Drum Circle Continues at Santa Cruz Farmer’s Market; Police Told to Back Off

On October 1st, green mesh fencing was put up again in Santa Cruz’s Parking Lot #4 next to the downtown Farmer’s Market. The market began at 2:30pm and by 3:00pm, many people were disappointed by the fencing around the trees and the absence of the sounds of drumming in the air. But the drumming got started when a little kid, a regular at the drum circle, began playing his drum in the dirt near the sidewalk on Cedar Street.

A man was soon screaming after he tripped, landed on the mesh fencing, and then rolled his way out. Meanwhile, other people pulled up stakes, and the man escaped the green mesh fencing with a minor injury to his leg. The Santa Cruz Police Department arrived at Parking Lot #4, followed by the Fire Department, to assist the man with his injury. The (uniformed) police did not approach the drum circle or harass people in the parking lot.

While the man was being treated, another individual got the attention of Santa Cruz Police Department Officer Martin Brandt, pointed at somebody, and then told Brandt that the person he pointed at was involved in pulling up fencing stakes around the magnolia trees. Brandt quickly and openly responded, “We have been told to pretty much leave this place alone.”

A few minutes later, I walked up to Officer Brandt and said to him, “I understand that the police have been told to stay away from the drum circle.”

Officer Brandt then asked me, “Where did you hear that?”

I replied, “I heard you say that to the man in the blue hat after he told you about someone pulling up stakes.”

With anger, Officer Brandt said, “Then you are reporting gossip.”

I said, “Well fine, then I am reporting gossip. Do you want to comment?”

Officer Brandt replied, “I will deny it.”

I told him he was a liar and he told me to back up.

There you have it. Santa Cruz Police officers were told to back off and pretty much leave the drum circle and Parking Lot #4 alone during Farmer’s Market.

The drum circle continued into the dark after the market ended.

Only time will tell what will happen in Parking Lot #4 on Wednesday, October 8th and beyond. Will the green mesh fencing return? If so, will it come down again, one way or another? Will people be able to freely congregate, make music, and share food without surveillance and harassment by the police?

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For background information and coverage from previous weeks, please check out:

September 10th: Raging Grannies and Trash Orchestra Defend Drummers from SCPD
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2008/09/09/18534692.php

September 17th: Two Arrested in Parking Lot #4 Alongside Santa Cruz Farmer’s Market
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2008/09/18/18539716.php

September 24th: Community Members Return to Parking Lot #4 Alongside Farmer’s Market
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2008/09/22/18540605.php

Crossposted at Indybay.org.

Author: Bradley Allen

Bradley Allen is a reporter and photographer in the Monterey Bay Area, and a collective member of the San Francisco Bay Area Independent Media Center (Indybay). Follow him on social media: @BradleySA.