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Ohio, United States
Happily married for lots of years to great guy, mother of one wonderful daughter. I have lots of interests and wished I had more time to explore them all.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Policing the Homeless

 A-Z Challenge = P=Police, Policy, public land, personal care.
The picture is truly the nicest picture I could find where police are interacting with homelessness.  I say the nicest because in story after story, picture after picture, video's too numerous to count...Police harass homeless, arrest homeless, talk horribly to them, and in a few recent cases kill them.  This picture they are arresting the wonderful old gentlemen in the white jacket who's prepared meals for the homeless.  This took place in Ft. Lauderdale.  This 80+ year old man has been arrested multiple times, his food thrown out, and the homeless made to scatter.  There's an ordinance in Ft. Lauderdale against feeding the homeless.  This man has fought each arrest and has won and returns to his mission, only to be arrested again.  The last time I read, the police were told to leave him alone.........however, what about other people in that city, other locations where someone wants to help?  The ordinance hasn't been changed.  And sadly, Ft. Lauderdale is NOT the only city with such an ordinance.
This is a memorial of a homeless man who was killed by The LA Police Department.  The man allegedly didn't stop after he'd been tased and so he was shot by 3 Policemen.  This happened on skid row, when police responded to a call about a robbery.  Things escalated, the homeless man didn't want to go with the police, and he fought them and lost his life.  I didn't find information that indicated whether or not he was in fact quilty of said robbery.   The homeless community there with him on the sidewalk was outraged, as were some passers by who felt it wasn't handled very well.  The point is, being Homeless is NOT a crime, but being homeless is indeed criminalized in many cities across the country.

Detroit has a practice of "dumping" homeless.  In tourist friendly areas police round up homeless and in essence kidnap them, put them in police cars and vans and drive out of the city or to a lesser populated area of the city and literally, DUMP the homeless.  There is a law suit currently about this practice.  The area they've been taken from has warming areas, and other services needed by the homeless, so often they painstakingly return to the same area.

Recently in New Mexico a homeless man was shot in the back (multiple times), police say he was going for a knife.  They may stand trial for murder, that's yet to be determined.  He had a camp set up on the outskirts of the city,  and they wanted it gone .

Tent Cities in New Jersey, California, Florida, Colorado, Hawaii and Virginia and more are being raided by police. By raided, I mean people are told to vacant and their items are trashed if they don't comply immediately.  One city has a brochure suggesting people trim all their bushes and trees and clean out any brush so there's not place hidden where homeless might live or set up for the night.

While being homeless isn't a crime, almost everything associated with it is.  It's a crime to panhandle, sleep in a park or on a bench, or sit in an alley, to camp on public land.  It's a crime to lotter...and many homeless must lotter during the daylight houses, walk the streets etc until it's time to get into a shelter.  So, you see it's quite a vicious circle.

Many police departments consider homeless an inconvenience to them.  They consider homeless to be lazy bums, mentally ill, drug addicts and alcoholics.  And certainly, that's true in some cases, but it's also true many are not.  Some police departments do try to direct homeless to areas where they can get help, but not enough from the articles I read.  Some police enforce the statutes, some look the other way feeling there are more important things to do.  There doesn't seem to be a standard.

This isn't being written to make people choose sides, but to open peoples minds about the extent of homelessness and it's associated problems.  Homeless try to be invisible, they don't want to be noticed. They don't want to wear bright colors, thus my constant request for dark colors, items with minimal stripes.  By not calling attention to themselves, they have a better chance of going unnoticed by police and others.  The Police are charged with upholding the law and so that automatically puts them against homeless people and all that it entails.

Some people say that homeless are lazy.  I think the energy it takes to stay alive, to stay safe, to find food, to find lodging, to move from the street to the shelter and back again, and to stay away from the police takes alot of energy; both mentally and physically.

We do what we can to help ease their burden by supplying them with warmth in the form of hats, scarves, mittens, slippers, and socks.  We collect and donate personal care items, that are so needed, how else will they be able to clean up, to feel more human, to be able to work.  YES, many homeless do have jobs.  Many homeless are children who need to go to school.

Can you do something to help?  The answer is YES.  There is something everyone can do, it's just a matter of what you're financial, physically, and emotionally are able to do.

All donations regardless of size and number are valued. All donations are appreciated. The Power of One is awesome, and when we work together The Power of One becomes The Power of Many.

20 comments:

  1. Those of us with shelter..homes or apartments or even just rooms...are not truly aware of the fine line separating us from having and not having. Life can spin on a dime and you could find yourself sharing the sidewalk.

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  2. That is so frustrating that the police would have to spend their valuable time arresting a man trying to feed others. I'm glad he finally got permission to do what he wants and help others. What a brave soul.

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  3. That is so frustrating that the police would have to spend their valuable time arresting a man trying to feed others. I'm glad he finally got permission to do what he wants and help others. What a brave soul.

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    1. I too am glad for him, trouble is there are others like him in other cities who are also being arrested and fined. The laws need to be changed.

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  4. It’s sad. I have personal experience with a close family member. After many years on the street, the state finally stepped in to help and provided my brother with an actually nice apartment. He was still a troubled individual. I have to say, there were and are many services available to those in need, which were so helpful to my brother.

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    1. There are some services, but not enough in all locations to take care of the need, and the services available vary so from state to state. It's a problem that ought to be addressed on a National Level, but I don't think it ever will be.

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  5. That gentleman in Ft Lauderdale deserves a medal for his work!

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    1. Yes he does Sheila, as do others doing the same thing in other cities across the country, and like him, many are being treated badly by the police. It's just so wrong.

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  6. This man deserves his story to be told nationally. I applaud his efforts and his determination and because of one person, changes can be made! It will work if more people stand beside him. There is so much money wasted (think Kardashians) and there are so many buidlings that stand empty that could be converted to places for people that are homeless. I have seen where one woman started something(I can't remember which city) and converted an old hotel for the homeless. They have their own place, they must be sober and clean and are provided free help with their addictions. The homeless are given jobs to keep the place clean and tidy. They can offer to go to schools to educate students. They receive medical help to get the ball rolling. The police I think often get a bad rap but in the same breath there are some who abuse their power and that must be stopped. To kill someone after they have been tasered, to take such brute force-they must be held accountable for their actions but often are not. Why do some police officers take things to the extreme? What is their thinking?

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    1. Right you are Birgit on all accounts. It's a complex problem with many layers. Thank you so much for the continued support of your visits and comments.

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  7. At one of the parks where we used to live where I would walk the dog or going walking myself, some homeless people would sleep there at night. They would never bother me. I guess people that lived around the park complained because the police would come every so often and make the homeless move on. One as he was leaving said he was sorry he was such an inconvenience since I was walking by him at the time. I said he wasn't an inconvenience I knew it was a struggle for him to be out on the streets. I wouldn't have complained if they were there. Sad others did.

    betty

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    1. 200% on the mark Betty. People, and police treat them as an inconvenience. How in the world do they think these people feel. The whole thing is just so sad, and so not what Christians are suppose to do. Thank you so much for your continued support via comments and visits.

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  8. I hope that if ever I were in such a situation when my bosses told me to do something like arrest a person for feeding the homeless, or to toss the food that could feed the hungry, or to relocate unfortunate people because someone didn't like seeing reality, that I would stand up and fight for the injustice of it...even if my job depended on it. This kind of heartlessness really rips my heart.

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    1. Exactly TBR, we need more people to stand up for these folks, who often...through no fault of their own are on the streets with no place to go. I too would like to think I was, am a strong enough person to stand up against what I know to be wrong...even if my boss said otherwise.

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  9. I can't believe the public can't be more considerate of these lost souls. Too many people want to polish up their towns and cities and forget about those that are less fortunate instead of helping them. This is so very sad. Sherry K

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    1. Sherry you hit the nail squarely on the head when you say they want to polish up their town......perfect way to discribe it. Thank you for popping in, much appreciated. Hope you're feeling better.

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  10. I'm amazed and disgusted there's a law against feeding homeless people! Good for that elderly man and others like him who defy such edicts. We donate to food banks regularly and other organizations that help people in need. It's the least we can do for those less fortunate. Always be grateful for what you have and "spread the wealth".

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    1. Many people don't know how many cities have these idiotic rules about feeding your fellow man. It's so sad, the first time I read it I thought surely it was an error, but after substantial research I find, no...it's not an error. It is real. Thank you for your visit, and right your are sharing the wealth.

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    2. Debbie I tried to return the comment on your blog, but after 4 clicks, from your name above to your profile page to your blog which then directed me to your webpage, where I posted, but it wouldn't take it til I told it I wasn't a robot, and still it wouldn't post, got an error message which told me to change the settings on my computer.........egads, surprised you get anyone willing to jump so many hoops to visit.

      Delete

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