City not enforcing all it could against Occupy Tucson
TPD says it doesn't want to pile on all the violations it could. Police have focused on after hours violations because they are easy to prove Video by kgun9.comvideo
Tucson City Code clearly prevents tents in city parks unless you have a permit. City government has decided it's best not to cite Occupy Tucson protesters for all possible infractions
Reporter: Craig Smith
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Wednesday was day 57 of the Occupy Tucson movement.
KGUN9 on Your Side has been hearing from viewers who support Occupy, and some who ask why the city hasn't been more aggressive, and applied more laws to clear out the park.
We looked at the Tucson City Code and found the Occupy encampment does seem to be breaking more laws than the rule against being in the park after hours.
9 Wants To Know why those laws are not enforced.
We looked at the parks ordinance alone and found it forbids a lot of things going on in plain sight. That rubbed some of our viewers the wrong way so we asked why the city is enforcing parts of the law but not others.
There are plenty of signs, and tents at the Occupy encampment. They're illegal without the proper permits. In fact a mass gathering is illegal without permits, even if the gathering is political. But the city has focused on citing occupiers for being in the park after hours.
Downtown is in Councilmember Steve Kozachik's ward. He says, "Everybody in the community needs to understand and the occupy people need to understand the city is being absolutely lenient with them; and the string's running out quite frankly. They're pushing the envelope, they're climbing trees. They're forming human chains and they're forcing arrests by refusing to sign citations."
Tucson Police say as a policy they're trying not to pile on a wide variety of violations. They have some discretion on what they will cite people for. They've focused on the rule to be out of the park by 10:30 because that violation is clear cut and easy to prove. A police spokesperson says in fact the rule for Veinte de Agosto Park says no one should be here after dark but police have stuck to the 10:30 time because occupiers were already familiar with that time from when they were at Armory Park which does use the 10:30 rule.
Occupiers were eager to show us a class in peaceful expression though some were reluctant to talk on camera.
Jeffrey Pearse did talk and said he understands the city has been patient.
"I think the city is being kind here at Occupy Tucson. I think they're being kind to the people as well. I've got to really praise the city of Tucson honestly, whole heartedly. I love this city. Its a beautiful city, the council they have come down and become participants of Occupy Tucson."
The parks ordinance forbids food distribution without a permit from the county health department. Occupy actually had a permit for its food operation at its original site at Armory Park but it does not have for it's new location.