Police Officer Brags of Harassing Homeless

Dear Editor,

     I spent this weekend at my nephew’s second birthday party. In my company, among others, was my cousin, a Cleveland police officer. The way that he told the following story, however, with his proud smile and expectations that the room full of family would be impressed with his actions, shocked me more than I thought possible. He shared his accomplishments of waking all the homeless men who sleep near the corner of East 17th Street and Euclid Avenue (if I remember correctly) by blaring his sirens and honking his horn at 4:00 A.M. just for the sake of waking them for his personal amusement.

     Correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought the mission of the Cleveland Police Force was to "Protect and Serve." I never knew that either this did not include the homeless citizens of Cleveland or that in addition, it meant disturbing those who have nowhere to go at 4:00 A.M. Possibly, this is something of which we, the concerned citizens of Cuyahoga County, should be aware.

     Despite the pompous and yet cowardly attitudes of the ‘important people’ of Cleveland who we teach our children to respect and trust, I encourage the staff, volunteers and supporters of The Homeless Grapevine to continue their efforts to protect and serve the homeless and severely low income; and to personally question their friends, family and peers about their views and what they are doing to make Cleveland a better place to live in and visit.

Staci Santa

Santa was an AmeriCorps*VISTA for NEOCH from 1996-7.

Copyright NEOCH and the Homeless Grapevine published 1998 Issue 25