[Hpn] LA Homeless PROTEST / Police sweeps for Democrat Convention?

Tom Boland wgcp@earthlink.net
Sat, 24 Jun 2000 12:47:49 -0700 (PDT)

What strategies might activists use
to help to prevent or deter
"Street Sweeps" of homeless people by police
during "high profile" events?

A related article appears below:

FWD  Assciated Press - AP Wire Service - Jun 19, 2000


            LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Nine activists staged a sit-down
demonstration outside a police station Monday to protest what they
claim is a stepped-up effort to clear the streets of homeless
people before the Democratic National Convention in August.

``It happened before, when the pope came, and during the
Olympics,'' said Alice Callaghan, a homeless advocate, who sat with
the others outside the Central police station to test how the
city's anti-loitering ordinance would be enforced.

``Even though they don't expect delegates on Skid Row, they
don't want people driving through and seeing people sleeping on the
streets'' during the convention, she said.

Fliers were posted in the Skid Row area Sunday night warning the
homeless about penalties for sitting on the sidewalk, Callaghan

``People have always sat on the sidewalk, and all of the sudden
they posted signs that say you will be cited or arrested.''

Police said the ordinance has been enforced routinely for years,
and they denied having anything to do with the fliers.

``I don't know where that flier came from,'' said Lt. Charles
Evans, the station's watch commander. ``We've been enforcing that
ordinance for the past 15 years. There is no nexus between what
we've been doing and the DNC.''

Any increase in enforcement can be attributed to more homeless
people on the street, Evans said.

``It's interesting that in an economy that's flourishing, it's
not flourishing for everyone,'' he said.

Police did not cite the protesters for sitting on the sidewalk.
Callaghan said that was evidence of selective enforcement.

``It's only illegal if you're impeding pedestrian traffic and if
people complain,'' Evans said.

AP-WS-06-19-00 1813EDT
Received  Id AP10017160A0216E on Jun 19 2000 17:25


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