Police order Occupy SLO to stop lodging
November 21, 2011
By KAREN VELIE
Occupy SLO protesters agreed to stop sleeping at the county courthouse after San Luis Obispo police officers served a third notice on the campers at about 10:30 p.m. on Friday.
The Nov. 18 notice of violation demands protesters stop lodging on county property under penal code 647(e), a misdemeanor. The law forbids lodging at the courthouse without the permission of its owner, the county.
“Effective immediately, you must cease and desist from any lodging on the county government center property and you must remove all tents, sleeping bags, tarps, cooking facilities and equipment and any other lodging material from the property,” the notice says. “You will be subject to arrest and seizure of your property if you continue to lodge here.”
In response, most of the protestors removed their tents from the courthouse entrance and all of the protestors present at the time agreed to stop sleeping at the site. Instead, protestor Miles Berret said the group has agreed to continue their 24- hour demonstration in shifts while sleeping elsewhere.
“We are going to continue having the kiosk and the political discussion,” Berret said. “I am shocked they used penal code 647 so late.”
And while the protestors noted the professionalism of the two San Luis Obispo Police officers who served the notice, they said portions of the demand letter are not based on law — specifically, the section that tells the protestors the county will not interfere with their First Amendment right to demonstrate and assemble while providing hours is not based on law.
“The county of San Luis Obispo, the San Luis Obispo County sheriff, and the county administrator support and protect the right of all individuals to engage in free speech and exercise their right to assemble during business hours,” the notice signed by County Administrator Jim Grant reads.