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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: Santa Cruz Indymedia | Police State and Prisons
SCPD Deputy Chief of Police Steve Clark retires
The Santa Cruz Police Department suddenly announced the retirement of Deputy Chief of Police Steve Clark on December 16 for reasons not disclosed to the public other than the length of his time with the department. Following the announcement Clark has been widely criticized in the community for being both physically and verbally confrontational in the past, and for targeting political opponents with smear campaigns and other bullying tactics. Clark has been accused of assault by at least one local activist. In 2005 Becky Johnson detailed several other abusive incidents involving Clark at that time.
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There were many positive comments left about Steve Clark on SCPD's Facebook page post about his retirement, but elsewhere on social media people reacted to news of Clark's retirement quite differently. One person said with one word he was "rude".
Others made the following quotes:
"Finally - thankfully !!!"
"Guy called me a "window licker" and said I wasnt allowed downtown anymore."
"Hallefuckinglujah. Clark is THE MOST CORRUPT COP I've ever had the misfortune to know. Coming from a person with family members who are LE, he's a disgrace to the badge. Too bad he gets a fat retirement pension. He deserves a jail cell. Nothing but disgust for that man. Good riddance."
"Thankfully Deputy Chief Clark has retired and the work to restore trust in the department can begin. How and what that might look like will remain to be seen."
When hearing of Clark's retirement, homeless advocate Robert Norse recalled how he had been assaulted and threatened by Clark at a Santa Cruz City Council Meeting.
Norse said: "This was the only time a police officer ever physically assaulted me in my long experience with the SCPD. Clark was never held accountable and, as we know, rose instead (or descended--depending on how you look at it) to Deputy Vice-Chief."
Others cited Clark's inappropriate smear campaign against City Council Candidate Leonie Sherman, and prior to that he targeted Micah Posner.
Clark was also criticized for his public comments made about a legal case involving the so-called "Harbor Hooker". Clark made the national news when he was interviewed on "48 Hours" making claims that the defendant in the case was a "cold blooded killer" despite the fact she had not been brought to justice in a court of law.
One particularly odd reaction to Clark's retirement came in the form of quotes from Analicia Cube, the founder of the police-support organization, Take Back Santa Cruz. Take Back Santa Cruz has donated a lot of money to the Santa Cruz Police Department. Cube was interviewed by the Santa Cruz Sentinel for an article about Clark's retirement.
“I think he lent humor in times when we needed it and he lent a strong presence in times where we needed him to be that, too,” Cube told the Sentinel.
“He was able to transcend boundaries using his personality. That’s so important right now in our society: to humanize being a police officer,” Cube told the Sentinel.
“He was so personable,” Cube told the Sentinel.
There wasn't any critique of Clark in the retirement article, but the Sentinel later published a letter to the editor written by local community leaders Ron Pomerantz, Peter Gelblum, Lee Brokaw, Abbi Samuels, Frank Shinneman, Grant Wilson, Harry Meserve. It was titled: "Police will be better off with Clark retired". The letter complained: "The Sentinel’s front-page article about the retirement of Police Deputy Chief Steve Clark contained nothing substantive about him or the pall he cast over the SCPD for many years." (Read more: http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/opinion/20161228/letters-dec-29-2016-more-to-postal-delivery-problems-than-meets-the-eye)
Less than one week after the announcement of Clark's retirement SCPD Lt. Dan Flippo was named as his replacement as Deputy Chief. Flippo has only been a Lieutenant since 2012 when he was promoted from the rank of Sergeant, though prior to that Flippo served 11 years as Sergeant in the SCPD.
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