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Attacks on the Homeless Continue in Fresno
by Mike Rhodes (MikeRhodes [at] Comcast.net)
Sunday Nov 5th, 2006 6:33 PM
Charles Montgomery (photo below) shows where his shelter had been last week. On Wednesday, a bulldozer operator who would not identify who he worked for, came through and destroyed Charles and Steve’s shelter. Is this a violation of the Temporary Restraining Order issued in Federal Court last month?
600charles.jpg
Attacks on the Homeless Continue in Fresno
By Mike Rhodes

On Wednesday, November 1 two homeless men were sleeping in their shelter in downtown Fresno when the bulldozer came. Charles, who has asthma, said “I woke us and started coughing from all of the dust.” Charles and his friend Steve knew something was wrong when they looked out and saw a bulldozer in front of them.

Charles said “I asked the guy (the machine operator) to stop. He told me he was doing this for his boss. . . so, I asked him who his boss was. He said he didn’t know, but that I would have to leave right away so he could do his job.” Charles and Steve said they received no warning that they were about to be forced out of their shelter and have all of their possessions destroyed. Steve said he had a family trunk in the shelter that contained irreplaceable items. The shelter and their possessions were put in a dumpster and large asphalt rocks were placed on top.

The experience Charles and Steve had is similar to what has happened to hundreds of other homeless people in Fresno. The only difference is - about two weeks ago a Federal Court issued a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) to stop the City of Fresno from taking and destroying homeless peoples property. See: http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2006/10/17/18321050.php .

Attorneys for the homeless are in the process of taking further declarations about the attacks which include bulldozing of shelters, taking and destroying of property, and other civil rights violations. There will be a hearing in Federal Court before judge Oliver Wanger at 9 AM on Tuesday, November 7. The purpose of this hearing is to get a preliminary injunction to stop the City of Fresno from taking and immediately destroying homeless peoples property. A hearing about the lawsuit is still several months away.

Charles and Steve moved to a new location after their shelter was destroyed. Steve said that “on Friday this woman drove up in a City of Fresno truck and told us we would have to move.” Their new tent is now set up near a railroad track just south of Ventura. “She told us that if we were not gone by Monday (November 6) the railroad people would come, arrest us, and take our stuff.”

New signs were posted by the railroad at a location where many of the homeless have moved to after the E street “clean up.” For more information about what happened on E street see: http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2006/08/26/18301032.php . The new encampment, near San Benito and H street is under a freeway overpass and not far from the railroad tracks. When the signs were put up about a week ago, the residents were told that they too would be arrested and their property destroyed. Several homeless people told me they think the City of Fresno has pressured the railroad company to take over the job of harassing them. Geno (see: http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2006/10/26/18323549.php ) said “we’ve never had any trouble with the railroad people before. They would come by and say hi every week or so. They never told us to leave or anything like that.”
§Charles and the Dumpster
by Mike Rhodes Sunday Nov 5th, 2006 6:33 PM
600dumpster.jpg
Charles and Steve’s possessions were put in the bottom of this dumpster. The operator of the bulldozer then put these rocks on top of their things.
§Steve’s New Shelter
by Mike Rhodes Sunday Nov 5th, 2006 6:33 PM
600steve.jpg
Steve and Charles have moved and set up a new shelter. A worker from the City of Fresno came by last Friday and told them they would have to move again. If they did not move, she threatened, the railroad people would come and arrest them.
§New Sign Put Up By the Railroad
by Mike Rhodes Sunday Nov 5th, 2006 6:33 PM
600sign.jpg
Why has the railroad chosen now to start harassing the homeless? All photos by Mike Rhodes
LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
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TITLE AUTHOR DATE
Follow-upDanMonday Nov 6th, 2006 5:09 AM
Restraining OrderDanSunday Nov 5th, 2006 9:11 PM

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