[this was played on All Sides Now, a listener commentary of KMUD (http://www.kmud.org/)
Monday, June 14th WHILE a caring community member shared sandwiches with up to 100 hungry people in Redway- on the street- engaging in a responsible and constitutionally protected activity- the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department drove around photographing the people who were eating lunch. This is INTIMIDATION. This is profiling. There is no good reason for it.
People are scared when the Sheriff’s Department behaves this way because the Sheriff targets anyone who lives outside with very few resources. The Sheriff’s Department hunts people down while they are sleeping -out of sight- and Sheriff Deputies attempt to DISAPPEAR people who are, for instance, sitting under a tree for shade.
The cops call this “sweeping”, but in reality, they are PUNISHING people for their status as houseless, PROFILING people who appear to be carrying all of their possessions on their backs, and INTIMIDATING people out of their constitutional rights to travel, to assemble, to express themselves, and to be free of unreasonable invasion of privacy. The Sheriff’s Dept, and the County are also INTIMIDATING the same people out of their human right to LIVE, and to live without fear of government abuse and invasion into their lives. The photographing today is part of a County wide government campaign to harass, hurt, punish, and disappear people who have no shelter, or have very few resources.
There is no reason that people who are eating lunch in Redway in public- poor , rich, houseless, employed, unemployed, black, white, old, or young- should be subject to police intimidation and persecution.
We can do something about this. We can anticipate the Sheriff’s using those photos and the fear they instill to mess with people tonight or tomorrow. Please have your cameras and eyes and awareness ready on the streets of Redway and Garberville, and in the outlying areas. Please defend people, be present when and if the sheriff’s come around to further harass folks who live outside of capitalism’s graces. Do not allow your own prejudices to blind you from the need for persecuted communities to be protected. Sharing food is not a crime. Surviving without a roof is not criminal. Pay attention. Speak out. Let the Sheriff’s know that this behavior is unacceptable against ANY community.