Richard Verstegan 5 a.m., March 12
Occupy San Diego Voices Complaints Against SDPD
Members of Occupy San Diego will be attending tonight’s Citizens Review Board of Police Practices to voice complaints regarding the way the San Diego Police Department has handled the ongoing protest which began in early October.
“We are going there to talk to them about what’s been going on and to make some specific requests for them to help us look into the crackdown police have been doing,” says Occupy San Diego media liaison Ray Lutz.
“Most significantly, I want to address the number of people arrested whose charges have not been filed. You should not just be able to arrest a whole bunch of people for nothing and not ever have anybody say that’s wrong. Other people have their own ideas about how we can progress this, but I will probably be asking them to looking to the list of people arrested and for what and whether or not charges have been filed. Some Occupy participants who have been following the figures say that 80% have not resulted in charges being filed.”
Lutz cites cases such as the recent arrest of occupier Stephanie Jennings and the arrest of four for felony conspiracy after “mic checking” Mayor Jerry Sanders during his State of the City address.
No charges have yet been filed for the felonious four, nor have any against Lutz after he was arrested while registering voters at the Civic Center Plaza in November.
“These people may be considered rude, but it’s a public meeting,” says Lutz. “You have a right to speak in there. So these cases need to be looked at. What I find interesting here is that the mayor doesn’t even have to listen to public comment. It’s very hard to even talk to the mayor anymore. It’s just one direction. Just tell us how the city is going. The way the mayor is behaving is a very one-percenter move. San Diego City Council meetings win my award for the worst public participation rules in the states. I mean, three minutes per subject? It makes no common sense at all. It’s like they’re trying to come up with rules that allow people to say the least. So if someone finally has the gall to say something to the mayor, they cite them for a felony.”
Besides the multiple alleged brutal arrests that have taken place at Occupy San Diego, Lutz wants to address the grounds for the majority of the protest’s arrests - Municipal Code 54.0110 (Encroachment):
"It is unlawful for any person to erect, place, allow to remain, construct, establish, plan or maintain any vegetation or object on any public street, alley, sidewalk, highway, or other property or public right-of-way, except as otherwise provided by this Code."
“Let’s say someone was in violation of the encroachment law and built a permanent dumpster in their alley. Would you arrest them? No, you’d give them a citation. You don’t put people in jail for this ever. Property owners don’t get put in jail for encroachment. What they want to do is to make it painful enough and costly enough that the occupy group will abandon ship. It’s one thing to continue to get arrested to make a point. Now you have to process it. It’s going to take some time. Occupy San Diego is going to keep doing this. They have the right to. I think it’s so great that people have the guts to stand up for themselves.”
Citizens Review Board of Police Practices
6:30 p.m. tonight at the Malcolm X Library And Performing Arts Center (5148 Market Street)
More like this:
- City attorney loses two more First Amendment battles — Dec. 9, 2013
- Mike Garcia Gets Off the Couch to Occupy San Diego — Dec. 27, 2011
- Occupy San Diego Protester Joins Hunger Strike in Response to Alleged Police Brutality — Dec. 6, 2011
- Occupy San Diego Responds to Raid, Inaugurates Occupy Mission Bay — Nov. 17, 2011
- Carl DeMaio's Fundraiser Deemed "Disgusting" and "Publicity Stunt" by Occupy San Diego Spokesperson — Nov. 8, 2011