From Jorge, a member of Picture the Homeless:
In my time on the streets, I have noticed and witnessed countless cases of homeless people being arrested and harassed by the police. We the homeless brothers and sisters are being told to move from areas that supposedly are open to the public, given tickets just because we’re sleeping in the sidewalk or under the MetroNorth. Most of us are Black and Latino. I don’t think it is fair for people that are already homeless and have nothing else to lose but the clothes they’re wearing to be treated this way.
How bad is it? On November 1st I witnessed an incident where a big group of kids came up on folks who were sleeping on the street. There were at least 40 of them, and 20 had baseball bats. They were throwing eggs and condoms filled with urine at us. One of my friends was asleep, and he got hit twice with a baseball bat.
I called the police. They came, but they didn’t help us. In fact, they gave us tickets, for trespassing.
Last week two Black homeless PTH members were arrested for panhandling, which IS NOT illegal. One copped to the charge and the other refused to admit to aggressively panhandling, because that’s not what he was doing. He spent four days and nights in jail with the case finally being dismissed.
So I and Picture the Homeless say – if this Mayor had a real housing plan for the homeless, we wouldn’t be out here getting targeted by the police, unsympathetic citizens and government bureaucrats for being homeless. So I say Housing Not Handcuffs…