Single Mother Falsely Accused of Endangering Her Children at Occupy Oakland
The authorities apparently stop at nothing to intimidate and scare people from participating in a movement that they fear. Stayaway orders, bogus arrests, heavy charges for minor offenses, sham “lynching” laws, and, most recently, deploying the Child Protective Services to attack a single mother for participating in Occupy Oakland.
Kerie Campbell is an all-star activist at Occupy Oakland. There from the very 1st planning meeting in Mosswood Park, there the night the camp struck back in October, Kerie is also an admin on the OO (Occupy Oakland) website and co founder of the Occupy Oakland Children’s Village. The Children’s Village is an area for kids and parents/legal guardians to hangout and feels safe, and is designed to create a space for children to have their voices respected and heard in ways not common for them. It allows people come to OO events knowing they will have a safe, friendly place to spend time with their kids. Most recently, at the OO Barbecue/Speakout series, kids in the Children’s Village made puppets, got their faces painted, and otherwise hung out together with their parents or guardians. Considering that Kerie is also a single mother with two young children, the fact that she is so heavily involved is impressive.
Around Occupy Oakland Kerie and her children are welcome, familiar faces that everyone loves. Like many other children who spend time around OO, Kerie’s kids became part of the larger OO family. But recently something tragic happened in her life that is angering her and the larger community of OO. This activist who has such a standing in the welfare of children had her own children forcefully taken away from her by an ex-husband under ridiculous charges that are clearly politically motivated.
Throughout Kerie’s marriage to Anthony Sprenger and during the 6-year custody battle of their 2 children, Kerie and her ex-husband had a tumultuous relationship to say in the least. However their legal situation was finally worked out and she had two years of relative calm, which made this most recent attempt to bar Kerie from seeing her children come seemingly from out of the blue.
On Friday afternoon Kerie arrived at her children’s school like any other Friday, the day she her ex-husband normally switched custody. The Friday custody switch-up, until this point, went “like clock work.” Thursday night Kerie’s daughter called her, crying about a classroom conflict. “I told her that I would see her the next day.” Kerie recounts with tears in her eyes. But when she got to school, her children were nowhere to be found. She panicked, until a friend told her that her ex husband had come to pick the kids up before she got there. Frantically, Kerie went to different school administration officials to find out how exactly her ex-husband had done this without any warning to Kerie. The search for more information from the administration, with which she had a good relationship up until this point, was to no avail. “They had their heads and eyes down and said that they couldn’t do or say anything.” Finally, she was forced to call the police (which she did not want to do) who eventually, after a lot of back and forth, produced the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) her ex used to take the children. The restraining order was supposed to be served her before taking her children. It had no supplementary declaration or evidentiary documents.
The TRO stated that Kerie’s children were at risk because she had taken them to the Mosswood Encampment, which was an Occupy Oakland re-occupation that occurred on March 22nd, thus endangering them. That day the encampment was granted permission to be at Mosswood by OPD once the occupiers had taken their tents down. The “recklessly endangering” activities that Kerie and her children were taking partin? They ate pizza, wrote letters to imprisoned comrades, played Frisbee and tag,and read books in an environment largely resembling a park picnic. Clearly, this event was not dangerous. The TRO mentioned quite a few other charges that cite Kerie as an unfit mother because of her involvement in OO, which is absurd given her activities in Occupy Oakland.
This attack has disturbing implications for how repression could affect single parents involved in OO and is something the larger OO community must be on the watch for. Kerie believes this was a targeted attack against her involvement in Occupy Oakland. “[My ex-husband] had gone after everything else before, this was all he had left to go after.”
As occupiers and feminists, we must support Kerie against this attack, and we must continue to provide spaces like Children’s Village that support people with children who want to participate in this movement. Kerie needs letters of support for her court date on Monday, in order to get her children back. Such a letter consists of: a testimony to her character, sharing good experiences about her, especially if you’ve seen her interacting with her kids, in the loving, supportive, and brilliant way she always does!! The court is most receptive to people who have good or high-status jobs, (even though Keri wants letters from everyone and doesn’t value people based on their ‘status’ within capitalism!). If you write a letter, you must include the phrase: “I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the State of California that the foregoing is true and correct.” Please send letters by Monday, April 16th, to firstname.lastname@example.org
To donate to Kerie’s legal fund send checks to her friend Don Macleay:
“KC”. C/O Don Macleay, P.O. Box 20299, Oakland CA, 94620
Mental Health Movement Occupies Chicago’s Woodlawn Clinic to Stop Closures
reposted from occupychi.org
Dozens of people who use Chicago’s mental health clinics along with other advocates have barricaded themselves into the Woodlawn Clinic at 6337 S. Woodlawn, one of 6 clinics facing closure. They intend to remain there until Mayor Emanuel agrees to keep all of Chicago’s public clinics open, fully funded and fully staffed.
Two of the clinics slated for closure – the Northwest Clinic in Logan Square and the Northtown Clinic in Rogers Park – shut their doors last Friday. Four others (Woodlawn, Auburn/Gresham, Back of the Yards and Beverly/Morgan Park) are scheduled to close April 30th. The Mental Health Movement, which put out a report and a video undermining the Chicago Department of Public Health’s claim that all patients will continue to receive care, has been calling for hearings on the clinic closures since October. Despite repeated promises and a resolution calling for hearings, the Emanuel Administration has prevented any hearings from taking place in order to avoid public scrutiny of the plan, which has come under fire even from Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart.
“We have tried everything we could to be heard. We visited Mayor Emanuel when he was a candidate. We delivered him over 4,000 letters. We have talked to almost all 50 Alderman. We have held press conferences, rallies and even sat-in for 10 hours on the 5th floor of City Hall. We are the ones who know the disaster these clinic closures will mean for our communities and our city but Mayor Emanuel been unwilling to listen to us, so we are taking drastic measures to avoid a tragedy and defend our human rights,” says N’Dana Carter, who goes to one of the city clinics and is a spokesperson for the Mental Health Movement.
The people barricaded in the clinic have enough food and supplies to stay for months and are threatening to do so unless Mayor Emanuel meets the following five demands:
* Keep all 12 city mental health clinics public, open, fully funded and fully staffed
* Stop plans to privatize Chicago’s 7 neighborhood health centers
* Hire more doctors, therapists, nurses, social workers and other clinic staff
* Reinstate the drug assistance program
* Expand the public mental health safety net to cover unmet community needs
The Trial of Cameron Rose – Day One
By Lorien Patton
Thursday, April 12th. Alameda County Courthouse Rene Davidson, Department #4. Hon. Thomas M. Reardon presiding.
The early morning hours of the trial were subdued. Though the crowd increased throughout the day, initially the only audience present included two other participants of the December 30th Tipi Vigil and myself, reporting for the Gazette. So it was to a mostly silent room that OPD Police Captain Israel delivered his testimony. He painted a picture of the December 30th action where reasonable police returned multiple times throughout the morning to warn Tipi Vigil participants to clear the walkways of their ‘unpermitted encroachment’.
The incident which eventually involved Mr. Rose began with another vigil participant. Sgt. Ortiz testified that his officers were attempting to issue her a citation for blocking a walkway with her possessions. He said that his officers approached with citation books out, attempting to write tickets, and that this vigil keeper refused to provide identification, was belligerent, and then attempted to flee custody. He (and other officers) described an altercation where officers repeatedly and reasonably asked for identification, and only resorted to an attempt to handcuff the individual in question when their lawful arrest was not recognized.
However, Citizen Journalist video footage of the event directly contradicts Sgt. Ortiz’ recollections of the event. None of the officers present were carrying citation books, and no citations were issued that day. The initial attempt to cite the female vigil participant lasted only seconds before the officers were attempting to handcuff her. Additionally, she was carrying her belongings in her hands, clearly complying with the order to remove personal property from the walkways.
When questioned later about her apparent compliance, and therefore the apparent illogic of issuing a citation, OPD Officer Patrick Gerrans explained that according to his understanding of the situation, anyone with property on the ground was already in violation of the municipal code, and therefore liable to be cited. He stated that they vigil participants had been ‘given the courtesy’ of an order to remove their property and move along, but that the officers were not required to let anyone go simply because they began to comply with the order. By the time the officers began to issue citations, it was apparently already too late to comply.
Officer Gerrans was also the arresting officer for Mr. Rose, who is accused of striking Officer Gerrans with a folding chair (Assault With a Deadly Weapon) and obstructing his attempt to arrest another vigil participant. None of the witnesses called during the day saw Mr. Rose strike Officer Gerrans, including Off. Gerrans himself, who was facing the other direction when he ‘felt the blow’. His testimony put Mr. Rose directly behind him, approximately five feet away, holding one chair, and with another chair leaning against his legs.
The witness did not offer an explanation of how Mr. Rose might have stepped forward to strike him and then stepped back and leaned the other chair up against his leg again in the instant before the officer turned around and visually identified him. Also, the chair in question was not recovered from the scene by the police.
Next Hearing: Tuesday 04/17/2012 09:30 AM Alameda County Courthouse Rene Davidson Dept #4
Joe Hoover, First Occupier To Be Convicted , Sentenced to Community Service for Occupy Oakland Involvement
By Paul T. Rosynsky, excerpted from the Oakland Tribune
OAKLAND — A man studying to be a Jesuit priest was sentenced to six days in a county jail work program and two years court probation Monday in the first successful prosecution of a case related to the Occupy Oakland movement. Joseph Hoover, of Berkeley, was found guilty last week of a misdemeanor charge of obstructing a thoroughfare during a violent demonstration in January that resulted in the arrests of more than 300 protesters who attempted to take over the vacant Kaiser Convention Center near Lake Merritt. Hoover, who is studying to be a priest at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, said he was arrested when he stopped in the street to protect a homeless man from being trampled by a line of police officers who were advancing on a group of protesters.
Hoover testified during his brief jury trial and said after his sentencing Monday that he did nothing wrong and obeyed all police orders but was still arrested… While a jury found Hoover guilty of obstructing a thoroughfare it deadlocked on a charge against Hoover of resisting arrest, and the District Attorney’s Office decided to drop the charge rather than seek another trial.
Hoover said Monday that he was proud of taking part in an Occupy event and said he has not ruled out doing so again. “The cop was doing what he felt he had to do and I felt I did what I had to do,” Hoover said. “I’m grateful to be part of the Occupy movement…”
Hoover was offered a plea deal before the trial in which he would have been found guilty of a misdemeanor disturbing the peace offense and faced two years court probation, but he refused the deal.
Upcoming Events 4/15-4/21
4/17: Occupy the Post Office: Main Post Office 1675 7th Street, Oakland. Event all day from 8:30am-10:30pm. Speakout & Rally 3:30-7:30.
4/17: No War On Iran/End All Wars. Global day of action against military spending. 12-5pm. Oakland Federal Building, 1301 Clay St.
4/20: Demonstration against Chevron in Richmond. 5:00 p.m. at the Richmond BART station. March to a rally at Richmond Civic Center. details here
Court Support Calendar 4/16-4/20
4/16: One comrade in 115 filing a motion from a Dec. 30 arrest. Two comrades in 104: pretrial hearings from J28.
Melvin Kelley is on for Jury Trial from 12/29 (20th and Mandella) in dep 112, Wiley Manuel, 9am.
4/17: 2nd day of jury trial for Jesus.
4/18: 7 comrades facing pretrial hearings on charges stemming from the January 4th raid of the vigil. One comrade in 104 facing pretrial from an FTP arrest. One comrade filing a motion in 115 with regard to charges acquired at 10th & Mandela.