Sunday, January 3, 2016

Sacramento Has a Homeless Problem

More than 50 police officers raid homeless protest outside Sacramento City Hall just after midnight, leaders arrested

A handful of activists, plus their belonging and tables, remained out front of City Hall after an early morning raid by Sacramento police.

More than four dozen Sacramento police officers converged on City Hall grounds earlier this morning, just after midnight, in a raid of the ongoing homeless protest. After nearly four hours on the scene, law enforcement arrested or cited seven local activists, individuals who’d been planted outside City Hall going on four weeks, for violating the anti-camping ordinance.

Police surrounded the protesters at around 12:30 a.m., according to a legal observer on the scene. Most activists were awake, but many weren’t, hunkered down in sleeping bags. Two individuals had pitched tents.

Seven protesters were detained and taken to a staging area within City Hall, inside the lobby area. Four were arrested and eventually booked at downtown’s jail, charged with misdemeanor resisting arrest and cited for illegal camping. Protest organizers James “Faygo” Clark and David Andre were among those arrested. Clark was scheduled to be released arount 3 p.m. today.

“We ended with a total of 52 cops, some of them in riot gear,” said L.R. Roberts, one of the legal observers with the local National Lawyer’s Guild chapter who witnessed the arrests. Roberts appeared baffled by the police’s show of force. “If I’m laughing, it’s because it was so stupid,” she added.

Roberts said there were two tents, which were seized by police. “They were using the lobby of City Hall as a staging area, sort of like a mini jail,” she explained.

She said police approached activists and asked if they were protesting or camping. “’Well, you’re not protesting, you don’t have enough signs,'” Roberts said she observed one officer tell a man.

The legal observer also said she witnessed police using unnecessary force, including throwing a man, Andre, to the ground.

Police would only confirm the arrests and referred all media to the City Manager’s office, who’ve yet to respond to two emails from SN&R.

Local homeless activists and allies have occupied a strip of lawn near Ninth Street out front of City Hall going on four weeks. They’re calling the protest an “occupation” in defiance of laws that they say discriminate against homeless people. They say they’ll remain out front of City Hall until council members repeal some of these laws, specifically the “anti-camping ordinance.”

This morning, a group of 12 activists remained out front of City Hall.

More updates on Monday and in next week’s issue.

::posted by Nick Miller @ 2016-01-02 11:17 AM permalink

Reposted from Sacramento News and Review,

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

City Councilman Jeff Harris says Sacramento spends $40 million a year on its homeless population in police, jail and emergency room time. That's just palliative care, too. Nothing improves.

Meanwhile, jurisdictions like Salt Lake City report housing the homeless is not only more compassionate, it's cheaper (less police, jail and emergency room). It also apparently improves the mental health of those made anxious by living on the streets, so they require fewer services.

If Sacramento saved half its $40 million, that would, in effect, be $20 million in income that it could actually use to solve a problem, rather than extend and pretend.

If Sacramento had a public bank, it could borrow more than $250 million to initiate the housing and staffing it would need to run a compassionate, "Housing First" program. Remember, the Kings' stadium subsidy was more than $250 million, and was funded by $9 million a year in parking revenue.

We need the public bank because those making the loan for the stadium -- Goldman Sachs -- would not lend for something like a homeless program based on savings. Not even California's Infrastructure Bank would lend for that.