[Hpn] Santa Cruz Police Violate Free Speech With Two More Arrests!
Mon, 7 Jul 2003 17:07:41 -0700 (PDT)
Santa Cruz Police Violate Free Speech With Two More
Press statement of the Revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg
Club of the Peace and Freedom Party (RRLC – PFP).
Steve Argue and Matt Hartogh were arrested on
Sunday July 6th for distributing literature on Pacific
Avenue. Both had their literature tables, signs, and
literature confiscated by the police and taken in as
evidence of their supposed crime. Steve Argue was
also arrested on June 23rd under the same law. One of
the flyers they were distributing can be read at the
end of this statement.
The law they were arrested under is a new law
passed by the supposedly “progressive” Santa Cruz City
Council. It is a law that makes it illegal to keep a
political table up for more than an hour without
moving along (5.43.020 SC). This law is only
selectively enforced against activists that are
particularly disliked by the Santa Cruz City Council,
while those organizations that do not expose the fake
leftists on the City Council have so far been
generally left alone.
The political tables targeted by the police were
joint tables of the Revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg Club
of the Peace and Freedom Party (RRLC – PFP) and
Homeless United for Peace and Freedom (HUFF). Both
organizations have been outspoken in our opposition to
the anti-poor and anti-working class policies and laws
of the Santa Cruz City Council as well as in opposing
this new law that violates the basic free speech
rights of the people of Santa Cruz.
Other new laws that both organizations have opposed
include one that makes juggling illegal. Performer
Tom Noddy was recently arrested and held for twelve
hours under this new law.
While being filmed by fellow activists, both Steve
Argue and Matt Hartogh refused to move their political
table and refused to sign a ticket when asked to do
so. Steve Argue instead cited the right to free
speech under the First Amendment to the Constitution
and pointed out that the Santa Cruz City Council and
the arresting officers were the ones who were actually
in violation of the law.
As a large supportive crowd gathered they told the
many cops who were also gathering that they would not
stop distributing literature and that they would not
take the table down. They said they would not back
down voluntarily and pointed out that the only way
they would be temporarily stopped would be if the
police arrested them and took the table down
After officers waited for Sgt. Butchy Baker to
arrive, the police then arrested the two and took the
table and flyers into evidence.
Sgt. Baker is a cop that is assigned to deal with
political cases. On Monday, June 30th, Sgt. Baker
closed down a video showing of Steve Argue’s earlier
arrest and cited activists Robert Norse and Jim Ross
for “audio amplification without a permit”. This is
the first time such a charge has been used against a
video display by activists. Baker also cited another
man for “sitting on the planter railing” after that
man had helped in carrying video equipment for the
showing. It was also Sgt. Baker who arrested Steve
Argue on Labor Day last year for jaywalking and Baker
has cited Robert Norse for this same “offense”. The
Labor Day arrest of Argue prevented him from making it
to a Labor Day picnic where he was scheduled to
promote his campaign to be elected to City Council.
In addition, Baker was accused of sexual harassment
and sexual assault by 9 different women that he held
in custody a few years back. Soon after these
accusations had blown up and had been absolved by the
police department, Baker was named officer of the year
and was promoted.
As bad as Sgt. Butchy Baker is, his activities are
not those of some rogue cop. They represent the laws,
policies, and intentions of his fake leftist bosses
that comprise the entire Santa Cruz City Council.
This is why the Citizen’s Police Review Board,
appointed by the City Council, was almost entirely
useless. And after the Board took an independent
stand opposing the selective enforcement of the Santa
Cruz Police the City Council abolished the body.
Steve Argue is no stranger to being arrested for free
speech. In 1998 he was arrested by the Santa Cruz
Police for selling a non-corporate newspaper. During
that arrest, and while he was being held in custody,
he was brutalized by the police and deputies and held
for four days. That arrest, another violation of the
First Amendment to the constitution, backfired for the
police with the publicity the case received and the
outrage it provoked. After that arrest the Santa Cruz
Police became very timid about violating freedom of
press, although they did issue a couple citations
again last year.
In addition to the publicity Argue’s 1998 arrest
received, he also won a ruling in the court of Federal
District Judge Ware stating that not only do the Santa
Cruz Police violate constitutional rights, but the way
city lawyers were trying to defend the police proves
that it is city policy to violate those rights.
Today, it is essential that the people stand up for
the rights of those who are standing up for their
rights. Steve Argue, Matt Hartogh, Robert Norse, Jim
Ross, and Tom Noddy all deserve your support.
As Steve Argue has stated, “In the traditions of
the IWW who successfully defended free speech rights
at the turn of the last century, Steve Argue has vowed
to continue violating this city law until free speech
rights are restored in Santa Cruz and I urge others in
Santa Cruz to join me.”
The homepage for Liberation News, the mouthpiece of
the Revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg Club of the Peace and
Freedom Party, can be found at:
People may subscribe to Liberation News on the
internet for free by sending email to:
Donations for flyers, legal costs, etc. can be sent to
Steve Argue at 1135 N. Branciforte, Santa Cruz CA
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