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Shopping Cart Roundup
by Mike Rhodes (MikeRhodes [at] Comcast.net)
Wednesday Oct 11th, 2006 11:48 PM
Attacks against the homeless in Fresno continue. The frequency and intensity is increasing. Their homes have been destroyed, the few possessions they own taken from them, and now the city has passed a “Shopping Cart Ordinance” which can result in a $1,000 fine and up to one year in jail.
600copspushingcarts.jpg
Shopping Cart Roundup
By Mike Rhodes

Attacks on the homeless continued this week as the Fresno Police Department conducted raids on numerous encampments on Sunday, October 8. The early morning raid at the H and San Benito street encampment woke many residents up as police arrived to roundup shopping carts. The photos accompanying this article were taken by one of the homeless residents who had a camera. Numerous cameras have been given to the homeless to document attacks like this by the police and other government agencies.

For background information on the shopping cart issue, see:
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2006/09/19/18312750.php

For more information about attacks on the homeless in Fresno, see:
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2006/08/26/18301032.php
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2006/08/05/18294991.php
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2006/06/22/18281976.php

The police also went to a homeless encampment near E and Ventura street on Sunday where they took peoples shopping carts. Some of the shopping carts belong to the residents of the homeless encampment. They were given to them by groups that refurbish old carts and give them to the homeless so they can move their possessions around or pick up bottles and cans to recycle. The police arrived before people woke up and began emptying the contents of the carts and loaded them onto the truck pictured below. One of the women at this sight said that when the police approached her cart she asked them for their name and badge number. When she did that, the officer turned and left without giving his ID. Her cart was not taken! It was the only cart that I saw in the area that had not been taken by the police on Sunday.

On Wednesday, October 11 the police returned to the H and San Benito encampment. They lined all of the men up on one side and the women on the other. The homeless people were searched and their names run through police data bases to look for outstanding warrants or other information that could be used to further detain and/or arrest them. They were not allowed to leave to go to the bathroom and at least one person defecated as he waited to be freed. The police captain told the assembled people that they were trespassing on private property and that he would be back. People that I interviewed said that the captain declared that when he comes back, he will throw all of their property away.

In response to these ongoing attacks, community activists are planning a series of events to support the homeless. Here are the details:

Saturday, October 21
4 PM PRAYER CIRCLE
Join us in a circle of prayer to raise City Hall’s conscience on how their “quality of life” ordinances allows the police power to target and abuse people
5:30 PM RALLY Support the homeless at the new Tent City to be located at the steps of Fresno City Hall.
7 PM TESTIFYING
Listens to people testify why they are homeless, listen to their stories of how the police abused them with the blessings of city hall
8 PM MUSIC, POETRY, AND SPOKEN WORDS
All are invited to participate! FOOD NOT BOMBS FOOD!
9 PM ALL NIGHT VIGIL ON THE STEPS OF CITY HALL
Candles, prayers, and dreams for justice and shelter for the homeless

###
§The Fresno Police Department Enforces the New Shopping Cart Ordinance?
by Mike Rhodes Wednesday Oct 11th, 2006 11:48 PM
600copsontruck.jpg
Officers begin to load shopping carts onto the truck at H and San Benito street. All photos are by an unnamed homeless resident who has become a grassroots journalist for justice.
§Cops with Shopping Carts
by Mike Rhodes Wednesday Oct 11th, 2006 11:48 PM
600copswithcarts.jpg
Overpaid grocery store clerks rounding up shopping carts? No, this is Fresno’s finest on a Sunday morning with nothing better to do than harass the homeless.
§Standing Guard
by Mike Rhodes Wednesday Oct 11th, 2006 11:48 PM
600copsandcarts.jpg
§Leaving the Scene of the Crime
by Mike Rhodes Wednesday Oct 11th, 2006 11:48 PM
570copsleaving.jpg
The Fresno Police Department leave the scene of the crime. If a homeless person own a shopping cart and the police steal it, isn’t that a crime? Someone call 911!
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NH ConstitutionPeter MacdonaldTuesday Oct 24th, 2006 4:16 AM

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