[Hpn] LAPD Harassing Homeless, ACLU Charges In Federal Lawsuit Filed 20 Nov 2000 fw 2000 fw

Tom Boland wgcp@earthlink.net
Tue, 21 Nov 2000 18:11:46 -0800 (PST)

ACLU's latest Press Releases appear at:

Two related articles follow, from LA Times and KCBS:

FWD  Los Angeles Times - Tuesday, November 21, 2000



Activists say crackdown on minor infractions is unconstitutional.
LAPD says enforcement came in response to a rise in violent crime.

By GEORGE RAMOS, Times Staff Writer

Advocates for the homeless sued the city of Los Angeles, Police Chief
Bernard C. Parks and the commander of LAPD's Central Division in federal
court late Monday to stop the Police Department's recent practice of
strictly enforcing loitering and other laws in the skid row area.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, said the police
practices of citing the homeless in skid row for minor offenses are
unconstitutional and amounted to harassment.

The lawsuit contends that the possessions of numerous homeless people who
were stopped for questioning by officers were seized and destroyed. Some
homeless people were threatened with arrest if they objected, the suit

In one instance, a homeless man said officers took his belongings when he
went to take a shower at a homeless facility, the suit said.

Since September, the commander of Central Division, Capt. Stuart Maislin,
has ordered his officers to cite the homeless for blocking the sidewalk and
jaywalking. Officers have also been rousing the homeless early in the
morning, asking for identification and taking those with outstanding
warrants to jail.

In parts of skid row, a 50-block area east and south of the Civic Center,
entire streets have been cleared of vagrants.

Recently, Maislin told The Times that an increase in violent crime in the
area caused him to change the division's practice of generally ignoring the
homeless. Violent crime has decreased since then, he said.

A spokesman for the Police Department declined to comment late Monday on
the suit.

Attorney Carol A. Sobel of Santa Monica, one of several civil rights
lawyers who prepared the suit, said papers would be filed today for a
temporary restraining order.

"We hope to have a hearing before the end of this week," Sobel said.


FWD  KCBS Channel2000.com - Tuesday November 21 04:30 PM EST

Homeless File Lawsuit Against City, LAPD
ACLU Says Sweeps Keep Homeless From Necessary Services

On behalf of four homeless people living on Skid Row, the American Civil
Liberties Union filed a lawsuit Monday against the City of Los Angeles and
the Los Angeles Police Department for conducting "loitering sweeps."

The ACLU contends that the sweeps, which boot homeless people out of the
downtown Los Angeles area, keep them away from the people and services that
help feed and cloth them.

The lawsuit alleges that sweeps conducted by the LAPD violate the homeless'
First, Fourth and 14th amendment rights.

A spokesman for the ACLU said that the police crackdowns force the homeless
away from the services provided at cold-weather shelters, social service
agencies and soup kitchens.

Among the defendants in the suit are the city, police Chief Bernard Parks
and police Capt. Stuart A. Maislin.

LAPD spokesman Jason Lee said that it's the department's policy not to
comment on pending lawsuits.


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