Thursday Oct 16th, 2014 2:08 AM
Last month, I requested all the Parks and Recreation Department [P & R] citations for MC 6.36 (the camping ordinance) during the 2013-2014 period and was simply given bundles of all citations for all offenses to look through. Apparently this department does not index its citations or at least did not provide them to us on request.
Interestingly enough, the SCPD initially insisted it too had no such index. After repeated prodding and showing up in person to view the tickets, the department eventually provided us with a listing of all citations in the downtown area.. It took repeated requests to get the addresses of the people cited (so as to calculate the attention given to homeless folks). You can view an example of the SCPD’s matrix–for Officer Barnett’s citations–below. This something the P & R won’t or can’t provide requiring us to examine the citations individually. I’ve also requested Micah Posner request staff to make this information available, but similar requests in the past have fallen on deaf ears.
It seems pretty important in creating an ordinance this severe and unprecedented to get some sense of what the cost, the extent, the target, and the effectiveness of stay-away orders has been over the last year. Stay-away orders are traditionally issued by a court after a conviction and only from a very particular place. Given P & R’s broad authority over much city property, these orders could be issued routinely and repeatedly with increasing severity for the most minor offenses.
Considering that most homeless people smoke (70+% compared with less than 20% of the general population), it’s no wonder that the “crime rate” is rising. Creates more demand for more cops and more enforcement. Since more is illegal. Not to mention sleepcrime citations.
Note that race is not included in the SCPD records–except on the citations themselves (and presumably in the inaccessible police reports), so we will still be returning to the SCPD to examine more closely the racial component of the citations, which apparently the SCPD doesn’t think enough of to add to its matrix (strange, since I’d imagine such stats may be required by the FBI or other federal agencies).
For the matrix of Officer Barnett’s citations downtown–to get any idea of how heavily weighted they are against homeless people, go to http://www.indybay.org/
COUNCIL SLOUCHES ONWARD
The vastly expanded City Council law will be going into effect on November 28th or thereabouts if it passes again as it’s likely to on October 28th with a 5-2 vote.
Some pointed out at last Tuesday’s meeting (myself included) that their proposed law law mandates the stay-away’s prior to any court charge, hearing, trial, or conviction. What was not noted is that any stay-away is an additional action which is completely discretionary. This discretionary loophole allows rangers and cops to pick and choose who they’ll issue the orders to with no guideline as to when to do it. It is police state authorization in its purest form–leaving the matter entirely up to the officer. And, of course, completely beyond court review–even if the officer’s victim is never tried, had charges dismissed, or is found not guilty.
But the discretionary provision explicitly authorizes and hence encourages selective enforcement depending on the preference of the citing officer. Easy enough to decide that an homeless person sleeping gets a “stay-away” order while a more well-dressed smoker gets off without one (though a high fine for both).