THE ANNOUNCER: APRIL 2022

A monthly publication of the Sonoma County Chapter of the ACLU of Northern California 

Surveillance in Sebastopol

For over a year and a half, our Chapter has been educating and organizing to end the deployment of dragnet surveillance technologies and practices by law enforcement in Sonoma County which particularly affect our most vulnerable community members. If you missed our 1/21/21 webinar “Surveillance in Sonoma” you can check out a recording of it here: https://youtu.be/DWNdMdhZlbs

We finally have one jurisdiction in Sonoma County, the City of Sebastopol, which is considering taking the lead and adopting a Surveillance Technology Ordinance to protect public safety, privacy, and civil rights of their residents. The Sebastopol City Council will be debating the ordinance at its meeting on Tuesday, May 3, at 5 PM.  We are encouraging all to either attend the meeting or write to the council to support passage.  For more information about the meeting, please click here: https://sonomaaclu.org/event/sebastopol-city-council-to-consider-surveillance-ordinance/

Sonoma County Sheriff’s Race

Our Chapter cosponsored a forum for the candidates for Sonoma County Sheriff.  A recording of the forum can be viewed on Youtube here:  https://youtu.be/M_xQf0cxogE

Our Chapter produced a Nonpartisan Voter Guide for the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Race.  We encourage you to read the guide and to share it with your voting friends, family members, and your networks.  The Guide can be found here: https://sonomaaclu.org/2022-sonoma-county-sheriff-candidates-primary-election-nonpartisan-voter-guide/

Andy Lopez Documentary Rebroadcast

A public affairs documentary about the 2013 shooting of 13-year-old Andy Lopez by a Sonoma County deputy sheriff will be aired on PBS affiliate station KRCB (North Bay) on May 19, 2022 at 10 pm on Channel 22 (Comcast, AT&T and Dish).  More information about the film can be seen at: www.3Secondsfilm.com

Criminal Record Clearance

Criminal convictions haunt people long beyond the time they spend in jail or on probation.  Convictions can prevent people from getting housing, a job, or an occupational license.  California law, however, allows a person with a criminal conviction to have the conviction expunged (i.e., dismissed) if they have completed their sentence.  Expungement does not wipe the slate completely clean but it gives people the chance to make a new start.  The Sonoma Chapter is collaborating with the local NAACP chapter and the Sonoma County Public Defender to publicize the benefits to getting your criminal conviction expunged and how to get help from the Public Defender to do so.   We have flyers for distribution in English and Spanish.  If you would like flyers to distribute, please contact Nancy Pemberton at nspem@earthlink.net.  For more information about the expungement process, please contact the Sonoma County Public Defender at PCR@sonoma-county.org.  More information available at: https://sonomaaclu.org/criminal-record-clearance/

Police Militarization Transparency and Accountability (AB 481)

AB 481 is a new law that requires California law enforcement agencies to publish information about a range of militarized gear used in policing and carceral facilities, and to obtain approval from city/town councils and boards of supervisors of their policies regulating the use of this military equipment.

Right now our city councils and county supervisors are deciding in public meetings, open to community comment, whether to adopt police and sheriff proposed policies for the use of tank-like armored vehicles, assault rifles, teargas, ‘less lethal’ launchers and munitions, drones, sound cannons and other gear often used in SWAT operations and crowd control.   Approval is likely to occur over a series of public meetings.  Petaluma held their first meeting on April 18.  The Board of Supervisors is scheduled to look at the Sheriff’s Office’s proposed military equipment policies on May 10.  We will update you in future Announcers of other AB 481 hearing dates as we become aware of them.

You are encouraged to find out when your city/town council will be addressing these military equipment policies and to have your voice heard.  A great toolkit for AB 481 Advocacy can be found at: https://www.afsc.org/content/ab481-advocacy-toolkit

Special thanks to Chapter Leader Jim Duffy for taking the lead in putting together this issue of The Announcer.

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