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Posts Tagged ‘fourth amendment’

The word is that raids will begin on Monday, July 19th. Cops hunt down outside-sleeping people every night, but these raids will be broad-sweeping and perhaps more orchestrated.

These raids will violate the rights of the houseless people. There are no legal, free-of-charge places to sleep in Eureka (or Arcata), so there are no options for almost all people who have no shelter except to sleep where they can find a hidden piece of ground. Then ya gotta be able to protect yourself from the rain, wind, cold, dew.

This is not a new situation. But all too often, people who are housed dismiss the reality of the situation by simply saying, “Well, there are homeless shelters for them to go to.” That is completely INACCURATE.

All of us need to sleep. That is a NECESSITY. And even the crooked, ruled by the rich courts of the U.S. say that because none of us can go without sleep, it is more of a “significant evil” to deprive a person of sleep (as do the laws against sleeping on public property and the cops who wake people up) than to break a law that prohibits you from sleeping. When someone is punished for something- like sleep- which they cannot go without, it is (here’s the court again) “cruel and unusual punishment.” I would also call it discrimination. And the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights says, among other things completely defied by policies throughout the U.S. :

Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and
well-being of oneself and of one’s family, including food, clothing,
housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to
security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood,
old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond one’s control.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Article 25, Section (1)

So, if you’re a person who still needs to see something in the “law books” to really believe it’s legitimate, there is plenty to support that people have a right to sleep, even when they don’t pay rent somewhere. And if there are no available options besides a small piece of Earth (or a doorway, or a dumpster or a person’s own vehicle), people are to be left alone.

These raids of sleeping people violate a bunch of human and Constitutional rights, including the right to privacy, to be free from unreasonable search and seizure, etc. When cops (or John Shelter in Eureka or John Cassali in SoHum) steal and/or destroy peoples’ property, it doesn’t matter what they want to call it- “cleaning up”, “helping out”, “warning” -it is illegal. It is stealing. It’s cruel. It ain’t right.

Another thing that happens during these raids (and any random night): When the cops approach someone sleeping (how scary, huh?), they not only wake the person up (say 3:30am, flashlight in the eyes, hand on the gunbelt), but they often physically hurt the person. Cops slash tents, kick people in the ribs, threaten people with guns, pull folks out of their vehicles, grab people’s arms so hard they bruise, bang on windows, tow away someone’s only private space… It IS really that bad.

Every Saturday there are PEOPLE PROJECT meetings at PARC [Peoples’ Action for Rights and Community] at 1:30pm. These are spaces where we can figure out how we will fight this painful and ongoing injustice.

Please contact PEOPLE PROJECT if you want to do something about this upcoming raid situation. (707) 442-7465

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So today (July 14th) the Mateel meal was held at the Vet’s park across the street from the bookstore in Garberville(because the Mateel kitchen staff is down at the reggae site). Police (Humboldt County Sheriff’s Dept) arrived and told people that the Veteran’s have said they don’t want anyone sitting in the park, that they want it cleared out. People asked where they could go and there were no places. Police said they will arrest people who are sitting in town anywhere.

One of the people who cooks the Mateel meal reported that when she asked Deputy Ken Swithenbank where people could EAT, he responded, “They can go a day without food.”

A call was made by a caring resident (and business owner) in the area about the cops’ Vet’s Hall claim. The call went to Brian Ormond, who is supposedly the vet in charge, but he is out of town till Monday.

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The City of Eureka proves itself again to care more about pushing its weight around, stealing, towing, searching, seizing, than it does about YOUNG PEOPLE WHO HAVE NO PLACE TO LIVE.

 

There is a young man who is in foster “care”, however his foster parent of about a month was not feeding him or letting him stay in or even use the house, was not giving him any money that was supposed to come to him, and was not spending any of the government foster money on his “foster child.” So, the young person acquired the bus you see in this video. He and his friends (some of them also homeless) were cleaning and trying to fix the bus up so they had some place to be. Really nice, intelligent, sweet, and community-oriented kids just trying to survive and care for each other. Well, Eureka Police Department’s Sgt. Rodrigo Reyna-Sanchez, Officer Adam Laird, and another officer harassed and terrorized the kids every day. See the July 6th open letter from Redwood Curtain CopWatch. Then, after CopWatch wrote a letter which went to hundreds of people and to the Chief of Eureka Police and other local officials, Sanchez faded out, first hiding a few cars away when the cops came to harass, intimidate, and threaten the kids and their bus. Then, on the morning of July 8th, the cops told the kids that they had an hour to get their things off the bus and it would be towed. The Eureka cops also told the youth that CopWatch would be arrested if they came on the scene.

 

A few hours later Eureka Police captain Murl Harpham, detective Neil Hubbard, officer Adam Laird, a female police photographer, two insurance company photographers for Eureka, and Willard of Humboldt Towing Company showed up to take ALL THAT THESE YOUTH HAVE for otherwise safe haven. The cops ignored the bus owner’s clear and immediate refusal of his consent to search, and instead went in the bus, made rude comments, blocked the door from the bus owner until Harpham had gone through the bus.

 

The young people asserted their rights, retrieved what they could from the bus (i.e. a sleeping bag, personal belongings), and watched it get towed away.

 

These young folks are not hurting anyone, not even themselves (which would be hard for many people to claim). They are youth, trying to survive. They’re not even drunk or drugged or causing any problems. It is twisted and disgusting that the Eureka Police (and anyone else who assisted) could pretend that they are doing an honorable job (what/ taking an ‘unsightly’ bus off the streets of Eureka?!), and completely refuse to protect and instead ABUSE, SCARE, and STEAL from the most vulnerable people in our so-called community – homeless youth.

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And we have a revised lawsuit challenging Arcata’s systematic violation of houseless peoples’ rights!

 

Please send PEOPLE PROJECT writings about your experiences with the Arcata Police Department and/or the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department with regards to your EXISTING WITHOUT A HOUSE (i.e. being ticketed for sleeping on public property, being harassed for looking poor, having your gear stolen by police). You can email peopleproject@riseup.net or call (707) 442-7465 to talk.

HERE is the new Complaint (fancy word for lawsuit) arising from the Spring 2007 encampment demonstration in Arcata.

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