.

Santa Cruz DA Asks for Help Identifying Bank Break-In Suspects

District Attorney Bob Lee's office has posted video and still photographs from the break-in at the empty Coast Commercial Bank last November.

 

While 11 protesters have been charged with breaking into the Coast Commercial Bank last November, District Attorney Bob Lee's office has posted 11 videos and 101 still photos looking to identify others involved in the takeover to charge them with trespass and vandalism.

"We obviously know there were there were far more people there than the currently named defendants," said prosecutor Rebekah Young. "We need the public's help identifying them."

The videos were made by Santa Cruz Police officers watching the protest from across from the bank at 75 River St. Some were shot through the windows. The footage is raw and includes a lot of minutes of innocent activity surrounding the acts being charged as criminal, trespass and vandalism.

The still photos were taken by the protesters themselves and published on websites.

Many of those who broke in were wearing bandanas to cover their faces.

The fact that the district attorney is using this footage as evidence shows that despite the claims of some protesters, there was no police infiltration of their movement and no undercover officers inside.

"As a prosecutor, I would have loved for an undercover officer to be in there," said Young. "It would have made my life a lot easier."

Young said that others can still be charged in the break-in and that besides felony charges of vandalism and trespass, if convicted, the protesters would have to pay for the damage they caused, estimated at one point to be $30,000, but probably lower, according to Young. The maximum sentence for the crime is three years in prison.

Two more of the defendants, Robert Norse and Becky Johnson, are scheduled to go to preliminary hearing Monday. Two have already been scheduled for trial, Alex Darocy and Bradley Stuart Allen.

The others are scheduled for prelimary hearings the third week of April.

Allen and Darocy have claimed to be journalists and asked to be exempted from the charges under their first amendment rights.

Young said that there were no privileges for the press in a trespass case.

"You can't put on a lanyard and suddenly be exempt," said Young, a former TV news reporter at CNN and ABC before she went to law school. "It's not like Harry Potter's invisibility cloak. It's not going to work that way."

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something