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Monday, Nov. 20, 2006 at 10:39 AM
email@example.com (310) 883-3288 WorkingDemocracy! c/o LACEHH; 520 S. Virgil St. #300 Los Angeles,CA 90020
Homeless Activists in LA dive bomb City Attorney's Press Conference exposing LAPD "Broken Windows" mass arrests. Group demands meeting with Mayor Villariagosa. (video, 3 minutes)
One day after helping to deliver, according to last Friday’s,
11/17/06 banner, front-page headline in Los Angeles’ second largest newspaper, the Daily News, a “beating” to Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo --at a dramatic Union Rescue Mission press conference that was called by the city to announce yet another highly-publicized lawsuit over hospital “dumping” on Skid Row --a coalition, currently led by a homeless activist from the group WorkingDemocracy! is denouncing the City’s dumping lawsuits as a fraud and a waste; and that the numbers prove that they are a part of a citywide massive cover-up of LAPD’s own, recent, and unprecedented, “broken windows” arrests on Skid Row.
( see also http://dailynews.com/news/ci_4675575 )
The coalition of homeless activists, which helped bring last Friday’s press conference to a dramatic halt is calling now for a face-to-face meeting with Los Angeles Mayor
Antonio Villaraigosa to deal with police issues on Skid Row.
Under the guise of a theory touted by LAPD Police Chief William Bratton as “Broken Windows” policing, in the last three months, LAPD preliminary arrest figures for the Skid Row area, also obtained by WorkingDemocracy! at community meeting later arranged through the City Attorney’s own staff, Friday, shows that while the city is very publicly fighting against six cases of alleged hospital “dumping” on Skid Row, a city campaign that has now received international media coverage –Bratton, at the LAPD, has in fact, directed the biggest campaign of mass-arrest of homeless people in the entire history of Los Angeles.
At the City Attorney Staff’s arranged meeting, which also took place the Skid Row “Union Rescue Mission,” Skid Row’s LAPD Central Division LAPD Captain Andy
Smith, using department records, stated that in the last roughly three months --in a huge arrest rampage of pretext stops for minor offenses like sleeping on the sidewalk, and jay-walking --the LAPD has arrested 2,157 homeless people.
This is the most arrests ever for any three-month period in Los Angeles’ entire history of Skid Row.
And it is currently involving foot, car and motorcycle –and even huge numbers of horse-mounted police and dump trucks --combing skid row in daily waves of arrests.
According to statements at the meeting made by Captain
Smith, out of a total of 1,066, specifically ”narcotics” arrests, Smith says, only 700 will be prosecuted; suggesting lack of real evidence of dealing or drug-connected violence in any of these cases; and, further, flat-out contradicting the massive publicity from the city and Smith himself in the months leading up to the present, unprecedented, Skid Row police crackdown --that it would "only" target serious drug-related crime; and repeated promises from city officials that mere drug users would not be targeted on Skid Row.
200 of the arrests included DEA law-enforcement --suggesting, in reality, that only a small minority of the overall arrests involved any heavy criminal drug activity whatsoever.
Captain Smith brazenly defended the numbers; claiming that the 900 other homeless people in these statistics, who most often have been searched and warrant checked originally for small offenses like merely sleeping or
even sitting on the sidewalk --this under a controversial city ordiance 41.18(d) that was recently labeled “cruel and unusal” by a Federal Court; and they, the homeless, were thereafter “taken down to the station to see the ‘social worker;’” --further suggesting few of the arrests, either, were for violence. Smith says that out of all the arrests, moreover, only 50 were actually made for vioilating the sidewalk ordiance.
Importantly, also, the overall figures do not also include any of the stops that the police did not classify as arrests –often including these searches, interrogations, and warrant checks. When asked about this, Smith stated that they, these “encounters,” might even out-number “arrests” by as much as five times or more.
The WorkingDemocracy! coalition is calling for official written release by LAPD of further comprehensive details of all of these arrests, “encounters,” and outcomes.
The activist coalition charges that it’s own month-long investigation shows that those found with mere drug possession (as opposed to sales), and in need of effective drug treatment, in these massive sweeps and searches --or often in checks for things like minor jay-walking
warrants --have been unlawfully held, searched, and heavily coerced by police thereafter to “voluntarily” enter mostly religious-run shelters; and be subjected to heavy, mostly Protestant, mostly fundamentalist, religious indoctrination; or be sent to jail.
Many more of Skid Row’s homeless people, have now also repeatedly been subjected to prolonged, intentionally intrusive, pressuring, and harassing questioning by
police --under the guise of these “encounters” on the street --or had their possessions unlawfully taken from them; or callously left behind during these “Broken Windows” procedures; as is confirmed in numerous community videotapes made in recent weeks by the grassroots group Los Angeles Community Action Network (LA CAN).
States WorkingDemocracy! member David Busch, (Bush) “What’s really going on Skid Row is not merely a few cases of over-publicized “hospital dumping”; I myself even have the paperwork from the fire department to show that the
city is still ‘dumping’ people at the county hospital in
greater numbers than the hospital dumping on the Row –that’s what I confronted Delgadillo with at the press conference and want him held accountable for --and that the story, even beyond this, is, really, a massive, shocking, failure of recent policing; and a massive violation of homeless people’s rights that is almost totally being ignored under the reporting of local hospitals’ ‘dumping.’”
Busch himself is homeless; and has lived on and off Skid Row since 1999; and it was he who finally helped make the Daily News headlines on the issue --with his dramatic confrontation of Delgadillo.
Busch, obviously homeless, threadbare, and clad in a serape, speaking out along with reporters, at Friday’s Union Rescue Mission press conference, and brandishing evidence, brought the conference to a hushed and rapt halt with his charges.
Bratton’s “Broken Windows” theory was first heavily criticized and even attacked as a “police state” tactic --when he used it as a Police Chief in New York, and before coming to Los Angeles.
Hospitals have also charged in the Daily News that Delgadillo’s office rushed the lawsuits --and refused to negotiate solutions.
Says Busch, a leading Los Angeles area activist who, last year, was chosen by the Lincoln Place Tenants Association in Venice to help fight high-profile evictions there: “The City’s forced lawsuits over patient dumping have been mere cover-up. What Skid Row really needs is more day beds for the sick; not Rocky’s pernicious hospital lawsuits and callous political exploitation of homeless people: and now Bratton’s sweeps.“
States Busch, “These arrests are the real story and we must get it out –and they are simply beyond precedent in scope and violation of homeless peoples' rights here in Los Angeles. ‘Broken Windows’ is a failure these numbers from the police now prove it –and we at WorkingDemocracy! demand that the Mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa meet with community activists from WorkingDemocracy!, and LA CAN, and others in our coalition immediately next week --and that he must review first-hand these numbers, and our video, and written evidence, of this massive campaign of harassment and arrests of homeless people by Bratton; and that the Mayor call an end to these “broken windows” sweeps. We want real law enforcement by peace officers, not this --a police state for the homeless on Skid Row. And we demand that the mayor insist Skid Row providers set more day beds aside for the sick on Skid Row --immediately.”
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