Photo by Becky Johnson
Saturday night, Lt.Fred Plageman appeared at PeaceCamp2010 to warn sleepers that there'd be a squad of brownshirts roaming the area and "warning" folks to move on. Several days before, the Deputy County Counsel had written a letter to attorney, activist, and portapotty provider Ed Frey, warning him that the County building was within city limits and subject to the City's abusive 11 PM to 8:30 AM Sleeping Ban law. Homeless Services reportedly confirms there was zero walk-in emergency shelter available last night--and won't be until November. Nonetheless, about an hour later, Plageman's Posse returned in force.
To give the late-night lawmen their due, they didn't seem too happy about their job. When some, advised by other activists that they didn't have to give info or show their photos, declined to do so, the deputies moved on (after some persistent questioning)
"Curbhugger" Chris Doyon, dorm-daddy of the domain, reported that about 10 sleepers left after the initial warning from Plageman. I noticed another 10--mostly Spanish-speaking slumberseekers-
Attorney and Activist Ebullient Ed Frey, when awakened by the deputies, told them that they were engaged in illegal conduct, disturbing the peace of innocent people. Since even if and when tickets were issued, they would ultimately be dismissed by the courts. Commissioner Kim Baskett and Judge Ariadne Symons have publicly stated that they regularly dismiss charges when presented with a letter from the Homeless Services Center stating the shelters are full. But since the courts, the HSC, the deputies, and the police already know they're full and will be full until November, the act of issuing a tickets amounts to a form of premeditated harassment, according to Frey.
Curbhugger reported 45 stayed the night and predicted that many would continue to resist the threats in the belief that the Constitution guarantees the right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment. Denying people the right to sleep at night if they are homeless--with the intention of running them out of town--is just such punishment in my view.
Pictures of the early morning August 1st sweep will ultimately be posted at photobucket and video links that can be found at http://www.peacecam
I did a long show this morning on the Peace Camp 2010 predicament at http://www.radiolib
Peace Camp 2010 is asking for help. They want ready-to-eat food, blankets, computer access, and volunteers.
Put yourself on a phone tree to come down and witness or be in solidarity if they are again harassed by the deputies or police.
More info also at HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) at 831-423-4833.