[Hpn] Fw: Advocates fear wave of homeless murders

Bill Tinker wtinker@fcgnetworks.net
Thu, 08 Jun 2000 19:03:41 -0400


************GROUP FORWARDED FOR YOUR INFORMATION************
I hope that does not cause  rash of attacks on our displaced
populations,because some times these hate crimes are not investigated as
ardently as if it was a police officers death!
A Brother Bill
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----- Original Message -----
From: Graeme Bacque <gbacque@idirect.com>
To: HOMELESS DISCUSSION LIST <homeless@csf.colorado.edu>
Sent: Tuesday, June 06, 2000 9:25 AM
Subject: Advocates fear wave of homeless murders


> Advocates fear wave of homeless murders
>
> Police have no leads in Sunday's killing,
> but attacks on Toronto's street people over the past few months
> mimic U.S. hate crimes
>
> MARGARET PHILP
> The Globe and Mail
>
> Tuesday, June 6, 2000
>
> Toronto -- The murder of a homeless man, whose throat was slashed in a
> downtown Toronto bus shelter late Sunday night, has left police baffled
and
> advocates fearing that homeless people are becoming the newest target for
> vicious hate crimes.
>
> Adrian Vernon Fillmore, 50, was at least the second homeless person to die
> on Toronto's streets in the past few weeks in a seemingly unprovoked
> attack. A bearded and bespectacled native of New Brunswick, Mr. Fillmore
> had claimed the bus shelter on the sidewalk outside an Ontario government
> office building as his home.
>
> The grizzled Mr. Fillmore, who had become a familiar fixture to
condominium
> residents near the Bay and Wellesley intersection, was discovered late
> Sunday night, lying in a pool of blood, by a passerby who immediately
> called police. Paramedics arrived minutes later and pronounced him dead
> shortly after midnight.
>
> All day yesterday, police cordoned off the sidewalk and blood-soaked
> shelter with yellow tape. Investigators are scrutinizing videotape
> recordings from remote surveillance cameras mounted in nearby buildings,
> but police are at a loss for suspects, a motive or even the sort of sharp
> weapon that sliced through Mr. Fillmore's neck.
>
> "Unfortunately, at this point, not knowing what happened, I can't really
> determine a motive. There is no obvious motive jumping out," said
Detective
> Sergeant Jeff McGuire, the lead homicide investigator.
>
> "I don't know how many people are involved. I really don't have any
> information about a suspect."
>
> Mr. Fillmore left New Brunswick for the streets of Toronto about six years
> ago. His siblings back home were notified yesterday of his death.
>
> Such a cold-blooded murder was all the more shocking because it followed
on
> the heels of a series of savage attacks on homeless people over the past
> several months.
>
> In the past two weeks, a homeless man was bludgeoned to death at
University
> and Dundas streets and a woman, who only a few days before had been turned
> away from a packed homeless shelter, was shot at point-blank range in the
> Moss Park public-housing development.
>
> And only a month ago, a 40-year-old homeless man sleeping on a park bench
> in Nathan Phillips Square outside Toronto's City Hall lost his right baby
> finger and suffered head injuries when we was attacked with an axe in the
> middle of the night.
>
> Shortly before Christmas, a mentally ill man wandering under the Gardiner
> Expressway suffered severe burns after being set on fire by a gang of
> squeegee kids.
>
> Violence and death are hardly foreign to people living on Toronto streets,
> but until this latest rash of attacks, the assailants would almost always
> turn out to be other homeless people battling over turf or an insult
hurled
> in a drunken stupor.
>
> Det. Sgt. McGuire said police will investigate a possible connection
> between Mr. Fillmore's death and other recent assaults on homeless people.
>
> "It's certainly a possibility we'll look at," he said. "There does not
seem
> to be any connection. Certainly it's not something we've ruled out."
>
> But advocates for homeless people are starting to fret that the influence
> of a spate of hate crimes against homeless people reported in the United
> States during the past year is creeping across the border.
>
> Over the course of several months last fall, seven homeless people were
> stabbed and beaten to death in Denver -- two of them decapitated -- by
> roving gangs of teenagers and youths in their early twenties who would
> otherwise pass their time hanging out at downtown malls.
>
> In all, there were at least 39 known cases of homeless people killed in
> unprovoked attacks in cities across the United States last year, according
> to the National Coalition for the Homeless in Washington. And the
> perpetrators convicted were invariably deadbeat youths.
>
> "It's definitely a trend here in the States," said Michael Stoops, the
> coalition's community organizer.
>
> "We have been lobbying unsuccessfully so far to have homelessness added to
> federal hate-crimes legislation. We all remember the young gay man killed
> in Wyoming. And the black man in Texas, dragged behind a pick-up truck.
But
> the fact that 39 homeless people were killed for being homeless by a gang
> of teenagers goes unnoticed."
>
> As homelessness has grown in the United States, people have become
hardened
> to stepping over others huddled on street corners, governments have
adopted
> a hard line against panhandling and sleeping in parks and the climate has
> become ripe for homeless people to be victimized, Mr. Stoops said.
>
> "Homeless people are out there, and people see them, and they're real easy
> to pick on."
>
> It is a pattern familiar in Toronto, where the province and city police
> service have cracked down on squeegee kids, panhandling and bedding down
in
> parks.
>
> "It's like a pump of adrenalin or a pump of testosterone to people who are
> maybe angry or unable to control themselves," said long-time street nurse
> Cathy Crowe. "The message is coming from above, allowing a tolerance for
> this kind of behaviour."
>
> "We didn't use to see [murders], and now we're seeing a clumping of
incidents."
>
> With hundreds of shelter beds closing now that the winter season is over,
> more people will be sleeping on Toronto streets and vulnerable to vicious
> attacks, she said.
>
>