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Eleven people are being charged with a total of 23 felonies for the take-over of a long vacant bank building in early December. It is known that 200 - 300 people entered the building over the 3 days of the occupation but the DA has singled out journalists and well known outspoken critics of the police department.
The ACLU has drafted a STATEMENT OF SUPPORT of these defendants and I ask you to sign on and endorse this letter. The more community support we get in this manner, the more likely it is that the DA will drop these extreme charges.
PLEASE INCLUDE YOUR NAME.
STATEMENT OF SUPPORT
Eleven local activists have been charged with a variety of offenses arising from the occupation of a vacant bank building last fall. We have two primary concerns regarding this prosecution. First, at least some of the defendants are journalists who were present to report on the protest. We condemn any attempt to criminalize their exercise of the crucial First Amendment right to gather and disseminate information about this newsworthy event. All charges based on this constitutionally protected activity should be dropped immediately.
Second, it appears that some of the defendants may have been charged due to their past adversarial relationship with law enforcement officials. The Constitution requires that the enormous power of government be exercised fairly and even handedly, and not be based on the identity or past actions of the defendants. The District Attorney should re-examine the basis for the charges, and the Court must ensure that these activists are not being selectively prosecuted.
Very truly yours,
Chair, Board of Directors
ACLU–Santa Cruz Chapter
--San Francisco, California 94111
Please use your full name especially if you're in Santa Cruz, CA
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