After sixteen months of attending court, the two men who committed a felony hate crime against our community in their vandalism of the Black Lives Matter mural have pled “no contest” to all charges. Their sentencing hearing is set for November 18th, 2022, at 10am in Department 6 of the Santa Cruz County Courthouse, with Judge Syda Cogliati presiding. The Santa Cruz Equity Collab is encouraging our community to show up to court on that day.
When they pled “no contest” on October 24th, 2022, the court indicated that their sentence would include: each man paying up to $10,000 in restitution, a number that is about five times less than the estimated value of the mural; their attendance of a “racial sensitivity class” or professional therapy, which the Judge referred to as a “unique” requirement for our county; 144 hours each of community service; and two years of probation, with the option to ask for their felony to be reduced to a misdemeanor after one year.
For the Santa Cruz Equity Collab, restorative justice would look like this: both defendants are ordered to be physically present for the sentencing hearing; community service that includes—but is not limited to—being part of the painting and planning process in restoring the mural, attending all community discussions, speeches, and educational opportunities associated with the mural and a presentation of a public apology to the community in attendance at the restoration event; participation in the Victim-Offender Dialogue Program through the Conflict Resolution Center; participation in weekly professional therapy for at least two years; payment of the estimated value of the mural in full as restitution; participation in a racial justice training/workshop that the Santa Cruz Equity Collab has co-created and/or co-facilitated and/or have the opportunity to research and weigh in on the choice of training/workshop; and at least five years of probation, during which they are not able to purchase firearms.
This is our opportunity to choose progress within this system through a restorative justice model; to explicitly show the defendants and our community that we both understand and deeply care about the harm that has been perpetrated through this hate crime, and the need for true amends to be made; and to publicly demonstrate that, as a community, we will not tolerate hateful, racist behavior. We appreciate the community and City Council’s ongoing support in pursuing justice in this case, and for generally being on fire for social justice in Santa Cruz.
SC Equity Collab | Santa Cruz
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