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Occupy Delaware Claims First Amendment Victory in Settlement with City

Posted 12 years ago on July 13, 2012, 9:17 a.m. EST by OccupyWallSt

Occupy Delaware stands in front of their tents
Occupy Delaware at tent celebration last winter; photo courtesy Firedoglake

via Occupy Delaware

WILMINGTON, DE. Occupy Delaware’s right to maintain its eight-month tent occupation at Spencer Plaza has been sustained in a settlement negotiated by the group’s ACLU attorney Richard Morse with the City of Wilmington. The settlement is now awaiting approval by and the signature of Chancery Court Vice Chancellor Sam Glasscock, III. In accordance with the settlement, the group plans to temporarily suspend its occupation in September to make way for much needed renovations to the plaza. According to the group, the City has wasted possibly hundreds of thousands of dollars in its battles against Occupy Delaware and First Amendment rights. It calls upon the City “to use the money that it would have spent on continuing legal action against Occupy Delaware to instead provide direct grants to local non-profits, especially those dealing with homelessness and evictions and those addressing compassionately and wisely the epidemics of drug addiction and violent crime.”

In agreeing to the settlement, Occupy Delaware has released the following statement:

Occupy Delaware was created in the image of Occupy Wall Street to redress inequities in the economic and political policies of the United States under Wall Street control at all government and corporate levels. It entered an agreement with the City of Wilmington Delaware recognizing the legitimacy of the occupation of the public space known as Spencer Plaza as the location for a protest protected by the constitutional rights of assembly and free speech. Occupy Delaware intends to continue its efforts to educate the public and voice the necessary and legitimate demands in the interest of ninety-nine percent of the population.



Occupy Redwood City to Protest New San Mateo County Jail

Posted 12 years ago on July 13, 2012, 9:03 a.m. EST by OccupyWallSt

via Occupy Redwood City

SATURDAY July 14, Redwood City, 1 PM - On Bastille Day, Occupy Redwood City (ORWC) will be rallying at the site of the county’s newly approved future jail to protest its construction in our community (location: Maple and Blomquist Streets).

a prisoner sits inside a crowded jail resting his head on his palm in despair

We are proud to be joined by our friends at Occupy San Jose (OSJ) at this rally and to be standing in solidarity with other groups on the Peninsula who have already spoken out and led the way in organizing against the construction of a new county jail in favor of more cost-efficient and just alternatives that would provide greater long-term benefits for our county and for low-income communities and communities of color.

At a recent General Assembly ORWC passed a resolution strongly rejecting the new jail for the following reasons:

  • Our county commissioned the Center for Juvenile and Criminal Justice (CJCJ) to do a study on our inmate population. The CJCJ strongly recommended that the county at least explore cost-effective, evidence-based ways to reduce that population before resorting to building a new jail to combat overcrowding.
  • For example, 72% of our inmates have yet to be convicted of a crime and are being held simply because they don’t have money for bail. Neighboring counties have adopted innovative programs that allow many of these people to be released until they have their day in court, and indeed, the CJCJ recommended alternatives to solve San Mateo County’s overcrowding problem such as pretrial release, expedited court processing and transfer, and expanded probation supervision. The Board of Supervisors rejected all these recommendations in favor of a new jail.
  • Our county is already cutting jobs and services. The new jail will cost the county $160 million to build and will create a new, annual $44 million operating expense for the county. While state government will pay a large share of the construction cost, it will not pay for future operations. A new jail will require more staff, locking in a larger fraction of the county budget spent on Sheriff’s deputies guarding the jail instead of on those intervention workers who would go out into communities to provide health, counseling, safety and other services that would mitigate the problems that lead to most crime in the first place.
  • Under the recent state “realignment” plans, more low-level offenders are being held by counties, rather than being sent to state prison. This is not a bad idea, but it will only lead to truly just outcomes for these low-level offenders if counties find them alternatives to incarceration. Unfortunately, as a response to the injustice of mass incarceration, San Mateo County is just building more jail space, and in doing so is missing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do the right thing by creating a more fair and humane justice system.
  • As in most other counties across the nation, it is young men from low-income communities and communities of color on the Peninsula who are disproportionately incarcerated in San Mateo County jails. We do not need to spend our public money and go into further debt building more jails to house people from these communities. The millions of dollars allotted for this new jail should be going to programs in these communities instead to provide critical, valuable services.
  • Local building trades unions have fought for a new jail in San Mateo County because they were guaranteed these construction jobs, and as people who stand in solidarity with the labor movement as a whole we respect the right of labor to organize for their interests. However, we think a new jail represents a missed opportunity for our community. A jail that is projected to be as costly to our county as this one is will result in chronic budget shortfalls that will require our county to continue cutting services and to continue laying off good public sector union workers. We ask our labor sisters and brothers who are advocating for this jail to consider the harm it will do to other union jobs down the line, and to work with the county on other projects that will benefit the entire community, instead of on one construction project that will cause unnecessary long-term damage.
  • ORWC rejects the argument that the new jail will be beneficial to the community because it will have a focus on rehabilitation, job training, and other programs to reintegrate inmates into society. We know that such services are the first thing to get cut during deficit years and lean budgets, and in light of the $44 million additional annual operating expense that the jail represents we are not optimistic that these programs will be permanent fixtures in the new jail. We also demand that if the county is so concerned about promoting such services, they can and should be funding them within the communities that need them before spending millions in public funds building jails to house these programs.

These are just some of the reasons ORWC will be demonstrating our opposition to this misguided project, for which the first $16 million has already been approved, and we hope to stop this senseless misallocation of our resources. The storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789 as part of a people’s uprising against the monarchy is now recognized as the spark that ignited the French Revolution. ORWC will be speaking out at the new jail site, connecting this past history to our current culture of incarceration and systematic mistreatment of low-income people and people of color.

Our prison system is both a moral blight on our society and an overwhelming economic burden, taking away much needed resources from schools, health care, and affordable housing. The prison system is corrupting our society and making us less safe, rather than protecting us as its proponents claim. It is a system built on fear, racism, and the exploitation of poverty, and it has no place in a society that aspires to liberty, justice, and equality for all.

We invite all like-minded people to join us on Saturday and show their opposition to the new jail!

ORWC is proud to join groups like the CJCJ, Californians United for a Responsible Budget (CURB), Youth United for Community Action (YUCA), Silicon Valley De-Bug, ACLU Northern California, and many others in opposing a new jail in San Mateo County, and we appreciate the messages of support and promises of attendance that we have already received from some of these groups for our Bastille Day rally.

ORWC continues to rally every Friday at 5 PM at Courthouse Square in Redwood CIty, with General Assemblies commencing at City Hall at 6 PM.


Occupy Activists Join Social Justice Organizations to Protest the 1% at the Bohemian Grove July 14

Posted 12 years ago on July 13, 2012, 8:54 a.m. EST by OccupyWallSt

occupy bohemian grove flyer

via Occupy Bohemian Grove:

Occupy groups from Santa Rosa, San Francisco, Portland, Sebastopol, and Petaluma, are joining some twenty other social justice activist organizations to protest the powerful one-percent elites partying at the Bohemian Grove in Monte Rio, California July 14-29.

2,000-3,000 rich and wealthy men have gathered every summer for 133 years in a private 2,800 acre ancient redwood retreat to celebrate themselves with parties, entertainment, and speakers. The men, Bohemian Club members and their guests, will hold a cremation of care ceremony July 14, where they symbolically burn the cares of the world before a giant owl in a bizarre annual ritual.

This year’s protest against the gathering of the world’s political and economic elite is called “Occupy Bohemian Grove, Expose the 1%. Occupy groups across America, and increasingly the world, are working to expose the one percent in control of global resources who are bringing human rights repression, environmental destruction, and war to humankind.

The Fukushima Mothers and Cindy Sheehan are joining the twenty-four co-sponsors for a Creation of Care ceremony, speakers, and music, Saturday, July 14, at the Monte Rio Amphitheater, just outside the gates of the Bohemian Grove. Kris Welsh will MC the day, and Dennis Bernstein, host of Flashpoints on KPFA/Pacifica radio will broadcast live from the event. Russia Today-TV with Abby Martin will film and John Rees with No-Lies Radio will video-cast the day on the Internet.

The protest will feature Occupy groups as well as other organizations including Code Pink, Peace and Justice Center, ANSWER Coalition, Project Censored, Bohemian Grove Action Network, Veterans for Peace, National Lawyers Guild, Round Valley Indians for Justice, and various others groups focused on key issues, such as climate change, human rights, Palestine, Cuban Five, and a living wage. Representatives from these organizations and more will speak joining in coalition to create a vast cornucopia of care as a counter to the one-percent elites less than a mile away. In addition to the speakers, the program at the amphitheater will include musical performances by Dave Lippman, Teresa Tudury, Jim Ocean, Scott Gerber, Attila Nagy, Keith Blackstone and the Hubbub Club.

Admission to the Creation of Care is free. It will run from noon to 4 p.m. at the Monte Rio amphitheater, which is located at 9925 Main Street in downtown Monte Rio.

Please see the complete list of endorsements and speakers on our flyer.

Media Contacts: Susan Lamont: Peace and Justice Center of Sonoma County: 707-575-8902
Attila Nagy: Occupied Press/Prensa Ocupada North Bay: 707-795-1044
Peter Phillips: Media Freedom Foundation/Project Censored: 707-874-2695
Mary Moore, Bohemian Grove Action Network: 707-874-2248
Information at: www.occupybohemiangrove.com


LAPD beats and shoots (rubber bullets) at OccupyLA

Posted 12 years ago on July 13, 2012, 1:08 a.m. EST by OccupyWallSt

Update, background from Occupy LA Press Release:

OCCUPY LA’S CHALK WALK AGAINST CHALKING ARRESTS Members of Occupy LA Chalk Up Art Walk in Protest of a Dozen Arrests for Chalk

LOS ANGELES – Members of Occupy Los Angeles plan to occupy this week’s Downtown LA Art Walk with “Free Chalk for Free Speech” after 12 LAPD arrests of Occupiers for water-soluble chalking on the public sidewalks in the last month.

Over six months after Envoys of the United Nations wrote a letter to the Obama Administration, the U.S. government has yet to response to requests regarding local repression of the Occupy movement. Members of Occupy LA plan to push the issue with local and federal governments after alleged increase of Rights violations by LAPD.

Occupiers feel LAPD has targeted them in attempt to silence their dissent and stop their actions. Courtroom witnesses have been threatened with arrest; Occupiers have been arrested for chalk art; and say they say they are victims of police misconduct.

Occupiers claim the LAPD have made 12 Occupy arrests in four weeks for chalking.

In a letter dated June 4, Carol Sobel, a Civil Rights lawyer with the National Lawyers Guild, explained to the Special Assistant for Constitutional Policing for the LAPD that the 9th Circuit unanimously held that “no chalk would damage a sidewalk” in MacKinney v. Nielsen from 1995.

“Given that this decision is now 18 years old, there is no excuse for these arrests,” states Sobel in the letter.

Occupiers say LA’s current graffiti laws do not reflect the Constitutional ruling yet. Activist point out that elected officials and police officers are sworn to uphold and protect the Constitution. However, many Occupiers feel individuals of these entities systematically repress their Rights.

The City of Orlando recently spent $200,000 defending a chalk-art arrest of an Occupier in Florida. The city lost that case and activists say that the City of Los Angeles could waste over $2.5 million dollars defending the 12 chalking arrests this month.

Occupiers believe the LAPD selectively enforces the graffiti laws against them while the City’s own Parking Enforcement officers use chalk on the tires of vehicles they wish to monitor for time restrictions.

The activist also say, that the police did not arrest any activists at an anti-Walmart protest, two weeks ago, in downtown organized by Labor unions and other community groups. From photos of the event, it clearly had plenty of chalk art written on the pavement surrounding the activities.

Activists argue the chalk comes in packaging marketed for sidewalk use and that the water-soluble chalk does not cause damage.

Members of Occupy LA allege that City Officials violate Title 42 Chapter 21, subsection 1, section 1983 for Federal law and California Civil Code 52.1. They say LAPD officers— under the color of law— interfere with their exercise and enjoyment of their Rights by threats, intimidation, and coercion and subjects them to deprivation of their rights.

To avoid prosecution, the City required dozens of Occupy LA arrestees to take a First-Amendment-Rights class administered through the City Attorney’s office. Now, Occupy LA says it is the City that needs a lesson in the First Amendment.

*PLEASE NOTE: This was written by an individual participant in Occupy LA but is not an official statement. All official statements have to have consensus from Occupy LA's general assembly.

Occupy LA is at an event coinciding with a monthly local art fair, Art Walk, they call Chalk Walk.

Live Updates (In EST):

  • 3:04 - Update on those trapped in the hotel: they got out via other exits. Live updates for the night are not expected to continue.
  • 2:43 - the less lethal rounds used may have been sponge grenades.
  • 2:16 - Reports of earlier use of tear gas canisters. Crowds dwindling down.
  • 1:57 - Some occupiers blockaded in a hotel by police. Legally questionable to say the least.
  • 1:30 - CBS still of police
  • 1:15 - Another shot fired, total of 5. (Assumed all to be rubber bullets)
  • 1:09 AM - Picture of occupier's wound