William Charles Tinker wtinker@metrocast.net
Thu, 29 Sep 2005 18:36:01 -0400

Thu, Sep. 29, 2005


Deputies deny homeless man dumping

LOS ANGELES (AP) Sheriff's deputies were trying to get a homeless man help 
and not make him another jurisdiction's problem when they dropped him off on 
downtown's skid row earlier this month, according to a Sheriff's Department 
Byron Harris, 27, had been lingering around the county jail's reception area 
on Sept. 20 when a supervisor told him he should leave because he had 
exposed himself to a woman in that location a month before, the memo says. 
Harris had been released from the jail the previous day after being arrested 
for the indecent exposure incident.
''They weren't just trying to get rid of him from around the jails,'' Steve 
Whitmore, the spokesman for Sheriff Lee Baca, said Tuesday. ''The deputies 
were trying to help this man.''
But Los Angeles police Capt. Andrew Smith, who witnessed the drop-off, said 
Harris was handcuffed and later told him that he didn't want to be taken to 
skid row.
LAPD officials say the incident appears to be an example of how outside 
police agencies often dump homeless people downtown, where they become the 
LAPD's responsibility. Smith said he and his officers have witnessed 
numerous such incidents involving multiple departments including those from 
Burbank, El Monte, El Segundo and Pasadena. All four agencies denied the 
On Tuesday, citing the Harris case, the Los Angeles Police Commission 
directed Police Chief William J. Bratton to prepare a report on any recorded 
homeless dumping incidents.
On Monday, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said he wants City Attorney Rocky 
Delgadillo to examine what legal recourses Los Angeles has against cities 
and law enforcement agencies that engage in the practice.