Thursday, September 22, 2005

Hardened Criminals? Drug Dealers? The Homeless? Inappropriate Spandex Wearers? No Problem! Just Dump Them Downtown!

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-dumping23sep23,0,962352.story?coll=la-tot-promo&track=morenews

One of the major complaints about the Sheriff's Department within the downtown community is that they arrest people all over Los Angeles County, but then, rather than releasing them to the cities they live in - they just 'dump' them downtown, usually on the parts of Skid Row most heavily populated with drug dealers, felons and the mentally ill.

LAPD Probes Dumping of Homeless in Skid Row

Cara Mia DiMassa and Richard Winton

September 23, 2005

For decades, it's been an enduring urban tale about downtown Los Angeles, often talked about but never proved: Police departments wanting to get rid of society's lost and neglected — the homeless, mentally ill people and criminals — simply drove through downtown and dumped them in skid row.

But on Tuesday, evidence landed in the lap of the person who most needed it: Capt. Andrew Smith, commanding officer of the Los Angeles Police Department's Central Division.Smith said he was out on patrol with his partner about 10 a.m. Tuesday when he noticed a Los Angeles County sheriff's car driving down 6th Street.

The cruiser, he said, turned south on San Pedro, then west on 7th Street to San Julian Street. There, Smith watched in disbelief as two deputies "pulled over, took a guy in handcuffs out of the car. They took off the cuffs and handed him a bag," Smith said.The captain and his partner immediately got out of their car and questioned the man and the deputies.

Smith said the deputies told him that the man had been released from the Men's Central Jail and was standing outside on the street when a supervisor ordered them to take the man to a downtown mission."But there was no mission nearby," Smith said. "Only a line of guys sitting on milk crates."

Deputies have identified the man as Byron Harris, 27. Smith said the man had a long history of arrests in the Lakewood as well as Long Beach, where he lived. He said Harris told him he had not asked to be dropped off and had no connection to downtown Los Angeles.

But the Sheriff is not the only offender. As the article states, city police departments all over the County will take their 'undesirables', load them up in police cruisers - and then 'dump' them downtown. The only odd thing is calling the practice an urban legend that no one had ever proved!

Well, maybe not by LA Times reporters, but those of us who actually walk the streets at night have witnessed the sight of these 'drop-offs' - for decades. I've seen them from Compton back when they had a police department, Beverly Hills, Pasadena, and Santa Monica to name a few. I have to admit, though, it has been a couple years since I have seen it happen near where I presently live or work. I guess it'd be too noticeable in this area now.

1 comment:

Don Bacus said...

I am looking forward to your posts.