Coalition on Homelessness, SF coh@sfo.com
Thu, 27 Jul 2000 23:21:31 -0700

>Date: Wed, 26 Jul 2000 18:43:13 -0700
>To: coh@sfo.com
>From: "Coalition on Homelessness, SF" <coh@sfo.com>
>wm@videoactivism.org, Homewardnews@geocities.com, 
>gnn@grassrootsnews.org, sfzcoutreach@yahoo.com, 
>homelessworld@blazingstar.org, NHhomeless@egroups.com, 
>dwellej@aol.com, poormag@sirius.com, editor@sfbayview.com, 
>spirit@afsc.org, malin.speace@situationstockholm.se, 
>steve@unite-to-fight.org, rggoudy@pathlink.com, vandu@vcn.bc.ca, 
>The Nazis stunned France in WWII by using the silence and novelty of 
>gliders to attack one of their "impenetrable" fortresses and 
>conquered it in less than a day. In the Haight-Ashbury, new Park 
>Station commander Captain Dudley has decided to use the same tactics 
>of silence and novelty to besiege poor and homeless people in the 
>Haight during these past two and a half months.
>That's right - a full-blown homeless sweep has been going on for the 
>past ten weeks. How can a homeless sweep have been in effect for two 
>months with zero press coverage? Because the City is not 
>confiscating homeless peoples' property as it has in the past.
>For years, the San Francisco Police Department's standard 
>operational procedure for attacking homeless people has routinely 
>included property sweeps and confiscation. Perhaps one might 
>remember the Golden Gate Park/Alvord Lake sweeps at the end of '97 
>when the Coalition videotaped Recreation and Park workers gleefully 
>tearing shopping carts out of the hands of homeless "running away 
>for their lives" kids while they were crying and screaming. 
>Something easier to remember is duh Mayor's botched shopping cart 
>sweep during his re-election campaign last fall - botched because 
>for some reason the City freaks out over property confiscation (not 
>to mention a certain organization finding out about it and informing 
>the public). Thus, someone or someones from the SFPD and/or the 
>Mayor's office decided to implement the novel idea of not 
>confiscating property to enable the police to silently launch a 
>sweep of homeless people by not calling attention to their 
>One of the main elements of sweeps that the police are using is 
>good, old-fashioned violence (big surprise!). During the last few 
>weeks a number of homeless youth have reported being threatened with 
>bodily violence by police officers if they do not leave the Haight 
>and Golden Gate Park. We know of three youth beaten or roughed up by 
>the Hate Street police - one of them getting beaten up a second time 
>after filing an OCC complaint, or perhaps because he filed an OCC 
>complaint - the youth withdrew that complaint after his second 
>beating. Another novel element of this sweep is apparently being 
>conducted by the new Park Station Captain Dudley (another 
>surprise!). He has launched a disinformation campaign where he and 
>his officers blatantly lie about the various laws that the police 
>routinely enforce on the streets (gee, cops lying - now there's a 
>Here is a collection of Captain Dudley's most purile prevarications:
>Lie: If a person is standing on the sidewalk and someone has to 
>deviate from their path to walk around the person, then the person 
>is in violation of 22 MPC - Obstructing the Sidewalk - and the 
>police can move the person on or cite them.
>Truth: SFPD General Order 6.11 on enforcement of 22 MPC, section E.3 
>(7/27/94) states:  "'Obstruction' means intentionally (italics mine) 
>placing one's body in the normal path of a person's approach causing 
>the person's 'free movement' to be obstructed. Causing a slight 
>deviation in a pedestrian's path does not necessarily constitute an 
>illegal obstruction, nor does the mere presence of a person on a 
>sidewalk. A street or sidewalk cannot be obstructed, only a person."
>Lie: Municipal Police Code Section 25 "No Trespassing" notices cover 
>an area from a business' doorway that is inset off the public 
>sidewalk all the way to the curb.
>Truth: MPC 25 only applies to private property - the doorway inset 
>off the street (and this definition is according to the last 
>commander of Park Station, Captain Newlin). If a person is not in 
>the private doorway and is solely on the public sidewalk, then the 
>person is not in violation of an MPC 25 notice.
>Lie: If a person is walking around on public sidewalks with a sign 
>on a stick, the police may confiscate the sign on a stick because 
>the stick is a weapon.
>Truth: Apparently, Captain Dudley has lost his mind in the same 
>black hole where his integrity vanished years ago. What's the 
>difference between a sign on a broomhandle and a brush on a 
>broomhandle? Is Captain Dudley going to confiscate brooms from 
>workfare workers and HANC's community street sweepers next? He was 
>actually simple-minded enough to tell a group of us about how he 
>confiscated a protest sign from someone walking down the street 
>because the stick could be used as a weapon. Perhaps Captain Dudley 
>never heard of the First Amendment. Perhaps he feels, as so many 
>cops do these days, that the Constitution is merely a barrier to 
>establishing an effective police state.
>A third element of the sweep is citing people with "quality of 
>housed life" citations (super surprise!!!). Citing people, that is, 
>regardless of whether any law is actually being broken. For example, 
>some merchants post yellow "MPC 25 No Trespassing" notices to inform 
>people that they may not be in the doorway inset off the sidewalk 
>while their business is closed. Police have been using that notice 
>and code to cite people who are on the public sidewalk at the side 
>of a building which has no doorways at all! They also have been 
>using the MPC 25 notice to tell people that they can't lean up 
>against a building or be anywhere in front of the business. Telling 
>people that MPC 25 notices mean people can't be anywhere in front of 
>a business is ludicrous. I guess window shopping is now illegal in 
>the Haight. Or could it be that this enforcement policy applies only 
>to homeless and poor-looking people?
>However dismal and banal all this may sound, the Haight is fighting 
>back. As one of the most progressive neighborhoods in the City, 
>concerned residents are demanding an accounting of the police 
>department's activities. Service providers want the police to stop 
>preventing the people they are trying to help from reaching them. 
>People are most upset because if police are doing more harassment of 
>homeless people, then Dudley Do-Little about serious crime. 
>Neighborhood people are also calling on experts in police 
>accountability to come to the Haight and help turn the tide of the 
>Want to help stop Park Station's latest homeless people sweep? There 
>are many things you can do. Walk the Haight. Stop and watch whenever 
>the police accost someone. Write their badge numbers down. Get 
>trained in documenting police misconduct with video equipment. Call 
>the Mayor, members of the Board of Supervisors, and Captain Dudley 
>himself to express your outrage and concern. And of course, call the 
>Coalition on Homelessness at (415) 346-3740 to learn when you can 
>attend our next Civil Rights Project staff meeting and get current 
>information on these activities, and to join our StreetWatch video 
>documentation team.
>The time to stop someone like Hitler is in 1932, not 1939. Get involved today!

Coalition on Homelessness, San Francisco
468 Turk St.
San Francisco, CA 94102
vox: (415) 346.3740
Fax: (415) 775.5639