Homeless People Still Endangered Across America

Another Attack in America’s Most Dangerous State

Fort Lauderdale, FL - On the night of October 3rd, just two days after the television news program “60 Minutes” aired a story discussing the rise in hate crimes against homeless people, another homeless person was beaten in Fort Lauderdale according to WTLV NBC-12 and WJXX ABC-25.  Mark Davis was attacked by four men in their early-20s with a golf club.  In 2005, a report released by the National Coalition for the Homeless declared Florida to be the most dangerous state for homeless people.  This latest assault is the third instance of attacks on homeless people reported in Fort Lauderdale this year.

California Reminds Homeless They Are Not Welcome

San Francisco, CA – The city of San Francisco dedicated two days to making sure their homeless populations don’t forget they are not wanted.  The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Thursday, September 28th, was spent ushering homeless people away from the Grand Opening of the new shopping center on Market Street, including one wheelchair-bound individual who was lingering too close to the Market Street door.  Area police denied the claims, stating homeless people left of their own accord.  Police  claim that  because the shopping center attracted a new clientele homeless people did not want to be around.  This was followed up on Friday, September 29th, with a sweep of the homeless in Golden Gate Park.

Campout at City Hall

Fresno, CA – Homeless and homeless advocates of the city of Fresno in California camped out on the steps of City Hall to protest the degrading treatment the city’s homeless population receives, as reported by the San Francisco Bay Area Independent Media Center.  Some grievances that initiated the campout include the taking and destroying of the personal possessions of homeless individuals as well as harassment from the police who frequently stop and search homeless people and force them to move from one location to another.  However, while the protestors woke up the following Sunday morning, the Fresno Police Department was busy trying to move an encampment in another part of downtown adjacent to highway 99.

Homeless Man on Trial for Resisting Arrest

Oxnard, CA – The Ventura County Star reports that the trial of Jose Martinez for resisting arrest began on Tuesday, October 24th.  Martinez was arrested on February 5th after being stopped for jaywalking.  When police stopped him to ask what he was doing, they found it suspicious that Martinez (who requires a translator at court hearings) responded with non-verbal gestures.  They searched him, checked his ID, and then restrained him when he attempted to run away.  One of the officers claimed Martinez kept pulling on the officer’s gun, so the officer punched him.  No fingerprints, blood, or DNA were found on the officer’s gun.

LA Metropolitan Medical Center Dumping Homeless Patients

Los Angeles, CA – The LAPD told the Los Angeles Times that the Los Angeles Metropolitan Medical Center dropped off discharged homeless persons in LA’s Skid Row area, even though some of the patients said they did not want to be taken there.  One patient who was dropped off in the Skid Row area had asked if he could be dropped off at his son’s house.  One of the ambulance drivers involved in the incidents claimed to have been hired to regularly drop off discharged homeless persons in this area of downtown.  The hospital could be held in violation of the federal Emergency Medical Transfer and Active Labor Act as well as charged with false imprisonment.

Macon Discusses Panhandling, Again

Macon, GA – More than a year after a similar proposal was shot down by city council, Macon Councilwoman Nancy White again proposed a panhandling ordinance for Macon’s downtown areas according to WMAZ-TV.  Backed by area businesses, White’s proposal regulates “aggressive” panhandling in an attempt to make downtown Macon more attractive.  The previous proposal, introduced by Councilman Mike Cranford, was rejected by city council because it applied only to downtown Macon and did not address the growing panhandling problem throughout the entire city.

Homeless Moved to Build Homes

San Bernadino, CA – The San Bernadino Sun reports that in an attempt to move homeless people out of Seccombe Lake Park, City leaders have decided to turn the area into a gated residential community.  The City plans to vacate homeless people from the park when construction begins on the new homes.  Assembly Bill 1457, introduced by Assemblyman Joe Baca Jr., cedes 12.5 acres of the park to local control.

Judge Issues Restraining Order Against City of Fresno

Fresno, CA – According to KFSN-TV Fresno, a judge has signed a restraining order against the city of Fresno for taking the personal belongings of homeless people and immediately destroying them while tearing down homeless encampments.  Any personal belongings gathered by the city must now be put in storage for up to 90 days.

UCPD Not Like LAPD

Los Angeles, CA – As the LAPD begins to crackdown on the homeless situation in their Skid Row area, UCLA has taken an opposing stance, according to the Daily Bruin.  The campus police said in the article that they see no reason to arrest homeless people on the UCLA campus as long as they are not creating a disturbance.  Meanwhile, the LAPD continues to stringently enforce a no sleeping policy by ticketing homeless persons in downtown Los Angeles.

Copyright Homeless Grapevine Issue 79 December 2006-January 2007, Cleveland Ohio.