Former EPD Chief Mills takes his war on the poor to Santa Cruz

Like Trump and most demigods they need a scapegoat. During the ongoing crime wave in Eureka Mills found a convenient scapegoat with “the homeless”. It would seem he hasn’t changed tactics at his new job.

A woman uses the hand-washing station next to a port-a-potty in San Lorenzo Park on Monday. The city of Santa Cruz is adding stations to address the statewide hepatitis A emergency. (Dan Coyro — Santa Cruz Sentinel)

SANTA CRUZ >> Under the auspices of its new chief, the Santa Cruz Police Department has launched a new approach to homelessness and outdoor sleeping.

In an opinion piece penned for the Sentinel Sunday, Chief Andy Mills revealed his intentions to de-emphasize enforcement of the city’s overnight public camping ban.

“From 9 p.m. until 6 a.m., SCPD will not issue camping citations unless there is a complaint by someone in control of that property or some other crime or nuisance behavior is taking place,” Mills wrote. “Instead, the police will turn their focus to finding those stealing out of your yards, cars and homes during the night.”

In an interview Monday, Mills tempered the reduced focus on enforcing overnight camping laws, saying “unacceptable behavior is unacceptable everywhere.”

“I honestly believe that people need to sleep and that people are healthier when they get sleep, they can make better decisions when they get sleep. If at some point in the future, we can have a place where people can go and sleep lawfully, I think that makes great sense,” Mills said. “At the same time, this gives us the opportunity to say, we can’t enforce this rigorously when there aren’t enough beds or even close to it for people to sleep. But I want to re-emphasize that bad behavior is bad behavior, regardless of whether you’re housed or unhoused.”

The chief’s op-ed was published just days after his officers used “personal persuasion rather than positional power” to clear out what he estimated was about a dozen people regularly sleeping along the chain-link fencing outside the downtown post office. Mills said the familiar faces were offered supportive services, such as motel vouchers and mental health services, in the days leading up to the clear-out. The operation was scheduled for Monday, but was moved up after officers reported witnessing “gigantic rats that are crawling in and out of sleeping bags” and had become “unhealthy and unsafe,” Mills said.

“The post office has become such a focal point for many people in the city that we really needed to act on it,” said Mills, adding that the effort was just one piece of longer-term efforts.

A proposal to lift the city’s overnight camping ban in March 2016, led by then-Councilman Don Lane, failed in a 5-2 vote. With passionate community members arguing for and against the idea at the time, opposing council members questioned the long-term benefits of permitting unsheltered sleeping. Councilwoman Richelle Noroyan said at the time the ban was not just about sleeping, but about public health.

“It’s about urinating and defecating and people finding needles in their front yards and people contacting me by the dozens saying they don’t even like to go in their back yards,” Noroyan said.

Vice Mayor David Terrazas said during the same 2016 meeting that the proposal “does not provide the types of solutions that lead to that lasting change.” On Monday, reached for comment on Mills’ plan of action, Terrazas said the sleeping ban was still in effect and that he supports the chief in coming forward with a larger strategy to address a “crisis downtown.”

“I look at this as a very narrow action in regard to a larger comprehensive strategy to better connect those in the greatest of need to services,” Terrazas said, when asked if this may be a precursor to ultimately lifting the camping ban.

“I think we as a council have unanimously approved a subcommittee’s recommendations addressing homelessness in our region and currently are working with Santa Cruz County officials to implement that plan. So we’re not just looking at this as limited to just whether or not someone has any sort of violation of our ordinance, but in regards to how we expand how we are addressing this situation.”

Mills said he has received several community responses and recommendations since his letter was published. Homelessness issues advocate Steve Pleich shared with the Sentinel a “homeless depot shelter” concept he penned with Rabbi Philip Posner and John Kevin Rothwell that would designate legal public sleeping times and location.

In his op-ed, Mills termed the post office encampment as “ground zero” for the local hepatitis A outbreak. Santa Cruz County spokesman Jason Hoppin stepped back from that statement, saying the city has had a concentration of confirmed patients in the downtown, but that the county has not linked the cases specifically to the post office dwellers.

“There really isn’t an epicenter or a ‘big bang,’” Hoppin said. “We have a concentration of cases downtown, but it’s a sanitation issue, mainly. People need clean places to go to the bathroom and eat.”

The intensified interest on the downtown encampment is the latest city effort to break up larger areas of visible outdoor homeless gatherings, and is tied in with a hepatitis A outbreak numbering 73 confirmed cases countywide. Hoppin said there is not a “huge risk” to the general population of contracting the disease.

Instead, the liver-related illness, spread by contact with feces of people who are infected or from contaminated food or water, has disproportionately affected Santa Cruz County’s homeless and drug-using population, he said. The number of people infected with the disease who do not fit that description “can be counted on one hand,” Hoppin said.

Some of those without homes displaced from the post office were later seen relocating to the San Lorenzo Park “benchlands,” Mills said.

Similar city-led homeless encampment dispersals in the recent past have included large gatherings around Santa Cruz City Hall and the Downtown Santa Cruz Public Library due to negative public interactions, heavy restrictions along the San Lorenzo River levees after the Aug. 23, 2016 fatal shooting of Joey Shuemaker and numerous clearings of encampments in the Pogonip in recent years.


Award for EPD at a conference in Houston because of Palco Marsh expulsion, wtf?

EPD has received an award specifically for kicking the homeless out of the Palco Marsh, which makes you really wonder who seriously misled the organization that gave out the award.

Take one look around Eureka and it’s easy to see that Ex-Police Chief Mills’ plan to kick the homeless out of PALCO marsh without a shelter, housing or another area to go to, just make the problem much worse in Eureka. The problem was bad enough at the marsh but without a viable plan and location to move people to (with the exception of the 40 people in the shipping containers), it arguably made the situation much worse,

We wonder if this organization will next be giving Trump a race-relations Award or Kim Jong Un a Human rights Award?  Thanks again Andy…………Pitiful

KIEM TV3 reports: EPD honored for efforts to address homelessness

EUREKA – Though there’s more work to be done, the Eureka Police Department and its community partners were honored for their efforts to address homelessness in the city.

The Center for Problem-Oriented Policing presented EPD, the City of Eureka and mental health providers with the 27th Herman Goldstein Award at a conference in Houston.

The award recognizes groups for innovative and effective policing. EPD was specifically highlighted for vacating the Palco Marsh and establishing the Mobile Intervention Services or MIST team.

Chief Steve Watson said dozens of people contributed to these efforts and he wants the community to continue building on that success. He added, “Even though we’re a smaller somewhat isolated community here on the North Coast, the fact that we are looking outside of our limited exposure here to modern broad based policing practices like problem oriented policing and thinking outside the box, understanding the importance of close collaboration with community partners, that it’s not all just about the police department, that you have to bring all the stakeholders together to address these kind of issues, I think that’s the key takeaway here.”


more of Eureka’s war on the poor

While we are not fans of panhandling at all, we recognize the civil right of people to do it.

With Violent Crime up in Humboldt County over 25%.  “Teflon” Chief Mills is gone, but his legacy of scapegoating the poor with lots of police resources while ignoring that the Crime and Violence in the City lives on.  Let’s see what this waste of resources will cost Eureka….

Remember back In February of 2015 The Examiner posted this analysis of Eureka ill-conceived panhandling ordinance:

A photo included in Arcata-based attorney Peter Martin’s civil complaint challenging the city of Eureka’s panhandling restrictions shows a Sept. 5 interaction between Eureka busker Oscar Leatherman and Eureka police officers. PHOTO by Frederick Portigal PROVIDED BY Peter Martin

from today’s TS:
Attorney Peter Martin says busker’s constitutional rights violated

Arcata-based attorney Peter Martin has filed a civil lawsuit on behalf of a Eureka homeless resident claiming the city of Eureka’s anti-panhandling regulations violate First and 14th Amendment rights, Martin said Friday.

Martin argues in his complaint that the city’s regulations violate free speech and due process rights by selectively targeting people who are begging for money, but not people who are asking for different things such as a signature for a petition. Speaking to the Times-Standard on Friday afternoon, Martin said that begging is a form of speech.

“It’s an indictment of our capitalist system that we have so many people on the street. Them asking for money is a political act,” Martin said.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court in Oakland on Thursday, claims the rights of 63-year-old busker Oscar Leatherman, who has lived in Eureka since 2014 and currently resides in a van, were violated after he was cited under the ordinance by Eureka police in 2017.

Martin’s complaint calls for the court to permanently end the city’s panhandling ordinance; award compensation for attorney’s fees and the costs of the lawsuit; and award damages to Leatherman. Martin declined to comment on who is funding his litigation.

Under the city’s ordinance, panhandlers face either infractions or misdemeanors if they’re caught panhandling near bus stops, in driveways or entry points to parking lots and near controlled intersections, among other places. The ordinance also prohibits aggressive panhandling.

This reporter’s attempts to contact Eureka City Attorney Cyndy Day-Wilson were not returnedFriday. Eureka Mayor Frank Jäger (and alleged grave robber) said that as he has yet to review the allegations, he isn’t ready to comment on Martin’s claims at this time. But Jäger said that the city drafted its anti-solicitation ordinance using the lessons learned from other cities with panhandling ordinances that had already been challenged in court.

“I can tell you that a lot of the people in the community that I deal with are very happy with the ordinance and it has been very effective and has cleaned up a lot of the blight around town,”  Jäger said Friday afternoon.

The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors approved its own panhandling ordinance in June 2016, which was modeled after Eureka’s ordinance.

Martin claims in his complaint that the Eureka’s panhandling regulations limits Leatherman’s ability to busk at his usual locations — such as near the BevMo sign on Broadway Street — without fear of citation or arrest. “This will not only limit Mr. Leatherman’s ability to busk and play music in public, but it also deprive[s] him of an important source of income, and will threaten his ability to sustain himself and his dog Boots with food and basic necessities,” the complaint reads. “Mr. Leatherman fears that he will be driven out of the city of Eureka or thrown into jail due to enforcement of the Ordinance.”

Martin was previously successful in having most of Arcata’s panhandling rules thrown out by a Humboldt County Superior Court judge in 2012.

Martin had previously threatened to challenge Eureka’s panhandling ordinance in court in May 2016 unless the city repealed portions of the ordinance.

Will Houston, Eureka Times-Standard


It’s been 3 years and we still won’t shut up about the murder on Allard ave

It’s been 3 years since hard working young Eureka resident Tommy McClain was gun down in his own front yard.
The staff at The Examiner had high hopes for the Truth to come out in the federal civil rights trial.
In a real tragic miscarriage of justice, the judge in the case disallowed witnesses and suppressed evidence that would have undoubtedly changed the final verdict.
The McClain family is understandably dissatisfied with the way evidence was suppressed and feel let down by their attorneys. 

Here is Tommy’s aunt speaking for the family:

We have always been skeptical about Tommy having a BB gun tucked in his waistband when the officers confronted him, but what we found has validated our disbelief! We were given the investigation files, that were previously withheld from us before.  In the files, we found a receipt, for a Walther CP99 ordered by Todd Wilcox with the address of the Eureka’s police department underneath his name. There’s a 7-page report written up by Todd Wilcox on page 6 of his report, he states that he attempts to purchase a BB device of the same make and model as item T1; referring to the alleged replica taken off Tommy. However, Wilcox was unable to order the make and mobile but he does order a Umarex CP99 compact from the Amazon Internet shopping site.

My brother and I, along with our friend, Robin, had made the 8-hour drive up to Eureka to pick up Tommy’s belongings from the Eureka’s police department. Officer O’Neill handed me a box with a replica blood stained BB gun inside. It was not Walter PPQ Mills previously reported at the press conference October 1, 2014,  In the box, was a BB device, embossed with the brand name Umarex and mobile name CP99 compact, which described the one that was ordered from Amazon.

The Eureka Police Department investigated their own officers, documented and falsified evidence to cover up their wrongdoings.

Mr. Galipo had this information and did nothing with it, so instead of fighting for Tommy and our family, he throws the whole case under the bus.  It’s not just my opinion; I have the receipt, the reports, and the BB gun.   Just thought that you would like to know.

Respectfully Jamie Bowman.

The backstory of our local bangers the 18th st gang

Neither former Chief Mills or former Chief Harpham before him ever wanted to talk about 18th street or deal with these guys. Even when they were linked to several murders and violent attacks in the last few years.

The good news is interim Chief Watson has extensive experience with policing gangs and takes them very seriously!

we’ve posted about this issue in the past:




Barrio 18: Also known as The 18th Street Gang, the gang has its roots in Los Angeles of the 1960s, where it was originally composed of Mexican immigrants. Over the decades, though, Barrio 18 threw open its recruitment to members from Central America as well, often targeting the elementary and middle-school children of immigrants. In Humboldt County, it’s a rag tag assortment of relatives of pelican bay inmates and/or refugees from LA or the Bay Area gang battles. Some are just laying low or moving contraband for the gang.

Meet the terrifying gang with 50,000 foot-soldiers across the US and so unashamedly violent it rivals MS-13

US has vowed to crack down on ultra-violent transnational gang MS-13

But MS-13’s arch-rival gang Barrio 18 has a sickening reputation just as bad

Founded in Los Angeles and spread throughout Mexico and Central America

Believed to have 30,000 to 50,000 members across 20 US states

Allied with the Mexican Mafia gang but sworn rivals to MS-13

MS-13 isn’t the only gang sowing violence and terror from Central America to the US: meet Barrio 18.

Arch-rivals to MS-13, Barrio 18 has an estimated 30,000 to 50,000 members across 20 US states and is linked to drugs, murder, kidnappings and other violent crime from Central America to Canada.

bullet holes

‘With thousands of members across hundreds of kilometers, and interests in a number of different illicit activities, Barrio 18 is one of the more significant emerging criminal threats in the region,’ write analysts for the think-tank InSight Crime.

Last week, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions visited his counterpart in El Salvador to discuss ways to crack down on transnational gangs – MS-13 and Barrio 18 chief among them.

But if history is any guide, eradicating Barrio 18 will be easier said than done

As the gang’s ranks grew, it became the target of FBI and police crackdowns, sending many of its veteran members to prison.

But time behind bars just gave Barrio 18’s shot-callers a fertile new recruiting ground, and it quickly swelled its ranks in federal prisons.

Stepped up deportations also had an unintended effect, spreading the gang’s reach to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras as hardened members were shipped back to their native countries, where they have battled brutally with MS-13

Loosely coordinated between cells or ‘cliques’ even at the local level, Barrio 18 isn’t believed to have a ‘godfather’-style leader.

That’s made it difficult to target under racketeering laws, the tactic that brought down many Mafia families.

The gang is nevertheless notorious for enforcing strict rules and absolute obedience among its ranks, and failure to show proper respect can bring severe punishment, including execution.

Barrio 18 cliques have been linked to the international drug trade, and the gang is closely allied with the Mexican Mafia, another Hispanic organized crime ring with its origins in US prisons.

Their colors, blue and black, even pay tribute to the Mexican Mafia: blue for the allied gang, and black for Barrio 18’s original color.

Barrio 18 tattoos can include: 18, XVIII, XV3, BEST (for ‘Barrio Eighteenth Street) and 8P (stands for killing a police officer).

Another tattoo, X8, stands for absolute loyalty to the gang.

Barrio 18 members are the sworn enemies of MS-13, another gang with its origins in California that has since spread in Central American countries with weakened governments.

‘These two gangs have turned the Central American northern triangle into the area with the highest homicide rate in the world,’ the US Justice Department wrote in a 2013 report.

Like MS-13, the decentralized structure of Barrio 18 has made it incredibly resistant to decades of efforts to eradicate it.

‘They’re worse than a cancer,’ gang expert Gabriel Kovnator told the Los Angeles Times all the way back in 1996.

‘A cancer you can kill. These guys keep growing.’


Update # 2 on Your input on Eureka’s “big decision” just became more urgent

It looks like all the public input has worked. The rumor we hear is the City has avoided making a huge mistake by NOT naming Captain Stephens as interim Chief.

Good job everybody involved!!!


Update to yesterday’s post:

Sources are telling us now that City Manager Greg Sparks will be making the decision on the replacement for Chief Mills very soon. We also hear while he plans to consult with the Council he’s going to present them with his choice rather than hear suggestions from the council. They will, of course, have to ratify his choice, but it much harder to say no to a singular choice.

The Examiner strongly urges it’s readers to also contact the City Manager as well as their Council Representative. Urge them strongly to avoid the huge mistake of naming Brian Stephens Police Chief or even interim Chief. 


Whether you’re a community member who thinks Andrews Mills has been great for Eureka or you’re like the Examiner staff who thinks he been wreaking havoc on local law enforcement, his campaign to replace himself as Police Chief with the despicable thug Brian Stephens ought to seriously grab your attention! Stephens, who has a very checkered past, is the guy Mills promoted from Sergeant to Captain shortly after he presided over the negligent killing of Tommy McClain.

The Examiner has been getting lots of tips from inside EPD about the abrupt departure of Mills to Santa Cruz. For the most part, officers have been happy to see Mills and his “used car salesman” leadership will be gone.  However, looming large for everyone who’s reached out has been the view that Chief Mills is set on having Captain Brian Stephens take his place as interim chief.

On Wednesday, July 19th Mills will be having a somewhat odd “Going Away Reception”(?).  There’s speculation at the Police Department that the “Reception” is going to be when Mills starts his full court press for his chosen successor, Captain Brian Stephens.

This should be a very scary thought for Eureka.  Not the least of which was his very questionable leadership (or really lack thereof) in the Tommy McClain murder which the city was found liable in.  We’ve said it before but Eureka can’t forget, if not for Stephens lack of leadership Tommy McClain would be alive today.

Previous post on this topic:



But what does Eureka really know about Stephens?  Not much is publicly known, most of the info we’ve been receiving is from officers on the inside who know about all the cover-ups that have gone on at EPD.   Here’s some of the history from the information we’ve received about the lowlights of Stephens career:

Brian Stephens is a Southerner born in Kentucky, a conservative Christian who loves bourbon.  After working as a military policeman, Stephens moved from Kentucky to start his career as a police officer.  Stephens was hired at EPD in the late 90’s.  Stephens was hired around the same time as another infamous EPD Officer, Rodrigo Sanchez.  Within no time Stephens and Sanchez were BFF’s.

“We’re EPD and we kick ass”

The notorious Sanchez and Stephens’s team got quite a reputation on the street and within EPD.  They were feared on the street by citizens and suspects because of their heavy handed tactics and abuse.  They were liked by the “old guard” because they “kicked ass and took names”.  To this day, Stephens and Sanchez are best friends and would do anything for each other, including always covering up for their routine excessive use of force.

When promoted to Captain, Stephens touted his time at the Drug Task Force and as a Field Training Officer.  However, according to EPD employees, Stephens was in both those positions with a dark cloud around him.  As an FTO, there were accusations that he had inappropriate relations with a female trainee.  Along with that, Stephens was having sexual relations with a firefighter’s wife who caught Stephens in bed with his wife.  The firefighter was apparently upset, and Stephens pulled out his gun and allegedly threatened the firefighter and even reportedly pistol whipped him.  These incidents and others have been swept under the rug because of Stephens connections to the Old Guard at EPD (it should also be noted that the two officers at the center of the current Department of Justice investigation of the Coroner’s office, Frank Jager and then Dave Parris ran the detectives bureaus during Stephens early career).

After the alleged problems with female trainee’s and other people’s wives, Stephens was “promoted” to the Drug Task Force which consequently would keep him away from the female employees at EPD for awhile(kind like a priest getting moved to another parish).  Stephens took part in seizing property from drug dealers, so it should be interesting to see he gets caught up in the Department of Justice investigation surrounding Coroners Department.

Since Stephens was promoted to Captain, EPD has lost approximately 70% of their senior patrol officers to other agencies, and many of those officers left because of Stephens poor treatment of those he supervises.

Hopefully, the City Manager and City Council will look into who would be the best fit for the interim Chief position at EPD.   Mills wants as his parting gesture to promote a good ol’ boy from Dixieland, booze lovin’, bible thumpin’, gun pullin’ philanderer!

Is that what the citizens of Eureka want….we’d don’t think so!

Call or Email your council representative know as soon as possible to insist that Manager Greg Sparks block this move by Chief Mills

Marian Brady – 1st ward (707) 441-4169

Heidi Messner – 2nd  Ward  (707) 441-4168

Kim Bergel – Ward 3  (707) 441-4170

Austin Allison – Ward 4 (707) 441-4167

Natalie Arroyo – 5th Ward  (707) 441-4171

Nobody is safe, in the city of Eureka, NOBODY

With the real possibility of Captain Stephens the officer in charge of the whole Tommy McClain negligent killing debacle being named police chief, we present the following Guest Post from Robin Christofferson:

There’s a lot that the public was never told about the murder of Tommy McClain. For instance, he never got into an argument with the kid in the black truck. I myself have read the kids statement, and he said Tommy never said a word to him. And I also went to the trial, and that was what the whole entire trial was based on, that Tommy got in an argument with that kid. So that’s why they approached Tommy in the first place. That and they said he had a gun. Not true. First off if you’re a cop and your hiding in the back of a cemetery… in the world could you hear an argument, then see a gun…and hear the sound of a gun being racked? I’m pretty sure officer McElroy doesn’t have superpowers, but yet the jury believed him. Probably because of the kid in the black truck…nobody saw his statement…because if they did…then I’m pretty sure that the outcome of that civil trial…would have led to criminal charges. But now the trail is over, Tommy’s family have been given “the box” and in it is the truth. This family I love as my own. And they Will never give up…..until the truth about that night comes out. And that will be soon. But until then…nobody is safe, in the city of Eureka Ca. Nobody.

Note from the Examiner: The McClain family’s legal counsel was never allowed by the Judge to completely present its whole case with its witnesses or evidence to challenge the basic premise of this failed enforcement action.
Federal Judges in these type civil cases have broad discretion as to what they will allow or not allow into evidence. In this case, a number of these decisions made by the Judge were very helpful to the accused Police officers and basically cut the legs out from under the McClain family’s case.

We would also bring to your attention that the statements of witnesses and family members have remained consistent from the beginning, while the EPD changed their story several times early on.