[Hpn] talk about not forgetting someone who's done you a good deed...

joe reynolds jos_reyn@yahoo.com
Sat, 28 Dec 2002 11:08:53 -0800 (PST)


from www.silive.com


More support for suspended cop

Advocacy groups join forces and establish fund for
family of officer who refused to arrest homeless man

Thursday, December 26, 2002
By REGINALD PATRICK
STATEN ISLAND ADVANCE

Staff members and clients of several of the city's
leading advocacy groups serving the homeless have set
up a special fund to support the wife and five
children of Eduardo Delacruz, the Mariners Harbor cop
suspended for 30 days without pay last month for
refusing to arrest a homeless man.

"This is a really beautiful thing," said Norman
Siegel, Delacruz's attorney, after the groups
presented him with a $3,000 check for the family,
during a Christmas Eve press conference on the steps
of City Hall. "This demonstrates the true heart and
spirit of New York City."


"I've got housing now," said Minnie Wilson of
Manhattan. "But I know what it's like to be on the
street. I also know that I could have ended up in a
jail cell just for being homeless."

More than 200 people at Housing Works, a group serving
homeless New Yorkers living with AIDS and HIV, kicked
in money, according to co-executive director Charles
King.

Other groups that contributed included the Coalition
for the Homeless, Bailey House, CitiWide Harm
Reduction and the New York City AIDS Housing Network.

The Delacruzes have five children ranging from two
months to 19 years old, according to Housing Works.

On Nov. 22, Delacruz, a four-year veteran of the
Police Department's Homeless Outreach Unit, refused to
obey an order from a superior to arrest a homeless man
sleeping in a Manhattan garage. He was placed on a
30-day unpaid suspension the next day.

The Police Department confirmed his suspension ended
Dec. 23 and that he has been reassigned to Transit
District 33 in Brooklyn, pending a departmental
hearing on the case. Under police guidelines, an
officer's suspension can last only 30 days without the
department reviewing the case.

Delacruz is committed to remaining on the police
force, Siegel said. "He loves being a New York City
police officer."

Siegel declined comment on word that Delacruz doesn't
want to return to the outreach unit, but stressed the
cop stands by his belief that homeless people should
not be locked up just for being homeless.

Delacruz apparently has support in the police
community.

"Jail is not the solution to the homeless problem,"
said Anthony Miranda of the Lieutenants' Benevolent
Association, "and it never will be."

The Police Department has "to learn that being
homeless is not a crime," said Joe Bostic of
Manhattan, a member of the Housing Works staff.

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, commenting on the
Delacruz case, said a paramilitary organization like
the Police Department can't function effectively if
officers disobey orders in the field.

But Siegel begged to differ: "I would respectfully
disagree with that view."

Contributions to the fund for Officer Delacruz's
family may be sent to: The Marissa Delacruz Fund, c/o
Housing Works, 320 W. 13th Street, 4th Floor, New
York, NY 10014. Reginald Patrick is a news reporter
for the Advance. He may be reached at
patrick@siadvance.com.

Copyright 2002 SILive.com. All Rights Reserved.

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