San Francisco continues homeless sweeps, during storm, defying a federal court order

New legal filing shows how cops continue to roust the unhoused even when the city can't offer any safe and secure shelter.

Although Ryu issued an injunction barring further sweeps Dec. 21, "the city is just back to business as usual," Hadley Rood, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, told me. [...]

The SFFD incident commander [...] attempted to speak to them but, when one person responded to him in Spanish, he turned away, saying, "I don't speak Mexican!" It did not appear that HOT had a Spanish-speaking worker present, so they were not able to communicate with these individuals at any point during the sweep. [...]

He said that, if people did not leave the area immediately, SFPD would begin "running names," meaning conducting warrant checks on the individuals present at the site. He also said that DPW was going to come and throw people's property away if they did not pack up quickly enough. At this point, no concrete shelter offers had been made.

The city, according to the petition, has offered a range of justifications for the continued sweeps, including the bizarre argument that when the police order people to move, those orders are voluntary and temporary:

The suggestion that forcibly waking people up, standing over them, and yelling at them to move, is not an enforcement threat, flies in the face of common sense and should be precluded. Nor is there any indication that moving is voluntary or temporary.

The problem here is that the mayor wants unhoused people out of sight and mind, and is personally calling for the sweeps. Even in the middle of a massive series of dangerous storms. Even when a federal judge says it's illegal.

The shitheels at the UC Hastings Shitheel Lawyer Factory have muddied the waters here, no doubt to the delight of Breed and SFPD, by getting a judge to order the city to get all of those unsightly homeless people away from their Tenderloin campus. So there's a 2020 order from a judge saying "get the homeless out of the Tenderloin and into shelters or hotels" and there's a 2022 order from another judge saying "you can't sweep tents unless there's somewhere for them to go". Breed and Chiu say "it is impossible for San Francisco to comply with both injunctions", so we're gonna just trash their tents without giving them shelter. Close enough?

Previously, previously, previously, previously.

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One Response:

  1. nooj says:

    A similar thing happened where I live.  It was really hot and sunny a few Summers back, and the City Council decided it didn't want people dying of heatstroke.  So in the middle of August it voted that it was legal to erect shelters on public land. 

    At first, the were a few tents visible, which I guess is what everyone was okay with.  Slowly, over the following year, large tent communities grew in thick stretches along medians and under overpasses.

    I thought it was great, naively believing it would spur people to make hard concessions in order to address inequity and skyrocketing rent and house prices and inflation.  It was also great for social services who provide healthcare for unhoused people, because they kind of had addresses!  Like, prescription refills could be delivered and workers could have follow up visits.  Workers could write that the person lived at "such-and-such a camp at the U-turn on this intersection" or whatever and there was a high chance the person would still be there a month later!  Normally, unhoused people are migrant and it's a nightmare for a social program to scale-up any kind of continuity of care.  While I haven't found any numbers, I heard that many programs felt less crippled and were better able to achieve their missions.

    But no.  Apparently everyone driving by these places hated looking at them and just wanted to stop looking at them.  So they pressured the City Council to go back to the old status quo.  The political pressure was incredible.  Every Council member running for reelection at the time, even the ones who voted for it, said something like "I was against that bill.  It was making our communities unsafe."

    Police tasked with clearing out the tent communities seemed to have done a decent job of slowly increasing enforement of the "camping ban".  Ie, starting with "You're going to have to leave in a few months," and escalating to "okay, it was time to go for real three weeks ago," and starting with busier intersections and escalating to abandoned fields.  (Meaning starting with expensive property.)  I would have preferred the Polic Chief had said something like "Nah, we've got bigger problems in this city," like they did with marijuana possession.  Sigh.

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