santa cruz beach rock formation.jpg

The Santa Cruz Free Speech Audit
September 14, 2020 - September 30, 2021

The Santa Cruz Free Speech Audit
High-level summaries
September 14, 2020 - September 30, 2021

our fight to save free speech in santa cruz, ca

 

Will a predominantly liberal-progressive city government in California suppress a small, Black Lives Matter counter-movement that challenges its doctrines and ownership of street propaganda? In seeking out a test case to assess whether the City of Santa Cruz places its politics aside in favor of protecting its residents' 1st Amendment rights, FARPS chose to use the Black Lives Matter street mural venue as "ground zero" for its free speech audit, which was formally, yet secretly, launched on September 14, 2020. At this particular moment in time, powerful emotions were still simmering across the nation and within the Santa Cruz community from the death of George Floyd. How far would city government go to protect this newly iconic symbol from any form of community criticism that could tarnish its carefully crafted message,  the Black Lives Matter movement, and the Black Lives Matter, organization, itself? Would it go as far as denying any of its residents their supreme right to free speech and equal protections under the law  simply to portray the community as a whole as in harmonious support of the movement? Shockingly, the answer is "yes."

 

Our stealth audit details FARPS' battles with multiple layers of city government and delivers a powerful punch of major legal challenges as they relate to the restraints on, and abuses of, government speech, the free speech rights of a small political minority, the limits on government advocacy for one movement and its condemnation, suppression and persecution of a counter-movement, and government obligations to any protest movement to provide fair, unbiased and equal treatment in its distribution of city resources and the execution of law enforcement duties, independent of the message or the affiliations of the entity.

Before you peruse these materials, envision what you would personally consider a violation of your 1st Amendment rights by your own government. What would be the threshold to cause you to shout out such violations of your fundamental, Constitutional rights? Do you have a threshold? Sadly, when the problem becomes systemic and permeates across all functional aspects of government, your shouts only fall on deaf ears. You are designated as persona non grata, denied access to the public record as a challenger to the majority, unable to effect change through the public pulpit, deprived of your natural right to self-determination. Your existence is simply wiped off the map.

 

This summary section includes the timeline of events, civil claims against the City of Santa Cruz, criminal claims against the Santa Cruz Police Department,  a full-length video summary and a shorted version (excerpts) of this video.  The video portrays our fight against a progressive city government, and how it is tightening the noose around free speech in order to destroy its political rivals by smothering constitutional protections in its fight to maintain a Marxist propaganda statement on our public streets.

NOTE: all videos have been made private. and will be made available to press and civil rights attorneys. Please contact info@farps.org to request access to them.

timeline icon.png
civil claim icon.png
criminal claim icon.png
BLMvsGBA.png
BLMvsGBA - Excerpts.png

The Santa Cruz Free Speech Audit
detailed analysis
September 14, 2020 - September 30, 2021

man with tape over mouth - green.jpg

 LIBERALISM IS DEAD IN SANTA CRUZ, CA 
 SPEECH SUPPRESSION AGAINST POLITICAL MINORITIES IS REAL 

Audit - Part 1 Header.png

On September 12, 2020, the City of Santa Cruz, through a third-party organization, erected the Black Lives Matter street mural on Center Street, in front of City Hall. There was much celebration in the city, but not by everyone. A smaller segment of the community read a different message from the large, yellow lettering of the Black Lives Matter mural. As a free speech advocacy group, we took this as a timely opportunity to test whether the City of Santa Cruz respected the 1st Amendment of the Constitution by embarking on a project that we called "The Free Speech Mural Project." Our purpose was not to attack the Black Lives Matter street mural and to try to shut it down. That would run contrary to our mission: to protect and preserve free speech for all Americans. Our goal was to gauge how the Santa Cruz City Council would respond to a direct challenge to the Black Lives Matter narrative. Would the 1st Amendment still be honored by the City of Santa Cruz?

 

The project was initiated on September 14, 2020, and officially closed on September 30, 2021. It was composed of two core elements: (1) to request a permanent encroachment permit for an second street mural, dubbed "God Bless America," that would be painted on Church Street, at the crossroad of the Black Lives Matter mural and (2) to survey the Santa Cruz County community (results can be downloaded on this page) about their own thoughts about both murals, but through an anonymous process where they could speak freely, without fear of any consequences from the community if they disagreed with the Black Lives Matter mural permit being issued by the city council. We also specifically chose to name the mural, our test vehicle, "God Bless America" as it had two triggers that are strongly rejected by the far-left: (1) the religious intonations of the word "God" and (2) the patriotic intonations of the phrase "God Bless America." With the emotional elements still percolating in the city after George Floyd's death, the "God Bless America" mural was a perfect litmus test to determine if the city could still respect 1st Amendment rights granted to all citizens under the Constitution or would they overstep any legal boundaries to suppress its message? In other words, would the right to free speech outweigh the city's special nurturing and protection of the Black Lives Matter message? Was the spirit of public discourse still alive and well in Santa Cruz or would intolerant leaders try to suppress any voice that came forward with a counter-message? The answers to these fundamental questions were to answer the larger question that we had: is the City of Santa Cruz truly inclusive, including members of the community who had opinions contrary to the majority, or would the voice of a minority political segment of the community be snuffed out? of Healthy societies stay healthy through open discourse. Government's role is to ensure that those wishing to participate in that discourse feel safe in expressing their viewpoints in a peaceful way. Government's role is not to take sides by using its position of authority to delay, obstruct, misinform, discourage, denigrate, smear, restrain and even terminate an opposing counter-movement, no matter what its size or composition. That would be discrimination and misuse of government authority.

The critical point of this "free speech experiment" was not that the city council would approve of our request and grant us a permanent encroachment permit for our mural. In fact, we purposely ensured that the odds were stacked against an approval by the choice of the location of our mural, its religious overtones, and the patriotic message attached to it. Additionally, given the city's right to government speech, the granting of permanent encroachment permits for some monument proposals and not others was entirely within the city's legal rights, so rejecting our request would have been completely in-line with its own Constitutional privileges of government speech. At that juncture, our "experiment" would have ended. But, the rights to government speech also include a caveat--that the government entity must be "accountable to the electorate." This means allowing all constituent voices to be heard and recognized in regards to a choice of monument or counter-message. But, the city council would not even allow this, denying us access to its chambers, at a minimum, in order to advocate for our own message and to have the public record reflect our counter-message. Such intolerance would ultimately setting off a chain-of-events that snowballed into the project lasting for over a year and that involved other city and 3rd-party actors who now became additional test subjects in our study. They include:

* Members of the Santa Cruz City Council (Sep-Nov-2020)

     Katherine Beiers

     Cynthia Matthews

     Sandy Brown

     Renee Golder

     Martine Watkins (Vice-Mayor)

     Donna Meyers

     Justin Cummings (Mayor)

* City Manager (Ralph Dimarucut)

* Public Works (Christophe Schneiter)

* Chief of Police (Andy Mills)

* Santa Cruz Police Department (Arresting Officers)

* Independent Police Auditor (Michael Gennaco)

* Office of the District Attorney (Katrina Rogers, Jeff Rosell)

* Santa Cruz Sentinel (Editorial Staff)

 

We discovered quite clearly a few common themes: (1) the suppression of free speech is done subtly and almost imperceptibly when the particular speech challenges the party narrative, (2) the method of suppression is to ignore the individual, deny them the public platform to leave no traces (public paper trail)  that there is any dissent among the populace and, if individuals force their way onto the platform, to physically remove them, (3) the city leans so politically to one side that speech suppression is institutionalized (systemic) in the infrastructure of the city and (4) the legal system is designed to protect the actors so they can continue to silence any opposition. In short, if you do not speak in support of the party's narratives, then every avenue within the city will be shut off to you.

 

None of this was a pleasant experience for any of us involved. But, free speech is not for free. We must all fight for it in our daily lives, even when it is uncomfortable for us to do so. We did not approach this project haphazardly or recklessly, but legally and peacefully. We do not expect many residents to see our purposes as anything beyond some right-wing attack on Liberalism and Progressivism. There couldn't be less truth in that notion. Our purposes were fundamental--to challenge those who misuse the powers granted to them by the people to suppress citizenry expressing counter-views to the city's ideological positions. There is a dangerous precursor to authoritarianism present and we must all stand up against it when it happens if you value your freedoms to speak openly. As a nonpartisan organization, we refuse to grant our loyalties to any one political party. Our fight is on principles ... and we hope that the residents of Santa Cruz understand the core purpose of our mission, and that they throw off the shackles of their tribalistic impulses, political allegiances, blind loyalties and defense mechanisms, even just for a brief moment, for a higher purpose, as you experience through our lens what no one should have to experience in this city now or ever again. Or have your tribalism and allegiances made silencing detractors the politically-expedient thing to do in the name of "the party" or "the public good?"

There is a wealth of information to digest in the following content. We attempted to summarize the essence of the project in the summary section at the top of this page, followed by this detailed analyses. At a bare minimum, please consider watching the 8-minute excerpts video in the summary section. If this engages you enough to want to learn more, then watch the full 21-minute video and review our civil and criminal claims against the city and its police force.

Note: some videos that are not in the "Summary" section are explicit for language. Viewer discretion is advised.

** IMPORTANT FOOTNOTE ** The following information (dates, events, names, analyses, quotes.) is subject to change at any time to account for omissions, corrections and / or condensations. The content shall be used as the foundation of claims brought against the City of Santa Cruz and the Santa Cruz Police Department, in addition to  private civil suits and criminal charges. This page's link is included in the claims notification to the City of Santa Cruz  and shall remain pertinent to any and all future cases filed by the First Amendment Rights Preservation Society, Inc. (PLAINTIFF) against the city. FARPS has chosen to provide the public access to the details of our case in order to aid in educating our American citizens of their constitutional rights, and those who use their positions of authority to extinguish those rights when they are not conducive to their politics. This is not the complete portfolio of evidence in our case, which shall be brought forth at the appropriate time in the litigation process.

Audit - Part 2 Header.png
Martin Luther King Bumper Sticker.png

EVENT TIMELINE
click to expand

 
Santa Cruz Street Murals Timeline.png

 We break down the chronology of the FARPS response to the approval and execution of the Black Lives Matter street mural into four distinct events:

Phase I: The "God Bless America" Street Mural Monument (Free Speech Project)

Phase II: The "Free Speech Mural Project" Survey (Free Speech Project)

Phase III: The "Free Speech Street Mural" Protest (12/11/20)

Phase IV: The Office of the Santa Cruz County District Attorney

       phase I: The "GOD BLESS AMERICA" street mural monument      

learn about the free speech project

TIME FRAME: September 14, 2020 to November 4, 2020

Christophe Schneiter Quote.png

It has always been apparent that the Black Lives Matter protests and riots around the nation created a powerful atmosphere of fear within communities, or segments of communities, who disagree with the Black Lives Matter organization's ideology, positions and methods. Most of the dissenting population, outside of a few strong voices who are courageous enough to challenge the BLM narrative, remain publicly silent about their objections, feeling that the risks outweigh the benefits of voicing them. As a result, the counter-voices to this movement are few and far between, as only select individuals have been willing to risk possible bodily harm, job cancellation and social demotion by challenging the Black Lives Matter propaganda and its supporters in powerful government positions.

We believed that, at significant risk to ourselves, the only way to publicly voice our disapproval to the Black Lives Matter street mural was not to challenge or attack the mural directly. In fact, being a free speech advocacy group, we avoided any idea of trying to have the mural removed. That approach would have none other than further inflamed tensions and stoked violence in the community, much of which had calmed down since the mural's creation. It would have also suppressed the speech of other American citizens. Nevertheless, one resident was brave enough to disagree with the city's adulation of the Black Lives Matter project (mural and flag) in declaring "The BLM movement is infected with many who are not peaceful, but quite violent, and have zero in common with MLK non-violent protest, but are a black power group with an agenda with a non-peaceful agenda." (please see page 16 of the meeting minutes), but this rather fruitless email message had limited effect on the Council and did not trigger further debate. So, it became our opinion that a more effective, visible and safe approach to make our message of dissent clear was to create a counter-message, adjacent to the existing Black Lives Matter mural, blended together in a way to be both harmonious and antithetical, in order to convey to the city and to the community that silent, contrary voices existed among them, yet were not being properly heard by the city. The effort was later dubbed "The Free Speech Project," which was founded upon two components: (a) a community survey (see next section) and (b) the "God Bless America" street mural. To dissenters in the community objecting to the use of the word "God" anywhere on their streets, the “God Bless America" mural is an expression of patriotism that is protected by the Free Speech Clause of the 1st Amendment, while it fails the religious criteria test (captive audience, whether the statement constitutes religious speech) to be rejected under the Establishment Clause, and would, therefore, not fail to stand up to any challenges as a religious monument under the supreme court decision pleasant Grove City v. Summum. Unfortunately, our mural did run up against something else--the City of Santa Cruz's process for approving murals of this nature (i.e. monuments), and and giving life to the mural could only transpire if the city itself would convey it as government speech (which we came to realize later in the process). Our pleas for city officials to adopt our street mural were ignored over a three month period (Sep-Nov-2020), as would be their right in selecting the speech of their choice, based on the assumption that the city appropriately applied their government speech rights within the boundaries and restraints governed under Rust v. Sullivan and Rosenberger v. Rector. Yet, rather oddly and very alarmingly, after such an effort to define a fairly elaborate project to the City Council, no one, from the mayor to anyone on the council summoned us to discuss the merits and drawbacks of the project to the community. There was only hindrance--shuttling us around from department to department, through misinformation and obfuscation, in hopes that we would simply disappear. There was no zoom call or follow up to the proposal. There was no dialogue, discourse or feedback of any kind. How could the project be improved or modified to allow an alternative voice to be spoken through its government or, at a the very least, taken into account as constituent input, which was never confirmed to have been formally acknowledged? The project simply fell on deaf ears in the same way that the citizen's email message did earlier. The mayor and the council simply ignored it--wishing it to be memory holed. In fact, the Assistant Director of Public Works, Christophe Schneiter, went so far as to state (October 16, 2020): "You are wasting the Department and the City’s time. Your approach is disrespectful to the City staff that works hard to respond to the public's legitimate requests." Yet, on this account, Mr. Schneiter had not only misspoken, as can and will be proven, but had exhibited the arrogance of the city officials involved, going so far as to imply that our project was not "legitimate" and unworthy of any consideration, whatsoever, in an attempt to discourage us from pursuing any further action or requests, given that no one from the city had yet to officially declined our proposal. No city official copied on that same thread refuted Mr. Schneiter's statement, including the city manager, Mr. Ralph Dimarcut. Public Works is a critical and integral component of any street mural project approval process, so it became clear to us that even with City Council approval or our mural, Public Works had already made up its mind that the project was illegitimate, so it stood no chance of ever being approved by this body. A few days after Mr. Schneiter's email, on October 20, 2020, the last communication from the city was delivered to us by Ralph Dimarucut, City Manager Office. After additional email attempts to reconnect with city officials, including a direct email to Mayor Cummings on October 28, 2020, and several to the City Council to which we received only auto-responses (Nov-4, Nov-7, Nov-9), it was clear that either our emails were now being ignored and we were now being blackballed by the city. The city was not only painting us into a corner, but effectively attacked our mission and shared it among city staff as illegitimate. It now became moot to us to continue more fruitless attempts to reach out to any branches of the city after our blackballing. We were frustrated and had wasted weeks of our.time being shuffled through "the system" and given incorrect and misleading information, including Mayor Cummings himself, with nothing to show for our patience. It became crystal clear to us that the city was using its authority to suppress a counter-movement and counter-message to its cherished Black Lives Matter street mural by ignoring constituent input. This would later evolve into outright suppression of this voice through the use of physical force by the Santa Cruz Police Department (see Phase 3). Pure and simple--the Black Lives Matter street mural was about politics and control of a specific narrative, not about what mattered to the individual citizens and citizen groups of Santa Cruz. As an aside, we also contacted the Chief of Police, Andy Mills, via our UBTASC email address, with our project proposal in September, 2020, during the community polling period, but received no response or feedback from his office.

summary of email communications

A pattern of deception, ridicule, suppression & exclusion
 

  • delaying and obstructing (city council, city manager) FARPS for eight (8) weeks, after a series of persistent emails and telephone calls to the city, by withholding information as to where the encroachment permit process began, other than to state the "City Council," whose members never replied to FARPS once throughout the process of inquiry, while on multiple email "cc's."

  • misinforming (mayor) FARPS that the first step of the process began with the approval of the arts commission, when only 3-4 months earlier, the mayor, himself, initiated the process through his sponsorship of the Black Lives Matter mural project

  • denigrating (public works) the "God Bless America" mural project in front of fellow city employees as not a "legitimate" project when no city council decision had ever affirmed this conclusion

 

  • depriving (city council) FARPS of an "approve / disapprove" decision regarding the "God Bless America" encroachment permit request, placing the organization in a permanent state of limbo and continually burning its limited resources

 

  • shutting down (city council, city manager) all communications after November 4, 2020, in response to repeated tries by FARPS to place the "God Bless America" mural on the City Council agenda

 

  • refusing (city council) multiple requests to place the "God Blessing America" street mural project onto the City Council agenda so its merits could be openly discussed and a final decision reached whether to approve or deny the encroachment permit request. Although it is not the duty of our city leaders to approve such requests, it  is their duty to introduce such critical topics into the public forum for constituent exposure, else alternative viewpoints are never heard. Denying FARPS the ability to present our proposal, answer questions, address critical concerns and attempt to sway opinions from negative to positive, especially as challenging as that may be for a political minority voice, is an essential component of democracy and of a city leadership to be accountable to its electorate, which should never be forsaken or stifled due to political biases. This was a politically-inspired shutdown of a counter-message to Black Lives Matter. The city simply used their silence as tactic to limit its legal liability exposure while simultaneously completely shutting down a counter-message to its hyper-political Black Lives Matter narrative. If this isn't the speech suppression of a political minority, then what would qualify, we would ask the court?

September 14, 2020
First email contact to city - Parks & Rec / cc: City Council / City Planning
General inquiry into process to request encroachment permit; includes project introduction letter
Under original organization name: UncoveringBigTechAbuses (later merging into FARPS)

September 20, 2020
to City Manager's Office / cc: City Council, Mayor Cummings, Parks & Rec
Request for specific contact to get process initiated (no response from either council or mayor); includes two-page letter of endorsement to be delivered to certain community members

October 16, 2020

from Public Works Office Supervisor

Email-Christina-Oct-16-2020-cropped-reda

from Assistant Public Works Director
Denigrating the mural project as not "legitimate"

Email-Christophe-Oct-16-2020-cropped-red

november 4, 2020

Email-Justin-Nov-4-2020-cropped-redacted

from City Manager's Office
Final communication of any kind received from city

City Manager's Office statement that FARPS must "work with members of the City Council to bring this project forward to the entire council"

Email-FromRalph-Nov-4-2020-cropped-redac

to City Manager's Office and Mayor; cc: all City Council members
FARPS 1st email formally requesting "God Bless America" project to be placed on Council agenda

Email - Nov-4-2020-cropped-redacted.png

November 7, 2020
to Santa Cruz County Rep; cc: Mayor, City Council members
Seeking help from County representative to address obstruction of mayor and council members

UBTASCC Email - Nov-7 - Coonerty-cropped
Email-Nov-9-2020-cropped-redacted.png

Click to expand emails

UBTASCC Email - Sep-14 - 1st Engagement
Letter to City Requesting Permit - Sep-1
Letter to City Requesting Permit - Sep-1

September 17, 2020
from City Manager's Office (first email)
General explanation of city departments involved in the decision making

UBTASCC Email - Sep-17 - 2nd Engagement
UBTASCC Email - Sep-20 - 2nd Engagement
UBTASCC Email - Sep-20 - attachment - pa
UBTASCC Email - Sep-20 - 2nd Engagement

November 9, 2020
to City Manager Office; cc: Mayor, City Council members, Public Works
Final email requesting "God Bless America" project to be placed on City Council agenda

Last attempted communication with the city

from Mayor of Santa Cruz
Final (and only) email communication received from Mayor Cummings
throughout this process; not one city council member contacted FARPS, outside of this message from the mayor which, as it turns out, was misinformation

                   PHASE II: The "Free Speech Project" Survey                

CROPPED - survey screen shot.jpg

see the results of the survey

Chart - Residents who disagree or strong

TIME FRAME: October 12, 2020 to December 1, 2020

 

The threats of violence from Black Lives Matter continue to be real today. Mayor CummIngs clearly alluded to the potential of violence, and violence did, indeed, take place, in his own city during his pleas to the protestors at the Santa Cruz Police headquarters on June 3-4, 2020 (discussed later). His statements only reaffirmed to a fearful Santa Cruz populace that critics of the movement risked consequences if they spoke out against it. This was made clear at the national level from footage of Black Lives Matter protestors passing outdoor restaurants and requiring diners to raise their fists to Black Lives Matter or be harassed incessantly at their tables. Santa Cruz residents who may have disagreed with the George Floyd narrative or had valid suspicions about the true intent behind the Black Lives Matter organization were rightly justified in staying silent or face social and / or physical repercussions. Yet, in such an atmosphere, the Santa Cruz City Council still pushed ahead, just 19 days after the final police headquarters protest on June 4, 2020, with the encroachment permit approval for the Black Lives Matter street mural. This was still in a tumultuous period of time, when fear and intimidation weighed heavily on city residents. This is when the “public comment period” was quietly opened by the City Council of Santa Cruz for resident feedback on the proposal to grant the permit. Even as late as October, 2020, when FARPS opened its anonymous survey window to resident feedback, we could see that those fears persisted, not simply due to the threats of violence, but by resident concerns over the possible social repercussions from their neighbors and co-workers for speaking out against something as simple as some yellow letters on their streets.

It was also in this environment that FARPS decided to take a stand and accept the risks in doing so. Having failed to obtain the support of the progressive, pro-Black Lives Matter City Council, our counter-movement was unable to disseminate its message of dissent to our city leaders and to our community through our counter-message (God Bless America mural) that would have effectively terminated the cult-like idea that the Black Lives Matter message was unassailable and invincible. A counter-message was a safer, more indirect path. Certainly, a direct attack against the Black Lives Matter mural itself was beyond this community's capacity. Yet, our avenue of speech had been shut down by the city. The question remained though--how many other dissenting members of the Santa Cruz community were standing silently behind their doors, afraid to publicly denounce the Black Lives Matter mural through perhaps our counter-message, or one simply of their own devising? The larger question was this: was there, indeed, a silent segment of the community who hadn't spoken out--and how large was it? We felt strongly that others in the community shared a similar disdain to the Black Lives Matter mural, but were simply afraid to come forward. So, simultaneous to our efforts to reach out to the City of Santa Cruz to grant us an encroachment permit to allow the "God Bless America" mural project to move forward, we began to query the community to test our hypothesis that voices of dissent to the Black Lives Matter mural were being suppressed through various influences. This lead us to generate and implement what was later to be known as the "The Free Speech Project Survey," an anonymous survey that allowed these voices to be heard on a safe platform. The survey was deployed on October 12, 2020, and advertised through various social media sites. The survey window closed on December 1, 2020, when we began digesting the results. Meanwhile, the City of Santa Cruz had no intention to create a safe speech platform for these voices to come forward in opposition to the Black Lives Matter street mural.

"Crowd Size Matters" -- Just Kidding

Meanwhile, one fact remains unmentioned regarding the Black Lives Matter protests in Santa Cruz, which influenced how we chose our survey participant group. As crowd sizes for the various peaceful rallies were estimated "in the thousands" by various media organizations, and estimated for the less-than-peaceful rallies to be "in the hundreds" during the two Santa Cruz Police Headquarters protests on the nights of June 3-4, were the protesters, indeed, all residents of the City of Santa Cruz? The most likely answer is "no." There is a high probability that members of these crowds came from outside of the city, including adjacent cities within Santa Cruz County, and from other Bay Area counties, who intended to send their messages of support. Clearly, the optics of these large crowds on city property meant that our elected officials could use those visual aids to falsely justify city-wide support for the Black Live Matter movement. General crowd sizes were clearly leveraged in this vein by city officials as an explicit endorsement of the movement. By  hyper-inflating the actual numbers of Santa Cruz residents who were physically participating, which was likely only a subset, the city was better able to move forward on its pet projects without much push back: the approval of the Black Lives Matter street mural encroachment permit and the establishment of "Black Lives Matter Day." Yet, a more accurate accounting of the City of Santa Cruz constituent opinions was never given a safe and proper harbor, with the encroachment permit decision and public comment period coming just 19 days after the Police Headquarters protests and violence, and community fears in a heightened state. This was why we developed and implemented the Free Speech Survey, the only actual survey of Santa Cruz and Santa Cruz County residents about the Black Lives Matter street mural and related topics. We included members of the immediate Santa Cruz County communities in our respondent scope for various reasons explained on the results, but just as non-Santa Cruz protestors, especially from nearby cities in the County, were certainly included in the BLM protest crowd compositions, where one could not differentiate between Santa Cruz residents and Santa Cruz County and Bay Area residents, our survey provides breakdowns for both, and we believe that it's only fair that our Santa Cruz County results, as a whole, would represent a similar mixture of opinions better matching the actual composition of the physical protest crowds, which is why we have included their responses in our results as well. Logically, it is a more appropriate "apples-to-apples" comparison when comparing the optics of large crowd sizes leveraged by the City of Santa Cruz to push its agenda for the Black Lives Matter street mural with our survey results. Although, in our case, we have separate data for the city as well.

Additionally, crowd sizes were inflated by another key factor that was established as the early narrative as to why Derek Chauvin had "killed" George Floyd: racism! Lest us not forgot that in the immediate aftermath of George Floyd's death no information, other than the video showing the knee of Derek Chauvin on the neck of George Floyd, was publicly available. Black Lives Matter, and the Democrat party, jumped on this opportunity to label the event a "hate crime"--a black man targeted and killed by a racist police officer. The complicit mainstream media, the magicians of hyperbole, ran with the narrative, infuriating an unquestioning American public coming to grips with the sight of a Black man slowly breathing his last breaths, at the mercy of a maniacal, racist, white cop, intent on snuffing out the life of another Black man. It was not easy for any American to watch the George Floyd video, which made selling the narrative that much easier for the story-tellers from the left-hand side. Both young and old swallowed the narrative within minutes, tying the death with racism and locking it into the American psyche, with few pointing out that in America, at least, one is presumed innocent until proven guilty. Black Lives Matter was to have none of this, and neither would the Democrat party, who made it fashionable again to make street violence an acceptable form of dissent and to stoke racial divisions (again) between black and white. Americans who were strictly reactionary to events, of which a large percentage were, rather than applying critical thinking skills by realizing that there is often "more than meets the eye" in a given event or experience, were easy prey for the Left, who typically feast on the gullible and easily misinformed, and who compelled many of these spoon-fed individuals to go out onto the streets and attack the "white-privileged system," just as a farmer would lure pgs out of their pens to their slaughter.

Surprise, Surprise -- Survey Results Don't Match the Hype

The peak of the Black Lives Matter movement took place across several weeks following George Floyd's death. This is why city leaders so quickly established Black Lives Matter monuments, hoisted Black Lives Matter flags and designated special Black Lives Matter days or months within their community. The struck while the iron was still hot. Yet, our community survey was launched approximately five months after the event, when heads cooled and more details were being trickled out to the public each day about George Floyd, Derek Chauvin, and the Black Lives Matter organization. As noted from the chart immediately above, the results of the FARPS Free Speech Community Survey (see "Survey Results" link below) suggest how constituents of different political affiliations (Santa Cruz County results) line up in their rejection (Disagree or Strongly Disagree) of the BLM street mural in downtown Santa Cruz:  Democrats (0%), Republicans (100%), Libertarians (66%) and Independents (40%). Of those rejecting the BLM mural, many expressed concerns about the repercussions of coming publicly forward (e.g. during the public comment portion of city council meetings) to express their dissension (see chart below): Republicans (concerned to very concerned), Libertarians (unconcerned to very concerned) and Independents (very concerned to extremely concerned). City of Santa Cruz breakdowns are similar which is significant in that these fears still persisted. Yet, these were voices unsolicited or ignored by the City of Santa Cruz, and continue to be so today, representing unheard constituent segments that continue to remain silent in fear of some form of retaliation, either from the community at large or from the City of Santa Cruz, itself. With such blatant disregard to, and outright suppression of, constituent feedback on such a divisive topic, the City of Santa Cruz has been consciously negligent in its role to represent all constituents fairly and equally, and therefore, has not been "accountable to the electorate" in this regard, clearly demonstrating an overreach of government power and government speech rights granted to it under Board of Regents, University of Wisconsin System v. Southworth.

Note: we do not provide a breakdowns in number quantities in our question categories (e.g. of the 40 respondents, how many supported the city's decision to grant the BLM encroachment permit and how many did not support the decision?). This is simply due to the fact that if we surveyed 39 Republicans and 1 Democrat, or 1 Republican and 39 Democrats, then an obvious skewing of the data would lead us to improper conclusions. Therefore, we only look at percentages within our political party segments to have a more relevant understanding of  the distribution of respondent opinions.

The key findings in the two survey charts below can be summarized as follows:

Chart 1 (blue bars) - The first key takeaway was the breakdown (by political party) of those who agreed and those who disagreed with the city granting the encroachment permit, but measured by the intensity of the agreement or disagreement.  Although agreement and disagreement of the encroachment permit fell on predictable party lines, on average, Independents were neutral to the idea. And while no Democrats rejected the Black Lives Matter mural, their score of 2.5 fell midway between “neutral” (2.0) and “agree” (3.0), which was not a ringing endorsement for the mural. by even the Liberal-Progressive segment of voters surveyed. As reference, a 4.0 represents "Strongly Agree."

Chart 2 (purple bars) - The second key takeaway was the breakdown (by political party) of those individuals who either Disagreed or Strongly Disagreed with the granting of the encroachment permit, but had concerns about coming forward to express their views, also measured as an intensity value. Of these individuals, with a 2.0 representing “very concerned,” Republicans scored near this value (1.8) while Independents exceeded it (2.25). As an entity, the combination of Republicans and Independents who disagreed with the city’s decision hovered around “very concerned” about publicly denouncing the mural to friends and co-workers. As reference, a 3.0 represents "Extremely Concerned."

Based on our survey results, the pool of Santa Cruz County residents objecting to the granting of the encroachment permit for the Black Lives Matter street mural appears to be much larger than the City of Santa Cruz would ever want the community to know. In fact, it's not only all Republicans (100%) rejecting the mural, but significant portions of the Libertarian (66%) and Independent (40%) voting blocks, as well.  Supporters of the Black Lives Matter mural will point to the thousands of protestors attending the Santa Cruz day rallies as evidence of community support. For those with no critical thinking skills, the inference is that these individuals are constituents of the City of Santa Cruz. But, it does not require more than a few neurons firing in unison to recognize that a significant portion of these crowds came from outside city limits. It is also well-known that many Antifa and BLM activist members will transport themselves from city to city to attend protests from outside their home cities. Whatever the composition of these crowds was, it is certainly not composed of only City of Santa Cruz residents. Thus, just as we are unable to estimate from these crowds the actual residents of Santa Cruz, neither can the city estimate it either, and the only solid source of data that embodies the honest views of city and County residents, vis-a-vis the Black Lives Matter organization and its street murals, is the FARPS survey. The residents of both the city and the County of Santa Cruz were simply gas lit by the Mayor, the City Council and the local media about the true extent of Black Lives Matter support in Santa Cruz, and many were afraid to come forward due to the climate of fear nurtured by the now-infamous kneeling photo of the Mayor of Santa Cruz and his chief of police. In such a climate, how could citizens feel comfortable speaking out with the knowledge that the city was literally bowing to this organization?

Note:  in soliciting members of the community to share their views by taking the Free Speech Project Survey, one of the many social media platforms leveraged was NextDoor. Unsurprisingly, various members of the community on NextDoor quickly attacked the survey and the intentions of the publisher. One telling comment came from a resident who asked us a very telling question: "Does your employer know what you are doing?" Such "cancel culture" threats provide direct evidence that, indeed, intimidation tactics such as these existed within the Santa Cruz community against anyone perceived as challenging the Black Lives Matter narrative and mural, confirming to us that intimidation and threats were common tactics aimed to silence opposition to the BLM movement. This type of toxic culture, unfortunately, continues to be supported and tolerated by the Liberal-Progressive community in Santa Cruz--a reflection of their local government's behavior toward its political rivals, as we shall further see.

Survey - agree with the BLM mural decisi
Survey Cropped - Concerns About Speaking

   Phase III: The "Free Speech Street Mural" Protest (12/11/2020)  

Can a police chief who wears his politics on his uniform still provide equal protections under the law when a Black Lives Matter counter-movement challenges the movement to which he bends the knee? The answer in Santa Cruz, CA, is a definite "no." On August 11, 2021, we submitted to the Santa Cruz Office of the District Attorney our criminal claims against Chief Andy Mills of the Santa Cruz police department (see Summary section below)

chief-mills-kneeling.jpg
Critical Arrest Moment.jpg
We are still scouring the internet for media photos (or videos) like this one (the organizer of the Free Speech Street Mural Protest and FARPS founder being arrested while chalk painting the mural) of the Santa Cruz Police Department apprehending Black Lives Matter rioters breaking the law, including using permanent paint to spray police headquarters (June 3-4, 2020) with graffiti, while officers maintained a self-imposed distance from the protest venue,  granting protesters carte blanche to damage public property, barricade public streets and light fires in the after-math of George Floyd's death. There seem to be no such photos or videos. SCPD certainly didn't distance itself from our friendly, non-violent protest on December 11th, when they used intervention and blunt force to shut it down, sending simultaneous police cruisers to the scene. Discrimination, double-standards, censorship and unequal treatment are routinely condoned and frequently practiced by the City of Santa Cruz against the political opponents of this far-left, "progressive" city.

TIME FRAME: December 11, 2020

In light of the denial (by delay, obstruction, misinformation, and terminating communications) by the City of Santa Cruz to allow FARPS a slot on the council's agenda to advocate for the permanent "God Bless America" street mural monument, its arrogant view that a constituent's counter-mural proposal was not "legitimate," and armed with the recent, "hot off the press," findings gleaned from the Free Speech Project Survey that a significant number of survey respondents who rejected the Black Lives Matter street mural feared repercussions if they spoke out against the mural, it became clear that a fairly large portion of the community was being left unheard on the issue of the mural. failing to secure city leader approval to establish a permanent "god Bless America" street monument (in fact, the council simply ensured that our voice would never go on the public record), by standing behind the rights of a government's choice of speech, Our voice to the timid now needed to discover a new avenue to vocalize itself in a city whose leaders were insistent on ignoring, suppressing and de-legitimizing it.  Suddenly, it became crystal clear how to send our message, both to the city and to the community at large, especially those who felt that their voices were being stifled by an emboldened and violent Black Lives Matter movement, spoon-fed and nurtured by the Mayor, City Council and Chief of Police.  We needed to show a frightened public that it was possible to come forward as an anti-movement, and that the City of Santa Cruz would be there to ensure our safety and to protect citizen rights to deliver our own public statement, just as Black Lives Matter protesters had delivered their VOICE of VIOLENCE six months earlier. For those who trivialize the power of a group of people protesting in the street as a means to communicate an impactful statement to its community, they need only to refer to the black lives matter street protests around the nation in 2020. we believed that the power of our own street protest was the opportunity to send out our counter-message, and that black lives matter did not have exclusive rights to the streets of Santa Cruz. This level of thinking lead us to realize that the most optimal, meaningful, symbolic and non-destructive solution to deliver that message came down to one particular form of protest: a temporary (Washable chalk paint) street mural in the exact location of our proposed "God Bless America" permanent street mural.This temporary street mural was to be known as the "Free Speech Mural," an expression of the unheard and the oppressed who strongly advocate for the 1st Amendment and the rights of any group, including Black Lives Matter (which they were allowed to do without police intervention), to freely express their voice, and to call out the city for ignoring the speech rights of a silent and fearful component of its constituency, as backed by the survey results. This particular protest was not a call to oust the Black Lives Matter street monument from the public square, as FARPS is a free speech organization and we encourage all peaceful voices. Rather, it was a call to be heard and recognized as a relevant constituent segment--not an illegitimate one.

 

The Free Speech Mural protest was to put an exclamation point on the statement that citizens who dissented against the Black Lives Matter mural were not being granted a safe, public forum to express their counter-opinions as constituents, and that the city was ignoring them. What took place that day, sadly, became the crux of our challenge to the limits of government speech as cited in Board of Regents, University of Wisconsin System v. Southworth. Both the City of Santa Cruz, and the Santa Cruz Police Department, drove this point home in a highly visual way by arresting the protest organizer while he was in the midst of expressing a voice of dissent through a counter-message. Given the fact that the City of Santa Cruz ceased communication with the organizer after labeling the God Bless America mural an illegitimate project, this left no avenues other than to hold a non-permit street protest to send out the dissenting voice, in the same way that Black Lives Matter supporters held illegal protests over the course of two nights in June, 2020, in front of police headquarters, that led to violence. The difference was that FARPS formally notified the Chief of Police of the planned protest, seven days before the event, via both fax and direct email to Chief Andy Mills. Unfortunately, just as the City of Santa Cruz had terminated its communication with FARPS, the same held true with the Chief of Police--there was no reply from his office. There was only silence. Therefore, given that no one from the city wished to further communicate with the organizer, from the mayor to the city manager to the city council to the Chief of Police, the only redress was for the organizer to risk proceeding with the event without a permit if he was to ever reach the community with our own highly visual street protest and counter-message to the Black Lives Matter mural--speaking out as the voice of the silent dissenters. But, the City of Santa Cruz would have none of this on that fair afternoon.

         why we protested without a permit
There are numerous permit categories issued by the City of Santa Cruz depending on the nature of the activity. As they relate to our own interactions with the city, in any normal case wherein the city had not discriminated against our organization, its projects and its protests, we would have proceeded like any other citizen or citizen group through their standard permit process. Unfortunately, the city just couldn't be fair to us.

        God Bless America Street Mural -----------> Permanent Encroachment Permit -----------------> City Council

        Free Speech Street Mural -------------------> Public Gathering & Expression Permit ------------> City Manager's Office

Two important decisions by the City of Santa Cruz effectively corrupted and modified these two permit processes when it came to working with us, lending further evidence to our claims of unequal treatment by the city vis-a-vis BLM:

  • Permanent Encroachment Permit: the City Council made the decision not to provide a platform (place the God Bless America project onto their agenda) to allow us to advocate for our project to council members, as we were recommended to do by the City Manager's Office (Ralph Dimarcut). The council simply ignored our multiple requests to be placed on their agenda. This was pure discrimination based on our message and our challenge to the monopoly that Black Lives Matter had on our city streets. In denying us the requisite forum, in either its physical or virtual (Zoom) council chambers, the city chose to exclude a constituent voice from expressing itself. So, FARPS had no other choice but to force the issue onto the streets, and to paint a symbolic mural (Free Speech mural)  in the exact location as the proposed God Bless America mural, in a peaceful and non-destructive manner, to demand that the public forum be opened to us (along with several other purposes) as it had been open to the 3rd-party organization that submitted its own plans for the Black Lives Matter mural. The city's bias and dysfunctional behavior left us no other avenue to demand equal platform access.

 

  • Public Gathering & Expression Permit: the city will argue that regardless of its decision to block us from their agenda, that we were still obligated to follow their permit procedures (unlike BLM for their June 3-4, 2020, police station protests) to hold a public gathering to paint the temporary Free Speech mural onto Church Street adjacent to the Black Lives Matter mural. Mind you, the Free Speech mural protest would have been completely unnecessary had the city given us a proper platform by placing us on the City Council agenda. Regardless of any of this, the second critical mistake made by the city that negated any adherence to its standard permit process is simply this: the city shut down communications with us as of November 4, 2020.  The City Manager's Office is responsible for issuing Public Gathering & Expression permits. Ralph Dimarcut, the Principal Management Analyst at the City Manager's Office, who was the leading actor during our eight-week slog with the city in our efforts to apply for the permanent encroachment permit, simply ceased communicating with us along with other city officials (mayor, city council, public works, etc.). Since we no longer had a viable and untainted channel to the City Manager's Office, and the well had now been poisoned within the relevant city departments, we had no other alternative than to initiate our Free Speech Mural protest without a Public Gathering & Expression permit. We were continually being boxed out by the city on so many levels--and we had finally taken enough of their silence, delays, obstacles, lies and insults. As responsible citizens, our only recourse was to notify the Chief of Police, Andy Mills, one week ahead of the protest and request SCPD support in re-routing traffic, which was, again, met with silence, this time by the Chief Mills, himself. This was a continued pattern with city officials. What prevented Chief Mills from replying that he would not be sending a couple of officers to ensure the protest was done in a safe environment? We were very clear to Chief Mills of the reason why we were protesting without a permit as the city was obstructing our request for an encroachment permit. The question is: "Did Chief Mills contact the mayor or the City Council to determine why this was happening and why our organization felt it was necessary to protest without a permit? If not, why not. If so, what was the conclusion of the discussion? Our event was clearly a counter-statement to the BLM mural as the head of the entire Santa Cruz Police Department well knew, and he chose not to even send one officer to the vicinity of the protest on December 11, simply to monitor the situation and to report back to the chief. Even more despicably, the only time that any officers did decide to show up at the venue was to arrest the organizer. Clearly, the city did not approve of our message and was willing to use force to prevent us from ever speaking out.

Permit Flowchart to City Manager Office.

Note: Even without an issued permit, our analyses below that we call "A Tale of Two Protests" is an apples-to-apples comparison between our Free Speech Mural protest and another non-permitted protest: the Black Lives Matter Police Headquarters protests on the evenings of June 3rd and 4th, 2020. Our claims still remain completely unaffected by our lack of a permit. More interestingly, as we argued immediately above, the lack of permit was directly affected by the discriminatory treatment we received, and we believe that our street protest was both just and legal due to these mitigating factors introduced through the petty biases of corrupt city leaders and its Chief of Police.

The Day Free Speech Died In Santa Cruz, CA
Free Speech Mural Protest: Proclamation Speech and Arrest Videos

On Friday, December 11, 2020, FARPS held a peaceful, free speech protest in front of the Santa Cruz Public Library, on Church Street, in downtown Santa Cruz. We were challenging the Santa Cruz City Council denying us a platform (City Council agenda position) to advocate for an encroachment permit to paint a permanent "God Bless America" mural at the site of the protest--a public counter-voice to the Black Lives Matter street mural. We issued a proclamation (see below video) to the city and notified (PDF) Chief Andy Mills of the Santa Cruz Police Department seven (7) days in advance of the event, via both fax and direct email, without the dignity of ever receiving a reply. We had previously contacted Chief Mills on his direct email in September about the "God Bless America" mural proposal, so he was aware of the context of our planned Free Speech Mural protest. Sadly, to neither of of two separate emails did Chief Mills respond, thoroughly in line with the treatment we received from city hall. Why does the office of Chief Mills provide his direct email address if he never replies to taxpayers?

email notification to Chief of Police, Andrew Mills - Dec-2-2020 - click to expand

Email-Mills-Dec-2-2020-cropped-redacted.

attached notification letter to Chief of Police, Andrew Mills - dated Nov-30-2020 - click to expand

Andy Mills Notification Letter - cropped

Errors and Omissions: Free Speech Mural Protest Notification Letter to the Chief of Police of the Santa Cruz Police Department

Certain claims are made in the Notification Letter that were incorrect at the time and we are obligated to name them here. Nevertheless, these errors have no bearing on any of the claims that we submitted to the City of Santa Cruz.

1) We point out that the protest would consist of a "one-person street protest" (the organizer). The meaning or interpretation of this decree was that only one person was to execute the mural while other participants were to remain on sidewalks, including the organizer's son who would be documenting, as well as participating in a supportive nature. Eventually, the organizer chose to allow others to participate in an impromptu and fluid manner. The point to be made is that the constitution defines an "assembly" as more than one person, which was met by the 8-12 supporters who showed up to the event per the invitation of the organizer days before the event.

2) We state that the street mural would be the expression "Free Speech." This original goal was not actually fulfilled in this fashion. While it is true that these were the words painted out on Church Street by the organizer, with the arrival of additional protesters, the organizer invited others to share in the creation of a more free form mural that allowed them to express their own personal speech expressions. As the spray paint dispensers distributed to them by the organizer were all liquid chalk (see below) that was easily washed off, there would be no damage to city property through the issuance of these dispensers to fellow protesters.

FREE SPEECH PROTEST - PROCLAMATION VIDEO
CHURCH STREET, SANTA CRUZ, DEC-11-2020

 Proclamation Speech - Download PDF

We planned to use TESTORS spray chalk (liquid chalk) that washes off with a hose. It was created primarily for children to spray on grass, sidewalks and streets for playing games like hopscotch. We specifically mentioned the use of spray chalk to Chief Mills in our letter to him. Testors' slogan is "Spray, Play and Let It Wash Away." In fact, the rain that evening nearly washed off our entire mural.

Testors Spray Chalk.jpg
Trace-Child-with-Sidewalk-Chalk.jpg

We purposely brought a garden hose kept in a nearby pickup truck in case the rains forecast that evening and weekend were not realized (it was not required). The adjacent photo is our mural on Monday morning, December 14, 2020, a little over two days after the event. Nearly all traces had washed away.

 

Watch the ARREST video. You will be enlightened by what an intolerant local government thinks of patriotic AMERICANS who love their country and respect its Constitution, and who are willing to risk going to jail to call them out. This isn't about just OUR particular speech. It is about YOUR speech, as well, whatever your side of the political aisle. Speech censorship typically begins against a target group, then eventually swallows even its own supporters. Think about this before you cast judgement on our purposes. Think about your children's future and ignore your politics. Ideas are not dangerous--only those who silence them are.

Public Enemy Number 1.png
Fair Is Fair - Girl and Chalk.png
Church Street Mural After Rain - Mon-Dec

Errors and Omissions: Proclamation Speech

Certain claims are made in the Proclamation Speech that were incorrect at the time and we are obligated to name them here. Nevertheless, these errors have no bearing on any of the claims that we submitted to the City of Santa Cruz.

1) We state that the city is illegally using art permits as a smokescreen to grant political propaganda speech to groups who share the city's ideology and suppress the speech of others in the community who do not. This statement is incorrect in this context. Although we will later see that the city does, indeed, suppress the speech of counter-messages (Free Speech Mural protest), in the case of the Black Lives Matter and God Bless America murals, the city is well within its rights to freely choose which monuments it wishes to erect and which monuments to reject (Rust v. Sullivan; Rosenberger v. Rector), as long as the city makes its choices within the restraints of government speech (Board of Regents, University of Wisconsin System v. Southworth).

2) We incorrectly reference the Supreme Court decision Police Department of the City of Chicage v. Mosley (1972) as our challenge against the city's rejection of our God Bless America street mural based on our original understanding that if a third-party could erect a street mural, then we had an equal right to share public property in a similar way. We did not (per comments (1) above). If the Black Lives Matter mural was a temporary mural only, then we would have been correct to apply the Supreme Court decision to our situation. But, due the the permanent nature of the Black Lives Matter mural, the mural becomes classified as a government monument, which gives the city the authority to reject our mural. Nevertheless, whether what we were protesting was based on an incorrect interpretation of a Supreme Court decision or not, our protest served other major purposes as well: (a) to demonstrate to a segment of the community that they were not alone in their dissension of the Black Lives Matter mural, (b) to provide encouragement to this silent and fearful segment that they, too, should come forward to express their dissent publicly and (c) that Black Lives Matter propaganda does not have a monopoly over the streets of Santa Cruz. These additional purposes for our protest were all essential components to our overall Free Speech message.

ARREST VIDEO (caution: language)
CHURCH STREET, SANTA CRUZ, DEC-11-2020
 
1. 1st Amendment Rights Violations

2. Board of regents, univ. of wisconsin system v southworth: violations of restraints placed on Government speech


When the protest began at 5:00pm on December 11, 2020, the organizer commented to a fellow protester that it seemed that the police were not going to heed the organizer's request for traffic control support that day. It was that realization that the City of Santa Cruz and its police department were in no mood to lend resources to a local counter-movement to Black Lives Matter that exacerbated the protesters' concerns of impending legal consequences against them. At that moment in time, it became clear that our small protest was standing up to the city, itself, and we knew that it was only a matter of time when police officers would soon be descending onto our venue to arrest the ringleaders, which would allow them to effectively terminate our protest. We hoped that this would not be the case, but that is precisely what took place.
 
Watch the arrest of the street mural organizer, then the protesters' and pedestrians' reactions. During the arrest, the police say nothing to the organizer about why he is under arrest. They do not tell him that this is an unlawful assembly. They do not tell him that he is obstructing traffic. They do not tell him that this is vandalism. They do not tell him anything. He is simply interrupted and restrained from continuing to express his speech rights in the form of a washable street mural, cuffed, placed into a police cruiser and removed from the venue. Even some passerby's found this sudden arrest and sudden removal of the organizer from the venue highly abnormal. As is common in nearly any arrest by the Santa Cruz Police Department, including arrests of the homeless, lengthy dialogues between the parties takes place as the police gather information, question the person(s) of interest, and collect evidence and witness statements. Not in our case. The goal was obviously to halt this protest in the most expedient way possible. No questions, no statements, no evidence collection--nothing more than the efficient, expedient and silent arrest of the organizer to ensure that the flame of the protesters' counter-movement was quickly doused with water and had little chance of ever reaching the community. The organizer didn't even have a moment to explain the garden hose in the nearby truck, to be used after the event to remove the last traces of the mural if the rains had not yet arrived. Yet, such information would have made it more difficult for the Santa Cruz Police Department to remove the organizer from the venue, which was the city's desired purpose for his arrest.

This form of speech suppression (intimidation, humiliation, physical restraint, incarceration) of a constituent's counter-voice by a local government meets the conditions of a "restraint" placed on government speech, as expressed in the Supreme Court case Board of Regents, University of Wisconsin System v. Southworth. As such,we are in the opinion that the City of Santa Cruz can no longer stand behind the protections of government speech in the case of the Black Lives Matter street mural monument.

3. Equal Protections Clause of the 14th Amendment Violations

The Equal Protections Clause of the 14th Amendment was established to address scenarios such as this: discrimination and unequal treatment of a political minority voice in the exercising of its Civil Rights. Watching the previous arrest video should alarm the free-thinking citizen, no matter his/her/their political affiliation(s). It is the dramatic embodiment of Orwell's "1984" in its unimaginable form. Why? Contrast this with how police around the nation, and in Santa Cruz, CA, in particular, bent the knee to "mostly peaceful protests,"  when the police walked away from their public responsibility to protect citizens and public property, as Democratic mayors and governors told them to do. Appeasing the mob while punishing responsible, peaceful citizens using a different set of standards significantly breaches the rights of the weak to fair and equal protections established under the Equal Protections Clause. Yet, those rights have been ignored and actively dismantled by Progressive leadership in the City of Santa Cruz.

The Brave New World is upon us, folks!!! See you in the Gulags.

A Tale of Two Protests Chart.png
Click to Expand

apples-to-apples: On the nights of June 3rd and 4th, 2020, in front of the Santa Cruz Police station at 155 Center Street, Santa Cruz, with nationwide tensions already high between BLM activists and police forces after George Floyd's death (May 28, 2020) as evidenced by clashes on the streets and the burning down of multiple police stations around the country, with police agencies around the nation on heightened alert, including those in Santa Cruz, CA, with security cameras around the perimeter of the Santa Cruz police station, with the Mayor of Santa Cruz at the scene each evening for these impromptu gatherings literally begging the protestors not to damage the police station (“I really just want to say that if you’re our ally then you’re not out here destroying the police station"), where protestors had formed human barricades on Center Street, immediately in front of the station, to block traffic, with all of this information, concerns and precautions established and in place, how could Black Lives Matter protesters still manage to vandalize various portions of the main police station building, a window on the property, as well as public sidewalks directly in front of the station? Why were officers ordered to stay at a distance from the protestors? Why weren't officers intervening at the scene to protect public property when crimes (illegal barricading of public streets, lighting fires on public streets, noise ordinance infractions, vandalizing public property, mischievous conduct, etc.) were clearly being committed in full view of them? Why did Chief Mills and Mayor Cummings kneel in allegiance to Black Lives Matter protestors during an earlier protest on May 30, 2020? Why, four days later, did Chief Mills describe the vandalism to his own police station as "minor acts of vandalism," providing cover to the violators for their actions, as if the damage was inconsequential and that laws could be skirted?  How many of these political vandals were identified, apprehended, handcuffed and hauled off on the spot to the county jail by the Santa Cruz Police Department? Our guess, for now, is ZERO. Only a thorough scouring of police arrest reports on the nights of June 3rd and 4th will be able to put to rest the question of whether or not the city simply allowed the destruction of public property to take place without police intervention and without arrests. In a telling comment to the media, Chief Andy Mills stated the lack of visible police presence and intervention was a reflection of the department’s support for protest and its practice of community policing. “Our crowd management theory is that people have the absolute right to protest and to be heard loudly,” Mills said Friday. “That means we stay out of sight as much as possible and allow people to do the thing without interference from the police." Is Chief Mills suggesting that a large, menacing and violent (as seen) crowd engaged in various illegal behaviors somehow deserves a different legal code than the rest of us when it comes to how he enforces the law?

 

(https://www.santacruzsentinel.com/2020/06/05/santa-cruz-mayor-once-again-speaks-with-police-station-protesters-late-into-the-night/).

Compare and contrast this passive treatment of the Black Lives Matter Police Headquarters protesters to the unequal treatment dosed out to the FARPS organizer of the Free God Bless America Mural Project and Speech Street Mural protest leading up to, and during, the December 11, 2020, event: (a) the complete shutdown of communication between the City of Santa Cruz (November 4, 2020) and the Santa Cruz Police Department (December 11, 2020) versus the inordinate amount of time spent by Mayor Cummings attending Black Lives Matter rallies and protester gripe sessions on multiple occasions, (b) the lack of police support that was requested a week before the Free Speech Mural protest to prevent dangerous vehicle encounters with the mural painters versus the on-scene traffic control support at all Black Lives Matter events (both permitted and illegal), and (c) the prompt interference and termination of an active protest by the Santa Cruz Police Department, with multiple police cruisers called to the scene to overtake the venue and to terminate activities by immediately arresting, cuffing and removing the organizer from the venue, when it was well known to the Chief of Police as to the date, time and duration of the event, the request for traffic control, and the washable nature of the chalk paint that was to be used for the mural.

 

More telling, the above media quote by Chief Mills, that "our crowd management theory is that people have the absolute right to protest and to be heard loudly. That means we stay out of sight as much as possible and allow people to do the thing without interference from the police," was exactly the opposite of what the Santa Cruz Police Department did at the December 11, 2020, Free Speech Street Mural protest, with multiple vehicles on the scene and the termination of speech via the arrest of the organizer for putting chalk on the street. Does the fact that our smaller crowd size (8-12) of peaceful protesters somehow warrant a harsher treatment and stricter enforcement policies by the Santa Cruz Police Department by way of venue intervention, arrest and protest termination over the treatment of a larger, menacing and violent mob that is permitted to complete its protest without the arrest of its organizers? Would this not be akin to mob rule and the disintegration of our system of laws? The answer is "yes," of course. Given the fact that the nature of our protest, the washable paint to be used and our request for traffic control, were all transmitted directly (fax & email) to the Chief of Police seven days in advance of our protest, shouldn't this have played a considerable role in how the officers reacted to our protest? Are we now to send four police cruisers to handcuff and arrest a child for drawing hopscotch squares on a public sidewalk? The "damage" done by our mural was no damage at all (as the rains had washed it away that evening), and was a trivial inconvenience to the city when held up to the real damage done to the Santa Cruz police station and at least one attempted assault with a deadly weapon of a Santa Cruz resident by non-resident Black Lives Matter agitators. Those individuals received the benefit of the doubt, apparently, and were allowed to openly violate a multitude of laws while flaunting their "get out of jail free" cards to the feckless officers held at bay by their own chief and his boss, the mayor.  Without question, the two protests were treated not only inequitably, but unfairly, and with discriminatory intent by the City of Santa Cruz and the Santa Cruz Police Department, clearly violating the organizer's 1st amendment and 14th amendment (equal protection) rights. In short, one protest was ideologically-aligned to the City of Santa Cruz while the other was an attack against it. The city's leadership had chosen political allegiances over a resident's Bill of Rights protections...and simply figured that no one would notice. Yet the courts still often side with city officials no matter what their wrongdoing, and that is why the system is, indeed, broken.

chief-mills-kneeling.jpg
BLM Protest Vandalism - SCPD Station - J
police station protest - santa cruz - ju
cropped - blm protestors block center st

THE TRUTH COMES OUT

In a series of three compelling videos on YouTube, taken on the evening of June 3, 2020, a Santa Cruz resident, Scott Ballard, explains what was really going on at the evening protests. This particular protest was in front of the Clock Tower in downtown Santa Cruz, apparently before the mob moved the protest to the police station. Obviously an illegal (not permitted) protest, Scott was filming the events and was nearly attacked by a man yielding a knife. Where are the police? But, read Scott's statement (adjacent text) that accompanies each of his three YouTube videos. This was a very emotional series of events and we feel for him. Yet, this is what the city of Santa Cruz and the Santa Cruz Police Department were intent on hiding from its residents: the real truth about the organization and the movement that sends activists into our neighborhoods to attack its residents for not complying with whatever rules they establish for our streets. Scott references not only someone threatening him with a knife, but also indicates that other participants were carrying sticks. None of this ever got reported in the media. Of course not. But, in our opinion, as an organization that already bent the knee (literally) to Black Lives Matter, a police report would have only ended up in the Santa Cruz Police Department's circular file. In fact, how many of the protesters were arrested and charged with crimes that evening? Our guess is zero. We won't be reaching out to Scott until we file our case as this might be considered witness tampering. We expect the city of Santa Cruz to abide by the same rules, but we aren't holding our breath.

Watch All Three Videos (Parts 1, 2, 3)

https://youtu.be/nkIU-p3Uddg

https://youtu.be/nmCfeYdBklY

https://youtu.be/OuAcsvnmcWc

Mr. Ballard's Eyewitness Testimony of the Events

<Mr. Ballard proclaims himself as a supporter of the BLM movement>

"It's hard to know what to say. I'm sure someone will attack me for sharing these videos. It's quite disturbing and disgusting - that people supposedly exercising their human rights are the ones trying to take mine away. I'm not totally sure, but I think that's fascism... The whole host of people pushing on us and chasing me away - were not from here. They came just to start trouble. You can see as I walk up that they are already beginning to be violent with the guy on the bike. In the second video you can hear the same guy who chased me 30 feet away - you can hear him more understanding and even apologizes to me for the misunderstanding and now could you please calm your friend down. I'll say again - The dude that was about to fight me and take my camera away - was apologizing for the misunderstanding. Thing is, I didn't even know the guy who was helping me. He happened to come to my aid and also happened to live downtown. It's funny to me that I am dealing with what seem to be almost completely caucasian folks and that the 2 people that actually come to help, or make sure I'm ok - are African American. The only 2 black folks I see. Also - If you are doing some shit that you aren't proud of - then don't do it. All these people saying they won't protest if they are seen on tv, or that they will be targeted by police. It so happened and my bad - that I ran out of my apartment in a hurry and forgot my mask and am literally the only person without one. But most of these folks pushing on us were separate from the rest of the protest and all covering their faces. I think would have covered their faces regardless, because they are ashamed and, or not sure about what they are doing. Are they plants? Are they Professionals? Did they get their job on craigslist? Whatever the answers are, their actions are a great way to alienate people like me from the movement. Maybe that was their goal? I'm not sure anymore... This is Santa Cruz."

RECKLESS DRIVING / DRIVER INTIMIDATION VIDEO

FREE SPEECH MURAL PROTEST, CHURCH STREET, SANTA CRUZ, DEC-11-2020

4. Neglect of Duty - Santa cruz police dept; Chief Andrew Mills

Chief Mills not only chose to ignore our letter stating the details of our December 11, 2020, street protest, but he also chose not to reply to us for additional information or to reference the lack of a permit and the reasons why. He also had earlier background as to the God Bless America mural project proposal in an email we delivered to him in September, 2020, and was certainly aware that our Church Street street mural protest in front of the Santa Cruz Public Library was adjacent to the Black Lives Matter mural. If Chief Mills decided to minimize our "one-person street protest" on such a potentially explosive topic such as ours, then he would have also been ignoring page 15 of his department's "Crowd Management Operations Plan" (https://www.cityofsantacruz.com/home/showpublisheddocument/83809/637545357461870000) which addresses "Impromptu Events" as those which "often picks up people along the way who see commonality," for which our protest did. And, certainly one should not overlook the evidence of Chief Mills kneeling to Black Lives Matter protesters in late May, 2020, during the Santa Cruz protests and, as such, his allegiance to Black Lives Matter. In fact, Santa Cruz police officers are called upon regularly to oversee non-permitted protests, and often provide services to ensure that the protesters are safe. This occurred at the June 3 / June 4, 2020, clock tower and police headquarters protests of Black Lives Matter, whose organizers didn't notify the SCPD of its formation. So, given our detailed letter of notification about our protest, our lack of permit due to the city's illegal action (Civil Rights violations in denying us a platform on the city council agenda to advocate for the God Bless America mural; unmentioned was the City Manager's Office, responsible for Public Gathering permits, shutting off communications with us on November 4, 2020), our request for resources to re-route traffic, and the potential for crowd growth at our event, why did Chief Mills stay silent? Did he speak anyone about the letter? Did he discuss the letter with the mayor's office? Why or why not? Why did Chief Mills not heed a formal letter sent directly to him by a resident, and at least send one officer to oversee the activities of a potentially explosive activity? The answer is: Neglect of Duty, in its purest form. This silence and dismissal of our letter of notification also lead to the false arrest and imprisonment of the organizer of the Free Speech Mural protest, as officers arriving on the scene: (a) had not been informed that its chief was notified of the event a week in advance, (b) did not know and did not inquiry about the washable nature of the paint, and (c) did not inquire whether the protesters were intending to wash of the chalk paint at the end of the event. This strange behavior by the Chief of Police was fully in line with how the mayor, the city council, the City Manager's Office and Public Works had treated our organization for over eight weeks, silence, delays, the denunciation  our movement as illegitimate (Public Works), and, finally, turning off communications with us on November 4th. It was all a concerted effort to shut our movement and our public message down, risk our safety and smear our organization's reputation by arresting its organizer.

5. reckless endangerment Violations - Santa cruz police dept; Chief Andrew Mills

CA Criminal code, section 53a-63. Reckless endangerment in the first degree: Class A misdemeanor. (a) A person is guilty of reckless endangerment in the first degree when, with extreme indifference to human life, he recklessly engages in conduct which creates a risk of serious physical injury to another person.

 

On May 30th, 2020, in response to the first Black Lives Matter protest in Santa Cruz, the Santa Cruz Police Department tweeted:

              "SCPD is fully supportive of peaceful protests and we always keep them safe." Chief Andy Mills

Santa Cruz Police Department officers were present (and ordered to maintain a distance from the protesters) during the impromptu, violent, June 3-4, police headquarters protests by Black Lives Matter supporters, who assuredly implemented crowd control procedures to re-route traffic away from the venue (this will be proven from police records, transcripts of dispatch calls, etc.). Yet, the Santa Cruz Police Department certainly did NOT follow through to ensure that the Free Speech Street Mural protest was kept safe, even when the organizer reached out to the Chief of Police, Andy Mills, a week before the event, requesting traffic control. Whatever his defense may be, Chief Mills was clearly informed (faxed and direct emailed) ahead of time of the protest's day, time and purpose. This was all purposely ignored by Chief Mills, who displayed greater concern for the Black Lives Matter protestors remaining safe during both their legal and illegal (and violent) protests in Santa Cruz, even in front of his own police station--where street access to the public was barricaded by protesters, where open flag burning was the norm, where noise ordinances were freely broken, and where a public building and its environs were vandalized. Yet, there was no such concern for the street painters of the Free Speech Mural, who were forced to dodge the vehicles of angry motorists who were not informed of the washable nature of the mural and why a group of people was impeding their path, a group reinforced by flag-waving fellow patriots on the sidewalks. Although we do still consider ourselves "agile" to some degree, the entire mural painting exercise was all about keeping one eye on the task at hand, and another on the on-coming traffic. Such a combination produced a high-level of anxiety, especially when one particular driver exhibited aggressive behavior in her automobile, which caused the protest organizer to later seek a psychiatric visit (Kaiser) to discuss concerns that the high post-event stress he was experiencing were the early-stage symptoms of PTSD.

 

The constant interference and interactions with vehicles only made the delivery of our goals less attainable by burdening our ability to send a clear and unambiguous message to our community as a direct result of the city's behavior in ignoring our request for traffic control. The Santa Cruz Police Department was significantly LESS THAN INTERESTED in committing resources to OUR PARTICULAR PROTEST, a peaceful protest, whatever its merits in their view, with a blatant dereliction of duty for protecting the safety of the flag-carrying Americans in attendance. In short, this was none other than a serious criminal act (reckless endangerment in the first degree) on the part of the Santa Cruz Chief of Police and a violation of the Free Speech Mural protesters' equal protection rights under the law. Meanwhile, the Black Lives Matter protesters had no such encumbrances.

In the same egregious way, in their review of our police report (Dec-16-2020), the Santa Cruz Police Department determined that there was no crime committed in the video of a altercation between the driver of a vehicle and the protest organizer (see video below). SCPD chose to neither site nor even warning this driver of any wrongdoing, even with their license plate number identified in our report. As SCPD does not consider this a crime, we released the video onto our website. In issuing our report, we specifically pointed out and reminded the Desk Sergent of the recent (Dec-12-2020: one day after our own protest) catastrophe in Manhattan of a woman driving her vehicle into 50 Black Lives Matter protestors, and that attacks of this nature were on the rise. This seemed insignificant and unimportant to the Sergent. We also used the analogy of the person in the street being a child or a homeless person under the influence, but apparently a driver honking aggressively and yelling at the protestors from inside her vehicle, coming to a stop, then revving her engine and sputter-accelerating toward the organizer, continuing to attempt to pass within inches of the organizer and stopping only when she was blocked off by another mural painter, then veering around while screeching off is considered safe driving in downtown Santa Cruz. When you have a two-ton vehicle bearing down on you, you pretty much recognize when a police report becomes a necessity. "NOTHING TO SEE HERE, FOLKS," according to the Santa Cruz Police Department!!! Contrast this video with the driver behavior in the BMW from the Arrest video. Homeless persons and parents of young children beware. Anyone carrying an American flag--be especially on alert. Do NOT expect to safely protest in the City of Santa Cruz. SCPD considers your life expendable.They are officially compromised and only protect a certain political class.

6. false arrest / False imprisonment Violations - Santa cruz police dept; Chief Andrew Mills

CA Penal Code 236 PC. Under this code section, false imprisonment is “the unlawful violation of the personal liberty of another.” The commission of the crime means that one person restrains, detains, or confines another person without his/her consent. The crime can be committed with or without force or violence.

Lastly, in arresting the organizer, the Santa Cruz Police Department committed false arrest (4th Amendment violation) and imprisonment using force on the Free Speech Protest organizer on bogus vandalism charges when it was known by the Chief of Police, Andrew Mills, one week prior to the Free Speech Mural protest as to the nature of the washable, liquid chalk paint to be used in the mural. In addition, and of equal importance, none of the arresting officers on the scene of the protest asked even one direct question to the organizer about the nature of the paint and whether the protesters planned to clean off the street mural at the termination of the protest, either during or after the arrest sequence, including in the police station parking lot where the organizer had been transported, and where the citation was issued. The arresting officers failed to offer the organizer even one opportunity to explain the conditions established for the protest, that the Chief of Police, Andrew Mills, was notified of the event and the nature of the paint seven days earlier, and that either the imminent rains or the backup hose stored in a nearby truck, which was to serve to clean up the mural in the case the rains did not arrive by the end of the protest scheduled for 5:00pm, were to erase the mural upon the termination of the protest. 

Some final questions bear further investigation and analyses:

  • Can the City of Santa Cruz allow, support and lend resources to one form of political protest while denying, interfering, encumbering and terminating another protest that expresses a political and social counter-view that challenges the city's dominant political ideology, goals and affiliations?

 

  • Who anointed Mayor Cummings to the status of a Black Lives Matter cheerleader, community messenger and head activist at the scene of the June 3-4 Police Headquarters protests (“If this is the way that we can bring about peace in our community, and really get the message across to our community that Black Lives Matter, in Santa Cruz, is not trying to create a violent situation — then if I have to go out every night and stay out until one in the morning, I’m prepared to do it.")? This is not simply Mayor Cummings trying to manage a crowd of potential rioters fed up with so-called police injustice, but rather a case of the mayor acting as a public relations conduit to the local community and chief advisor to the local Black Lives Matter movement (and organization) by delivering instructions on how to act in order to preserve its public image. Why didn't Mayor Cummings speak generically about why violence in the community served little purpose and was not tolerated in any way, independent of the particular audience to whom he was speaking. Why call out the Black Lives Matter movement by name, rather than to act in the role of wise old teacher to the young,protesters and activists in the audience, warning them that violence would only harm the image of their movement and, by extension, the national organization, which he was so eager to preserve and extend onto the streets of Santa Cruz and to establish a special calendar month? Indeed, why did the Black Lives Matter protesters need any help whatsoever in how to deliver their own message to the community? Wasn't it their message, and not the message of the city's mayor?

  • Why did the Santa Cruz Police Department remain at a distance from the protestors when clear and obvious cases of breaking the law (assembly without a permit, fires on public streets, noise ordinance violations, graffiti, breaking windows, barricading public streets, etc.) were taking place right before their eyes? The answer: bad optics. As we just pointed out, the Mayor was intent on manufacturing and nurturing a positive public image of the Black Lives Matter movement in his city. Police intervention to arrest law-breaking individuals and citing them would have only confirmed to the public the destructive and violent nature of the protest movement. So, Chief Mills, whether under orders from the mayor or on his own accord, held back his force and allowed the mob to break city laws freely.

 

“... we stay out of sight as much as possible and allow people to do the thing without interference from the police."

Furthermore, when the time came to admit that protesters actually damaged his headquarters due to media photos, Chief Mills brushed it all aside with his now infamous phrase: "minor acts of vandalism." This was nothing short of efforts to preserve the image and the Black Lives Matter movement as peaceful, and the national organization that managed it.

 

All of these advantages were given to the Black Lives Matter protesters of June 3-4, but none were given to the Free Speech Mural protesters on December 11. Why? We know why!

 

In our compare-and-contrast analyses that we have dubbed A Tale of Two Protests, we see 180 degree mistreatment from Mayor Cummings with the God Bless America mural project and the Free Speech Mural protest. We weren't asking Mayor Cummings to act as our counselor, or even as our public promoter. We were simply asking the mayor for a moment of his time to consider all aspects of the God Bless America mural. That, he simply could not do for us. He ignored us in an attempt to shut us down. So did the Santa Cruz City Council. In fact, no one on the council ever responded once to our multiple inquiries? And, as we eventually learned after weeks of asking, it was the City Council which started the process of a street mural permit approval through a single member sponsorship. Yet, no council member ever even replied to us and there was never even a joint statement made as to any decision. Not one--except Mayor Cummings, who only lead us down another wild goose chase by telling us that the process began with an Arts Commission approval. This bit of misdirection was unusual to say the least, given that it was only in late June that the City Council approved of the Black Lives Matter street mural, with Mayor Cummings, himself, acting in the role of sponsor, and our inquiries to the city came in September, only three months later. Why was the mayor ignoring us and giving us false information to discourage our pursuit of a permit for the God Bless America street mural? The answer is that Mayor Cummings is an integral part of the Black Lives Matter movement. Yet, in his official role, Mayor Cummings needed to set aside his own biases and defense of his personal ideology to ensure that his city offered a safe speech platform for ALL community members, where contrary voices could rise up and challenge his own movement, as a government leader is obligated to do under the US Constitution and the 1st Amendment. This would have avoided the now-obvious conflict of interest, as the city chose to play unfairly with the counter-movement and by shutting down their voices. Mayor Cummings (and the City Council) was not about to allow challengers to the Black Lives Matter movement, and he deployed the available government resources at his disposable to do so, including the Santa Cruz Police Department, in order to silence his movement's critiques or suppress public debate. The extreme bias of the mayor between the two messages is one thing. Using every tactic the city could deploy to silence the organizer of the "God Bless America" Project and the "Free Speech Mural" protest is quite another thing. Denying a safe and equitable forum for the FARPS organizer to send his own "message to the community," and using physical force against a pre-announced peaceful protest that left no damage to the city, is a clear denial of a constituent voice that constitutes a "restraint" on government speech--an infringement of the basic axiom to be  "accountable to the electorate," as set forth by Board of Regents, University of Wisconsin System v. Southworth, which would effectively revoke the city of Santa Cruz's government speech rights to be authorized to issue a permanent encroachment permit (monument status) to a third-party organization to erect and maintain, in perpetuity, the Black Lives Matter mural. If the actions of the city of Santa Cruz and the Santa Cruz Police Department do not represent a valid restraint that should void the government speech rights of the city in the case of the Black Lives Matter street mural, then else does.

If any treatment meets the criteria of a city using its position of authority to excessively advocate for one movement, while depriving resources from and publicly smearing a small counter-movement, this case would be just that--a legal instance for why the Supreme Court placed this restraint into the language of its case decision Board of Regents, University of Wisconsin System v. Southworth (public officials’ involvement in advocacy may be limited by law, regulation, or practice)--and the City of Santa Cruz is its newest poster child.

A Tale of Two Protests is a case study in how city's bend laws to appease one protest group (the "mob") that threatens violence and espouses a political ideology that aligns with the particular elected representatives in power, while a smaller, peaceful protest group which operates as a counter-movement to that ideology is quickly suppressed under stricter, more disproportionate interpretations and applications of the law. Such unequal treatment is only meant to send a clear message to political opponents. This is precisely what took place in the City of Santa Cruz, where ideas that challenged the false narratives and Marxist' solutions of the Black Lives Matter movement were shut down by deploying the tools of the police state, amounting to our major claims against the City of Santa Cruz and the Santa Cruz Police Department: (a) government suppression of constituent voices (turning off city communications with the organizer, stating that the "God Bless America" mural was not a "legitimate" project, shutting down the "Free Speech Mural" alternative message platform using police force to restrain and arrest the organizer in the middle of exercising his voice to the community that attempted to germinate a counter-voice to the Black Lives Matter street mural monument (violation of restraints established under Board of Regents, University of Wisconsin System v. Southworth), (b) violating the free speech rights of a fearful and unheard constituent segment (1st Amendment's Free Speech Clause) by intimidating and disbanding the Free Speech Street Mural protest and arresting its organizer, and (c) denying a constituent segment equal protections under the law (14th Amendment's Equal Protections Clause) by granting favorable treatment to the Black Lives Matter protestors at the police headquarters rallies (June 3-4) and providing material police support to ensure that only Black Lives Matter protestors were safe from vehicular traffic, remaining at a distance from protestors when clear violations of the law were taking place, not intervening to arrest protestors vandalizing public property at police headquarters by using permanent paint to graffiti an outdoor marquee, public sidewalks and glass windows at the station, and acting as a public relations conduit for the Black Lives Matter movement and, by implication, Black Lives Matter, Inc.

SECTION 1983 and qualified immunity

A Section 1983 lawsuit against "state government employees" (which include municipal employees) is a federal civil rights lawsuit as part of Title 42 of the United States Code (42 U.S.C. § 1983). It can be filed by an entity whose civil rights have been violated. The victim can file the lawsuit if the wrongdoer was acting “under color of law.” In short, section 1983 gives an individual or organization the right to privately sue a city official doing their job in a public capacity that violated the civil rights of an individual or an organization.

 

Oftentimes, state actors will leverage a defense called "qualified immunity" to disassociate themselves, often effectively, from a possible lawsuit. Qualified immunity is a legal doctrine that protects government officials from lawsuits seeking monetary damages. The doctrine applies when officers or other government employees are exercising discretion in their official capacity.

Victims can argue that immunity does not apply. To do this, one would have to show two prongs:

  1. their constitutional rights were violated, and

  2. those rights were so clearly established that a reasonable officer / reasonable official would have known he/she committed the constitutional violation

 

Only by overcoming the qualified immunity defense can a victim recover monetary damages.

Police or government employees cannot invoke the qualified immunity doctrine if they violated a right that was clearly established. It has to be clearly established at the time of the violation.

What makes a constitutional right “clearly established” is up for debate.The Supreme Court has made conflicting statements about it. At best, the court has provided a general rule of thumb. A right is clearly established if a police officer had fair notice of it. For example, we were absolutely clear in our letter to Chief Mills delivered one week before our Free Speech Mural protest that impeding or penalizing us would be a violation of our 1st Amendment rights, yet the Chief of Police was unfazed by this notification and arrested the organizer anyways.

California law largely follows federal law for qualified immunity. But arguably there is no qualified immunity for California police officers accused of false arrest or imprisonment. And unlike federal law, California law places the burden on police to justify a false arrest or imprisonment.

In our case, we plan on exercising a section 1983 claim and prove that qualified immunity does not apply to both the former Mayor of Santa Cruz, Justin Cummings, and the current Chief of Police, Andy Mills. One of the charges against Chief Mills, False Arrest and Imprisonment, is not protected through immunity and the burden of innocence is placed on Chief Mills' defense. But, we don't want to tip our hand to the city's attorneys at this time, so we'll just say that we plan on suing both of these individuals in Federal Court for Civil Rights violations...and we think we'll win both...and justice will be served on these political hacks as a warning to other city leaders not to suppress to speech of a political minority.

    PHASE Iv: office of the santa cruz County district attorney  

Why Are We protesting the Santa Cruz county district attorney

Both the Santa Cruz Police Department and the Santa Cruz District Attorney turned up the burners when two Santa Cruz County youths posted of Facebook live stream showing the boys peeling out in a pick up truck on the Black Lives Matter street mural monument on Center Street, in front of city hall. From the moment of the crime on July 27, 2021, the city immediately ran to battle stations. From the irresponsible and slanderous accusations of racism within hours of the event, without any evidence, by the Mayor of Santa Cruz, to the verbal shaming of Santa Cruz residents by the Chief of Police, Andy Mills, who did not interpret the events from his perspective, to the dispatch of four, plain-clothes, armed investigators from either the Santa Cruz Police Department, Office of the District Attorney, or FBI within 10 days of the event to survey to crime scene in a rancid display of a lynching mob, to the invitation to the local media such that the city leaders' statements would reach the national audience, there is certainly something that stinks here. Given that our own criminal claims against the Chief of Police, himself, have been ignored for over a month by the District Attorney should concern all free-thinking residents. So, as has always been the solution when the City of Santa Cruz tries to shut us down and silence us, we only get louder. So, we made it quite clear to the Office of the District Attorney that we will proceed with a weekly protest video at their front counter until the victim of an overzealous and politicized Chief of Police receives the justice he deserves (see our criminal claims, above, in the summary section).

DA Protest #1 - Sep-16-2021

On September 30, 2021, the lead inspector at the Office of the District Attorney, Katrina Rogers, responded to our criminal claims claiming "insufficient evidence," and providing us with no details as to how she had drawn these conclusions. In our opinion, she ignored our very detailed and documented evidence with a simple stroke of her pen. This officially terminated the "Free Speech Project" after more than a year of engagements with various actors employed or contracted by the city.

Audit - Part 3 Header.png

The Supreme Court case decisions referenced throughout this material rely on a civic government to provide citizens with an environment to express opinions safely and freely to gauge public opinion in order to effectively map those voices into a particular government speech. Elected officials cannot and should not simply subscribe to what they want to see and hear according to the own political biases and alignments. With Black Lives Matter activists and supporters marching en masse and damaging public property in Santa Cruz, the citizenry understood the repercussions of standing up and speaking out against a dangerous, tyrannical organization that hid under the cover of earnest resident concerns shocked by the George Floyd incident. Nevertheless, these landmark Supreme Court cases require, at a minimum, that a government solicit and recognize a consensus of its constituents before leveraging its rights to government speech and delivering its public statement in the form of a monument. The Santa Cruz City Council seized the moment within the first weeks by approving Black Lives Matter emblems and special days of recognition before the public came to realize the falsity of many of media claims against Derek Chauvin, and just days after violence took place on the streets of Santa Cruz. A city cannot simply stamp its personal ideologies onto permanent monuments that residents must pass by each day in derision. The voice of the constituency cannot simply be measured by the size of a protest crowd whose composition included members of communities residing outside the boundaries of that government's scope. Additionally, when the government does not establish a safe and nurturing environment that allows a proper reflection a populace's opinion rather than that of an amorphous mob's and, further, when that government demonstrates on its own accord its intention to directly suppress dissenting voices via the forces of the police state in order to advance its particular will onto the people, such acts only reinforce the notion that citizens who consider coming forward to speak frankly have only painful consequences awaiting them. Meanwhile, by providing city resources (police protection, no legal punishment for lawbreakers, co-funding of marketing slogans on the streets, cheer-leading and counseling directly for an organization to obtain community buy-in and give other special treatments to those who amplify the government's message while denying those same resources and introducing encumbrances to constituents with counter-movements and counter-messages, while punishing those who attempt to express them, indeed, such behaviors greatly surpass the thresholds placed on government speech that Board of Regents, University of Wisconsin System v. Southworth warn us against. When such a point is reached in our society, government speech is no longer the expression of the people's will, but that of a brutal, intolerant, and authoritarian monster.

Black lives do matter--but, so do the lives of every American--whatever the degree of melanin in their skin. FARPS will always stand up against racism in its various forms and appearances, although we strongly disagree that systemic racism and widespread white supremacy exists today in America. That's simply more gaslighting by the Left meant to further divide and weaken our great nation, and to convince the Black community that their side offers them the protection they will need against whites. FARPS continues to subscribe to the teachings of the late, great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (character, not skin color; peaceful protests). At this point, the question becomes: who in Santa Cruz decided that Black Lives Matter was the only voice in charge of extinguishing this phantom racism, based on false narratives of racists police killing innocent black men, and the use of violence in the streets as the only answer? Who put Mayor Justin Cummings in charge of sending the Santa Cruz community a message that Black Lives Matter is not a violent organization? The Democrat Party, of course. How many Americans actually support violence for change? Democrats (the Left) have always been a blight to America. The words of Malcom X continue to ring truer than ever today: The worst enemy that the Negro have is this white man that runs around here drooling at the mouth professing to love Negros and calling himself a liberal, and it is following these white liberals that has perpetuated problems that Negros have." Just because an organization's slogan and emblem are purposely designed to be unassailable does not mean that the organization itself cannot be fraught with disingenuous and nefarious characters and purposes. Black Lives Matter is a tool of the Left to soak up campaign funds for the Democrat party, and to threaten peaceful Americans who dare to disagree with its orthodoxy, the Left's policies and the Left's candidates. It's as simple as that. Many Americans are simply too gullible and have consumed too much mainstream media to scratch the surface of a violent political weapon that has the veneer of a soft, warm puppy. We've  now seen that facade cracking with the multiple, multi-million dollar home purchases of Black Lives Matter co-founder, Patrisse Khan-Cullor, an avowed Marxist and head swindler for the movement. For those Americans still in denial, you'll fit right in here in the City of Santa Cruz. For the rest of us, Black, white, yellow, brown, and red, who are more interested in facts over fiction when it comes to solutions to racial issues, we remain the true hope for America's future, and the Black community is beginning to awaken to that fact, to the sheer horror of the Democrat party. As Joe Biden nostalically remarked in the run-up to the 2020 Presidential Election "if you have a problem figuring out whether you're for me or Trump, then you ain't black." Come to think of it, we couldn't have come up with a better phrase than this one to prove that the Democrat Plantation is still alive and well in 2021 (and beyond). Thanks, Joe!

Exercising government speech to erect a Black Lives Matter street monument is well within the rights of the City of Santa Cruz. FARPS has no issue with that, as we encourage and support free speech expressions, even government speech. At issue is the city's unequal treatment between the voices it supports and the voices it rejects. Providing Black Lives Matter protesters, and by association, Black Lives Matter, Inc., a group tightly aligned with the Democrat party, with material (traffic control) and media / public relations support (kneeling to protestors on camera, using softened language to minimize the extent of vandalism crimes, distancing police from protestors at police headquarters and not intervening onto the venue when obvious lawbreaking (barricading Center Street, burning flags, noise ordinances, window breaking, etc.) was clearly taking place, not detaining or issuing citations to vandals, flag burners or street obstructionists, counseling protestors to preserve a positive community image of Black Lives Matter by rejecting violence), while then applying a completely different set of rules and enforcement policies to the God Bless America movement and the Free Speech Mural protesters, denying resources that hampered the movement's capacity to effectively protest, smearing the image of the movement in a written statement and with police intimidation in a public area and, the piece-de-resistance of Civil Rights debauchery, arresting their organizer to prevent the counter-movement's message to be delivered to the community on December 11, 2020. This complete betrayal of our elected officials' responsibility to its Constitutional obligations is the most vile, the most guttural and the most despicable form of dirty politics that any elected official can play at the local level. The actions of the city, along with its complicit Chief of Police, reflect a conscious application of Civil Rights abuses and misuses of the powers of government yielded to them by its constituency--an unchecked form of authoritarianism at the local government level. If such a dual legal system is allowed to perpetuate without any checks, the obvious result is tyranny and the suppression of a weaker political class by a more powerful, antagonistic and dominant one that manages the levers of power and control. The suppression of the Free Speech Street Mural protest on December 11, 2020, will go down as a dark day, when free speech in Santa Cruz officially ceased to exist.

Audit - Part 4 Header.png

A few final thoughts to this chain of serious civil rights abuses by the City of Santa Cruz and the Santa Cruz Police Department deserve some mention and follow-up:

(1) VANDALISM CHARGE DROPPED IN THE DECEMBER 11th, 2002, FREE SPEECH MURAL PROTEST: The City of Santa Cruz District Attorney dropped the vandalism charge against the protest organizer. There were no reasons provided by the District Attorney nor any letter communicating to the organizer of the charge being dropped. It was only discovered by the organizer on the day of his plea hearing. It was only through discovery by the organizer that his name did not appear on any court rolls the day of his plea that he was sent over the the Office of the District Attorney, only to discover that the charge was dropped via an administrator. This was par for the course for a city that has mistreated this particular resident since he came forward with his proposal for the God Bless America street mural.

(2) INDEPENDENT POLICE AUDITOR REPORT: The independent police auditor (Mr. Michael Gennaco) report has yet to be concluded as of today. The audit was requested by the event organizer on December 18, 2020. When the auditor was last contacted on January 19, 2021, the auditor reported "I do not have a specific time frame for completion of that review as I am awaiting further information from the Police Department." In a continued pattern of a police force oppression, it seems clear that the Santa Cruz Police Department is not interested in sharing information with an independent auditor regarding the events of December 11, 2020.

(3) VANDALISM OF THE BLACK LIVES MATTER STREET MURAL: More than seven months have passed since the Black Lives Matter street mural was painted (Sep-12-2020) on Center Street in downtown Santa Cruz. There are strong indications that certain elements of the public still strongly reject the mural. There have been numerous efforts to vandalize the mural as can been seen on the mural today (March-2021 photo) from the tire burn marks at various locations. As an advocacy for free speech, we do not support, in any form, defacing a legal, public expression. Nevertheless, this vandalism is an expression of a different kind--an expression of dissent made in a destructive way because the City of Santa Cruz has suppressed proper and safe avenues to voice dissension non-destructively, using insolence, silence, obstruction and, most egregiously, the use of physical force to stifle speech. Government suppression of speech of its citizenry eventually leads to its manifestation in the form of destruction from those who have been marginalized and oppressed. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. proclaimed, "Riots are the language of the unheard."
 
Important Note: We strongly advocate against any form of violence or destruction of propety. FARPS supports non-violent and non-destructive solutions to problems and we will always speak out against those who use violence, destruction, lies, intimidation and / or threats to achieve their aims, including our own elected officials and the media.

BLM-SC-Mural-Mar-20-2021.jpg

(4) THE TRIAL OF DERRICK CHAUVIN (March 23, 2021 - April 20, 2021): The City Council's decision to grant a permanent encroachment permit for the establishment of the Black Lives Matter street mural was based on the immediate, knee-jerk and hyperbolic vilification of Derrick Chauvin as a racist police officer hunting down George Floyd, and killing him by using excessive force, before any facts were released to the public. Obviously, residents on both sides of the aisle were in agreement based on the limited information available to them in the immediate aftermath of George Floyd's death, with the media flanning both the figurative and literal fires around the country. GUILTY OF HATE CRIMES AND MURDER OF A BLACK MAN BY A WHITE, RACIST COP!!! As the Derrick Chauvin trial evidence began to emerge, an entirely different picture of the events came to view that introduced a strong case of reasonable doubt as to the causes of death of Mr. Floyd as well as no evidence of a hate crime taking place (although mainstream media did little to expose them), which would discredit the BLM narrative. Yet, jury intimidation is the modus operandi of the Left, Black Lives Matter activists, and Democrats like Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) (see video below), that will certainly be calls for a mistrial now that the verdict has been delivered. No Democrat spoke out negatively against Ms. Waters' call "to get more confrontational," which explains how this party has fallen off the cliff. This was a modern day public lynching--this time of a white man. Add this to the fact that the city of Minneapolis settled a $27M claim with the family of George Floyd only days between the opening statements in the trial, setting the environment that the city (by its association with officer Chauvin) had blood on its hands, furthering biasing juror' positions on Officer Chauvin's culpability, was nothing more that a highly-prepared, stage act to ensure that there would be nothing fair about the Derrick Chauvin trial.
 
Ultimately, Santa Cruz residents must to come to terms with the fact that the Black Lives Matter street mural in front of city hall should be both reexamined and reconsidered, especially given that its permit was granted into perpetuity. But, none of the conditions to establish a safe venue for free speech on this topic have or will be addressed by the City of Santa Cruz, so it remains unlikely that any members of the community will come forward, unless the courts severely punish the city for suppressing and intimidating anyone challenging its allegiance to Black Lives Matter.

 

derrick chauvin trial.jpg

(5) VANDALISM AIMED AT FREE SPEECH MURAL ORGANIZER IN SANTA CRUZ: In March, 2021, it was discovered that the December 11th protest organizer's vehicle was vandalized (broken rear tail light). As a major free speech advocate, the organizer believes that certain of his bumper stickers on the back of his vehicle triggered the perpetrator to crack the tail light. This is based on the organizer having been verbally attacked in other parts of the city at various times by certain intolerant residents. A police report was submitted to (ironically) the Santa Cruz Police Department on March 23, 2021. The organizer is now researching literature in order to purchase a dash cam to identify future perpetrators of vandalism on his vehicle. The City of Santa Cruz has become an intolerant and violent place to live if you are not on-board with the woke culture movement.
 

IMG_6660.jpg