LA: your RIGHTS on the street & with police in Los Angeles, CA

Tom Boland (
Sun, 24 May 1998 04:49:46 -0700 (PDT)

Information about the opportunities you need to get through hard times

The People's 25th Guide to WELFARE, HEALTH& OTHER SERVICES In Los Angeles

"How To Get Food & Money" - January 1998

California State Edition

       Everyone has the right to use public streets,
       including people without homes.

       Vagrancy is not a crime. You can't be arrested for
       simply being on the street, sidewalk or in a public

       It is against the law to sleep or sit in the street.

       If you are stopped follow all instructions. Do not
       confront or argue with the police because this usually
       worsens the situation.

       A police officer may detain you briefly for
       questioning if there is a specific reason to suspect a
       crime has been committed or about to be committed.

       You can't be stopped or asked for ID because of your
       appearance or because of general complaints from
       merchants or residents.

       You don't have to give any information except name
       and address.

       The police may frisk you for weapons by patting
       down the outside of your clothes.

       Do not give false information.

       If you are with a group let one person do the talking.

       Remember names of officers, the time, date and
       location of the stop.

       Save all written material and receipts given to you by
       the police.

       Do not resist even if you are innocent.

       You have the right to complete three free local phone
       calls upon completion of booking or within 3 hours
       after your arrest.

       You must be given a receipt for all items taken from

       You must be allowed to hire and see an lawyer
       immediately. If you cannot afford a lawyer, ask the
       police to get you one for free, immediately.

       You don't have to give or sign any statements.

       In most cases you must be allowed to post bail. You
       may ask the judge to release you without bail but he
       doesn't have to do so.

       The police must bring you into court or release you
       within 48 hours. If the 48 hour period ends on a
       Sunday or during a holiday, you must see a judge the
       first day court is back in session.


       If you believe your rights have been violated,
       immediately write down what happened, names,
       addresses and phone numbers of witnesses.

       See a doctor immediately and get a written report of
       your injuries.

       Immediately get color photographs of injuries and /
       or damages.

Police Abuse Cases Call:

Police Watch
(213) 387-3325

Coalition Against Police Abuse
(213) 733-2107


If the police take your private property, you can be paid for those
belongings that were taken. Just follow a few simple steps.

Step #1.

If you were in Los Angeles City, get a claim form at the City Clerk's office:

City Hall
200 North Spring
RM# 395 Los Angeles, CA 90012
Phone: (213) 485-5705
Hours: Monday - Friday  8:00am - 5:00 pm

The City Clerk's office will give you a copy of your claim form and a
claim number. They will then give a copy of your claim form to the
City Attorneys office for investigation. This usually takes about a
month. In L.A., you can call the City Attorney's office any time to get
the status of your claim.

Telephone:    (213) 485-5424

Address::      200 North Main
             1700 City Hall East

Hours:          Monday Through Friday 8:00-5:00

If your claim is rejected, or you were not in a city with a claim
procedure, you can
file a small claims law suit, go to Step #2.

Step #2

County Courthouse
Small Claims Office
110 North Grand Avenue
(213 ) 974-6131
Hours: Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. 4:30 p.m.

After you complete and return the form you will be assigned a court date 30
or 40
days later. If you are low-income any fees can be waived.

Private Property Claims Help :

Inner City Law Center
1325 E. Seventh St.. (213)891-2880
Small Claims Advisor Program
500 West Temple RM. B-96
(County Hall of Administration )
(213) 974-9759


Despite efforts to criminalize begging, the courts have ruled you still
have a free speech right to ask for help.

However, you should not solicit or ask in a matter that can be
interpreted as aggressive :

A. You can't speak to or approach a person in a way that would cause
a reasonable person to fear their safety.

B. You can't intentionally touch or cause physical contact with a
person without their permission.

C. You can't intentionally block the safe or free passage of a

D. You can't use violent or threatening gestures toward a person
before, during, or after solicitation.

E. You can't follow a person closely after they have told you by
words or actions that they do not want to be solicited.

F. You can't use profane, offensive or abusive language which is
likely to cause an immediate violent reaction.

G. You can't jaywalk or block street traffic or stand on a freeway off

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