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Occupy cause lands Newcastle man in Sacramento jail

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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A Newcastle man’s support for the Occupy Wall Street movement and what it stands for landed him in a Sacramento jail cell this week. Carlos de la Fuente took a stand inside Sacramento’s Cesar Chavez Plaza late Monday after a curfew was enforced to clear Occupy Sacramento campers out. De la Fuente, 73, was soon visited by six Sacramento Police officers and arrested on an allegation of violating city regulations banning being in the downtown park after it had closed for the night. He joined 31 others cited in a round of civil disobedience. The city initially let protesters camp at the park. De la Fuente, an attorney and former Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy, was poised to fight the charge but found himself out of a case Wednesday when the Sacramento City Attorney’s Office decided to drop charges against protesters who broke the curfew rule. De la Fuente, who spent two hours in jail before being released early Tuesday, said he’ll be backing the movement again Thursday when Occupy Auburn holds a one-day protest downtown. Occupy Auburn is symbolic of problems that have developed in the United States that threaten the middle class, he said. “I really feel there’s something going terribly wrong in our country,” De la Fuente said. “There are the super wealthy and there are the families who don’t have enough to eat.” De la Fuente said he’ll be at Thursday’s Occupy Auburn event because he’s concerned about his own community as well as the nation. “I’m fortunate to have a nice, comfortable middle-class life and a nice home in the foothills but how can I not be doing anything about what’s happening?” De la Fuente asked. “”People don’t have enough to eat. I’m listening to my daughter’s friends who have huge, huge debts after they received an education. Yet the sale of luxury items is the best it’s been in years.” De La Fuente said he visited the Occupy Sacramento location at Cesar Chavez Plaza and learned about the concerns of the people there. When they were forced out, he said he wanted to step up and show he objected. “I’d never been in jail before but I will continue to object,” De la Fuente said. De la Fuente planned to represent himself in court and take his case, if necessary, to a jury trial. By Wednesday, faced with courts clogged with protesters fighting citations, city officials in Sacramento decided to back down. De la Fuente’s daughter, Valentina de la Fuente said she’s proud of her father’s stand and supports Thursday’s Occupy Auburn. “He still has that fire for what he believes in,” she said. “He has inspired a lot of people, including myself.”