People v. Wes Modes: Trying to Remove DIY from Santa Cruz

Wes Modes returned to Santa Cruz County Court on July 16, 2010. This high-profile infraction case, claimed by supporters as harassment of Modes, a well-known anarchist activist, stems from his alleged participation in the Last Night DIY New Year’s parade on December 31st, 2009, as well as a knowledge that the 2009 parade did not receive a permit. A ruling in the case is expected shortly after August 9th.

According to supporters, the parade infraction is the latest in a series of police harassment that Wes has received since outing Santa Cruz police officers who infiltrated activist meetings in 2005. Longtime Santa Cruz resident and parade participant Grant Wilson stated that Wes, an outspoken critic of the Santa Cruz Police Department, is being unjustly targeted from a crowd of community organizers, facilitators and participants. Wes is apparently one of three people that were issued a citation for participating in the DIY Parade.

The July 16th hearing, originally scheduled at 1:30 in Dept. #2, was delayed and moved to Dept. #5, and eventually heard before Judge Jeff Almquist. Wes was represented in court by defense attorney Jonathan Gettleman. John Barisone argued the case for the city of Santa Cruz.

Each side called two witnesses to testify on the stand. Kathy Agnone, Special Event Permit Coordinator for the city of Santa Cruz testified on behalf of the city, as did SCPD officer Lauren Sconfield. Testifying on behalf of Wes were two parade participants, including Sherry Conable, an organizer of the Peace Walk which which led off the DIY Parade.

Approximately 30 people attended the hearing in support of Wes, and against what many people view as a clear case of selective enforcement. 30 people seems to be an impressive number of supporters to show up at a court hearing, however Wes has done so many positive things for the Santa Cruz community, therefore it would be more appropriate to have seen hundreds of people calling for the charge to be dropped due to selective enforcement.

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.