LAPD: STOP ILLEGALLY SEIZING HOMELESS PEOPLE'S POSSESSIONS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 3/7/2012
Venice Homeless Community’s largest Encampment Raided By LAPD In Co-ordinated Raid With City LA Sanitation Workers Approx. 11 a.m. Wednesday, March 7, 2012.
No Warnings Given as Fifty To One Hundred Homeless People's possessions seized and hauled off in ongoing attempt to drive homeless from Venice Beach. LAPD Pacific Division Captain Jon Peters --on scene --nevertheless, amazingly “denies” police involvement.
EMERGENCY BLANKETS AND OTHER RELIEF GIVEN AT THE LEGAL CLINIC WED. NIGHT
Who: Scores of homeless people who have lost everything they own.
What: A pre-meditated vindictive raid on Venice Beach’s homeless community by the LAPD in co-ordination with LA City Sanitation Department took place on Wednesday morning in broad daylight. Emergency blankets and clothing needed for affected homeless.
Councilman Bill Rosendahl already vowed he will call on LAPD Chief Charles Beck to investigate why no warning of the property seizures were given by Pacific Division's Captain Jon Peters to any homeless people --who on Wednesday, March 7, 2012 saw everything they own seized and thrown in the trash --including radios, sleeping bags, tents, brooms, clothing, donated jackets, computers, porta-potty’s for dogs and cats, plants, and more than a half dozen artworks created by Venice homeless artists to decorate the street.
The action by police today was the largest anywhere against the city’s homeless people in the last six years; and has come since their being pushed off the Venice Boardwalk in recent weeks due to a controversial nighttime closure of Venice Boardwalk --which, additionally, appears to violate California Coastal Commission rules.
LAPD officers, with a new city effort centered on Venice Beach, now hassle, harass and harangue the homeless there --stealing their meager possessions and tossing them into sanitation trucks; as they recently did at 3:00 am in the morning --on Friday, May 13, 2011.
A homeless disabled paraplegic artist of color was ordered to get up and leave the area. As he struggled to climb into his wheelchair, his lifeless legs dragging on the ground, the LAPD officer told him that if he didn't move faster he would confiscate all his possessions. The artist continued to struggle but was unable to comply with the officer's demands quickly enough. He watched in despair as the officer STOLE his bag of painting materials (his very livelihood) and threw them into the waiting sanitation truck.
Meanwhile, above, LAPD Captain Jon Peters poses for a picture, and looks disarmingly as if he has something of a soft spot for resident Darlene Knoll --a long-time Venice RV dweller.
While Peters daily leads L.A.'s newest charge against these poor people here, living in their vehicles --and sleeping at the beach, he curiously here shows a rare moment of sympathy and comfort to Darlene: A Venice woman who was threatened repeatedly with arrest by LAPD officers for documenting the arrests of these poor; and the towing of their vehicles during recent police sweeps of RVs in the beach community.
More often than not however --rather than hugging the homeless --Capt. Peters dances to the tune of an elite group of Venice residents who call themselves “Venice Stakeholders Association (VSA)”; whose prime motive appears to be the gentrification of L.A.'s Venice Beach; and the destruction of the time-honored free “Spirit of Venice” that has drawn millions of visitors to Venice Beach over the decades since Abbott Kinney first created his visionary “Venice of America” out of coastland marshes. Ironically, it is the very poor of Venice, it's artists and poets, in its history, who since, have most made Venice famous: and those whose antics most draw tourists by the millions.
These newest anti-poor LAPD actions, nevertheless, come as eager developers and corporate entities prepare for the final takeover --of what many consider to be this last bastion of freedom on the west coast of Southern California, and possibly the whole of the USA, Venice Beach, CA. L.A.'s “people’s beach" --a place where visitors and residents alike enjoy an ambiance of freedom, fun and expression. Recent attempts by Los Angeles city and Venice-area gentrifiers to curtail these freedoms --aided by increased police numbers, activity and enforcement --today are unprecedentedly threatening the very ambiance that makes L.A.'s historic Venice “Venice”.
Unsubstantiated claims of increased criminal activity in this famous beach spot, promoted by mainstream media –and those with a vested interest in gentrifying Venice –have unfairly identified the houseless community, young travelers, and people of color as their primary scapegoats.
These houseless, young travelers and people of color, both resident and visitor alike, are now daily targeted by LAPD officers for selective enforcement scrutiny, resulting in a new overflowing congestion of the Los Angeles courts and jails. Peters heads up this effort for LAPD.
Meanwhile, as these houseless and vehicle dwellers are now under constant threat of criminal prosecution and a massive new unconstitutional effort to seize their possessions, the City of Los Angeles continues its heartless persecution of the poor in the name of destroying Venice Beach.
Go here for more info: http://spiritofvenice.wordpress.com
PLEASE SIGN OUR PETITION TO SEND YOUR MESSAGE TO LAPD AND THE CITY OF L.A.:
STOP PERSECUTING THE HOMELESS AND PEOPLE OF COLOR AT VENICE BEACH, CA NOW !!
LAPD officers, accompanied by City of Los Angeles sanitation trucks proceeded to STEAL their possessions, throwing them into the waiting truck for disposal at an undeclared location, with no possibility of retrieval.
I urge Councilman Bill Rosendahl to call on LAPD Chief Charles Beck to investigate why no warning of the property seizures were given by Pacific Divsion's Captain Jon Peters to the homeless people - who saw everything they own seized and thrown in the trash - including radios, sleeping bags, tents, brooms, clothing, donated jackets, computers and other personal possessions.
The action by police on Wednesday was the largest anywhere against the city’s homeless population in the past six years; and has come since homeless people have been pushed off Venice Boardwalk in recent weeks, thanks to a controversial nighttime closure of the Boardwalk --which, additionally, violates California Coastal Commission legislation.
As if it isn't enough to constantly harass and intimidate homeless people at Venice beach -- adding insult to injury, the City of Los Angeles is using tax-payer dollars and paid city police officers and resources to persecute the most vulnerable in our community.
And, as if that isn't enough: to constantly ticket, arrest and otherwise persecute the most vulnerable in our community -- Los Angeles city tax-payer dollars are being used to not only enforce these archaic, inhumane policies on the streets of Venice --they, now, are reaching into the bottom of the barrel by STEALING the last few precious possessions that the poor and destitute homeless people on Venice beach have managed to scrape together.
When is ENOUGH - ENOUGH? How much further will the City of Los Angeles go?
What will it take for the City of Los Angeles to stop this criminal persecution of the poor and vulnerable at Venice Beach?
When will the City of Los Angeles rate human values above property values?
STOP PERSECUTING OUR HOMELESS PEOPLE!
START VALUING HUMAN LIFE AND DIGNITY ABOVE PROPERTY AND POWER!
FIND COMPASSION IN YOUR HEART AND START ACTING HUMANELY TOWARDS THOSE WHO ARE LESS FORTUNATE AND VULNERABLE IN OUR COMMUNITY.