“I don’t want people to think, ‘You went before a judge, the judge was fair, the charges were dismissed, everything’s cool.’ It’s not cool.”
On Tuesday, May 15th and Friday, May 18th, supporters of the Santa Cruz Eleven held banners above the slow-moving southbound traffic on Highway 1 in Santa Cruz.
The Santa Cruz District Attorney's Office tried to paint them as activists while ensuring Thaler, the Santa Cruz Sentinel photographer, was there as a bona fide journalist. Fortunately, Santa Cruz County Superior Court Judge Paul Burdick saw through that flimsy argument and dismissed all charges against Allen and Darocy.
On May 4th, over a hundred people gathered at the Santa Cruz Courthouse for a press conference, march, and rally organized by the Watsonville Brown Berets to demand District Attorney Bob Lee drop the charges against the Santa Cruz Eleven.
Participants held signs bearing slogans like “Journalism is not a crime”
District Attorney Bob Lee said Indybay photojournalists Bradley Allen and Alex Darocy, two of those charged and not acquitted, "effectively served as the media arm of the organization; the group's propagandists."
“Prosecutions such as this one can serve to chill speech even if they do not result in a conviction…” wrote Michael Risher, ACLU attorney.
Community members gathered at the Santa Cruz Courthouse for a press conference and rally to demand District Attorney Bob Lee drop the charges against the Santa Cruz Eleven.
Allen and Darocy were engaged in conduct that is protected under the First Amendment and article I, § 2 of the California Constitution. The prosecution’s theory that these reporters are vicariously guilty of the crimes that they photographed endangers the First Amendment.
The accused journalists work for alternative news sources such as Indybay and Free Radio Santa Cruz and argue that they were covering the occupation as a newsworthy event.