gifted to the sore footed group to nourish their bodies and hearts after the day’s walk. And while we ate, entertainment of the highest calibre was shared for our pure enjoyment. As night fell the community came a little closer together through the sharing of gifts and the exciting of our taste buds and ear drums. The live music provided reflection and introspection, as well as laughter and participation. Deeper connections were made as we were given space to share stories, jokes, and hugs. Through the coming together over a common surface problem, we are given practice to dive deeper into a shared community experience.Image

 After dark fell, a humid, foggy candlelight vigil took the remaining group back to the day’s starting point for an overnight park camp out. This is where my path diverged – to return the next day in the late afternoon with one of my gifts – fresh cucumber mango guacamole and baked yam fries. Posted on a busy street corner with signs and free food for whomever was hungry, the group honored the fallen victims by sharing their stories with passerby’s. Another year to gather and remember those whose lives continue to be afflicted by the brutality of violence from those we give our trust to be protectors.

I am grateful for the opportunity to show support to a community bringing awareness to an important shadow of our culture – the disconnection that allows one person to take another’s life and to perpetuate violence of the most disgraceful sort. The pervasive and obvious favoritism, elitism, and corruption infecting the enforcement agencies of this area have left me stunned and humbled. I honor and acknowledge the challenges faced by a population of people who are dealing with such a horrible treatment on a regular basis. No being deserves oppression at any level – be it physical, psychological, or spiritual. To commit such acts of violence require a disconnection from one’s heart so vast that the whisper of consciousness seems to have disappeared entirely.

Somewhere inside, buried deeper in some, the spark of light resides and awaits its chance to be heard and felt. This light exists in all of us. A hell inside creates the horrors of our lives. The love inside creates heaven on Earth. In this dawning age of truth, justice, and integrity we are each asked to step into our highest expression and to take responsibility for the actions we take and words we speak. Are you looking at a badge, uniform, or costume – or are you looking into someone’s eyes and seeing them standing there – as scared as you are – as full of beautiful creative potential as you are? The resolution and healing processes being born through the new consciousness of humanity will seek not the false, demeaning, and inadequate deterrence and ‘punishment’ oriented solutions, but ones focusing on root causes, emotional healing, and collective community restoration. Sickness and health in a community is shared by all.

photos from Rogue Planet News and radmul.blogspot.com

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Kathy Anderson of People For A Human Rights Sanctuary

a tent is affordable housing

Eureka City Council Mtg.
Sept. 21, 2010

Dear Council members:

Article 1: Universal Declaration of Human Rights declares that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.  They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

As a council that has publicly stated that you, therefore Eureka, supports The Universal Declaration of Human Rights I need to ask you how the conscience of the city can continue using decades old attempts to “handle” the homeless problem that have failed.  You have sunk millions of dollars into sheltering, policing and jailing people yet homelessness is on the rise.

20+ years ago and most every year since, you’ve had homeless activists/advocates talk to you about a campground and you always refuse.  Then John Shelter comes to you with his New Directions Program that you funded.  According to the program description, once John OK’s people to camp, they need not worry about becoming a criminal with a camping violation.

Last week a couple who lives in the marsh with an agreement between them and John was violated by a police officer who threatened to arrest this couple for trespassing and “maintaining a public nuisance”. 
Can you imagine having an officer come to where you live telling you that you must leave by tomorrow or you’ll go to jail?  Does that sound dignified?  The officer (M.Harpham) also added insult to the threat and cut the ropes to their tarp and destroyed the door that keeps out the rain.  I’ve taken many complaints from people in my neighborhood who have had the cops slash and otherwise destroy their belongings. 

Where do homeless people go to when their agreements with the New Directions Program have been violated?  Are you still employing New Directions, if not, when are you going to tell the public?

For more than 20 years you’ve been told of the necessity for a campground set up to provide basic sheltering and sanitation for those in housing poverty.  We’ve told you that housing for every income need must be supplied to our communities or suffer with homelessness indefinitely.  Today we have a saturated rental market because those who used to own are renting and those who rented are homeless because the owners were foreclosed upon and no low income housing is slated to be built this year.  So where are people living?  In the forests and the bushes along the bay and you have hired the police to take care of our housing shortage by criminalizing people in poverty and despair!

The welfare department recognizes that people need tents and sleeping bags and will refer people to Saint Vinnie’s for free ones if they have some donations.  There are hundreds of others who have voiced their approval of a campground and who would volunteer to set up and support when they are needed.

I ask that the city work out a way to secure “common space” for people without housing to set up camp as transitional housing until the housing needs of the area become stabilized.  Please don’t look to professionals to quantify needs, homeless people and activists are far more logical and realistic than are those who have financial interest in these things.

Sincerely,
K. Anderson

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Today, September 22, 2010, I was called by Maria within the hour after I helped them relocate to a new camp spot telling me that the cops were “raiding” again and she was afraid. After calling Verbena to report the raid I went to the marsh and walked with James, Maria and dogs, down to where the patrol cars (2) were. We spoke with Murl Harpham and an unknown officer. I asked Harpham why he threatened to arrest this couple when they had an agreement with John Shelter. He said because it is illegal to camp here. I asked why did the city give $20,000 to New Directions, and he said it was so that John Shelter could teach people how to camp respectfully and clean up the marsh. I asked why the city would pay John $20,000 to teach campers how to camp if camping is illegal. Officer Harpham then told me that he would have to tell John to stop doing that. My understanding of what he was saying is that EPD has jurisdiction and therefore what New Directions was hired to do is ineffectual to the “campers” and a waste of money to the city.

We need and must provide a Human Rights Sanctuary to give relief to people like Maria who worry everyday about her belongings and staying out of the rain.

We need quiet retreats where the mind can heal from too much noise and too many people.

We need a few acres in the woods where a garden can flourish from the care of hands that once were in handcuffs.

We need jobs available to people who can sculpt and build fascinating driftwood benches and art made of recycled materials found in the marsh along the path that will be built from a million dollar grant that was just awarded to the city of Eureka. I’ll bet we could get more grant money to employ people who would live and work in the marsh while building the trail. It could be fashioned into a project like what The Conservation Corps did during the Great Depression.

We need the cops to leave people alone.

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Donna Tam/The Times-Standard
Posted: 10/10/2009

“The difference between us and law enforcement is we have the ability to come out on a daily basis,” Shelter said.


Shelter and his team of North Coast Resource Center — or NCRC — volunteers spent about three to four hours Friday morning cleaning up the marsh near the Virgo Street entrance as part of a new program funded by a $20,000 grant from the California State Coastal Conservancy. The center signed a contract with the city of Eureka on Tuesday and began surveying the area Wednesday. Part of the program’s mission is not just to kick people out of the marsh, but educate them about taking responsibility for the environment they disturb and other options they may have.
….During a pilot program in Trinidad, Shelter said occupants of 124 of the 182 encampments did not want to be there. He hopes that cleaning the marsh will also allow the program to gather data about the demographics of the homeless community.
….A lot of people don’t realize that if they leave garbage outside of their house — like old mattresses, blankets, or carpets — they are providing the homeless with materials to build makeshift shelters, he said, standing by a campground consisting only of a blanket and what looked like a wooden platform.

 

And from Murl Harpham of the Eureka Police Department “good ole boy” network:

Sean Garmire/The Times-Standard
Posted: 09/03/2008

“The solution is heavier enforcement, which we can’t do,” Harpham said. The solution is “just to make it uncomfortable here for them.”
….At least twice a week, he said, officers sweep homeless camps. But without any place to move to, the camp’s residents are forced to find another space to set up camp. ”We just keep moving them around,” Harpham said.

….After a complaint is issued, Harpham said Eureka officers respond to tell the trespassers to leave. Their information is reviewed in a database, and if they are repeat offenders [repeat sleepers!], they are either arrested or cited.

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The City of Eureka proves itself again to care more about pushing its weight around, stealing, towing, searching, seizing, than it does about YOUNG PEOPLE WHO HAVE NO PLACE TO LIVE.

 

There is a young man who is in foster “care”, however his foster parent of about a month was not feeding him or letting him stay in or even use the house, was not giving him any money that was supposed to come to him, and was not spending any of the government foster money on his “foster child.” So, the young person acquired the bus you see in this video. He and his friends (some of them also homeless) were cleaning and trying to fix the bus up so they had some place to be. Really nice, intelligent, sweet, and community-oriented kids just trying to survive and care for each other. Well, Eureka Police Department’s Sgt. Rodrigo Reyna-Sanchez, Officer Adam Laird, and another officer harassed and terrorized the kids every day. See the July 6th open letter from Redwood Curtain CopWatch. Then, after CopWatch wrote a letter which went to hundreds of people and to the Chief of Eureka Police and other local officials, Sanchez faded out, first hiding a few cars away when the cops came to harass, intimidate, and threaten the kids and their bus. Then, on the morning of July 8th, the cops told the kids that they had an hour to get their things off the bus and it would be towed. The Eureka cops also told the youth that CopWatch would be arrested if they came on the scene.

 

A few hours later Eureka Police captain Murl Harpham, detective Neil Hubbard, officer Adam Laird, a female police photographer, two insurance company photographers for Eureka, and Willard of Humboldt Towing Company showed up to take ALL THAT THESE YOUTH HAVE for otherwise safe haven. The cops ignored the bus owner’s clear and immediate refusal of his consent to search, and instead went in the bus, made rude comments, blocked the door from the bus owner until Harpham had gone through the bus.

 

The young people asserted their rights, retrieved what they could from the bus (i.e. a sleeping bag, personal belongings), and watched it get towed away.

 

These young folks are not hurting anyone, not even themselves (which would be hard for many people to claim). They are youth, trying to survive. They’re not even drunk or drugged or causing any problems. It is twisted and disgusting that the Eureka Police (and anyone else who assisted) could pretend that they are doing an honorable job (what/ taking an ‘unsightly’ bus off the streets of Eureka?!), and completely refuse to protect and instead ABUSE, SCARE, and STEAL from the most vulnerable people in our so-called community – homeless youth.

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