After setting up a table at Civic Center Plaza this afternoon to do voter registration, an Occupy San Diego organizer was arrested by police for “trespass and refusing to leave”.
At approximately 1:30 pm, Ray Lutz was sitting at a table with several signs stating “Register to vote”, and was in the process of registering a man, when a half dozen police officers approached him – including Captain Mark Jones – . They hovered over the table, examining some of the documents next to Ray – who also had his laptop with him – and then proceeded to place him under arrest.
One of the arresting officers stated that he was being arrested for “trespassing and refusing to leave”. (UPDATE: The formal charges are 52.80.01(A) Municipal Code; TRESPASS on PRIVATE BUSINESS PREMISES);
Ray had set his table up on the north side of Freedom Plaza to do his voter registration. Lutz is a former President of the East County Democratic Club and former candidate for Congress and California State Assembly. He has been a visible organizer of the Occupy San Diego movement, having organized at least one event where a hundred protesters attended a City Council meeting. He certainly is known by the sergeant and police captain who participated in his arrest.
Press Conference tonight: There will be a press conference at the Plaza tonight, Tuesday, at 7:30 pm. to air this issue.
Just yesterday, Lutz had sent a letter to the owners and managers of the Civic Center Plaza Office Building that, in part, expresses concerns of the use of the area which is designated as private property around the building by the public for peaceful political activity. See the full text of Ray’s letter at Citizens’ Oversight Projects (COPs).
Ironically, earlier this month at an “new immigrant” ceremony at the Community Concourse, there were two booths set up to register new voters. Each had a large tarp and table and set unmolested by the SDPD for hours.