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I Guess Sherri Just Can’t Stay Out of Trouble

by Mike Rhodes
Police cite homeless woman for the crime of sitting in a wheelchair, on a public sidewalk, talking to friends. Jeeeeez!
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I Guess Sherri Just Can’t Stay Out of Trouble
By Mike Rhodes

Sherri Williams, the homeless woman who was arrested for trying to use the restroom at McDonald’s (see http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2007/07/08/18433984.php ), was given another citation yesterday. This one was for “loitering” on Olive Avenue, across the street from McDonald’s. Her alleged crime was sitting in a wheelchair, on a public sidewalk, at a bus stop.

According to Sherri, she was waiting for her husband Al so they could take a bus to north Fresno. Al arrived about 20 minutes after she was given the citation. “I was talking to a couple of friends when the police stopped me,” Sherri said. She noticed the officer had been sitting in his patrol car as he watched the small group of friends for about an hour. “As soon as we started to leave he drove over and said he wanted to talk.” Sherry told me the officer said “two buses went by and you didn’t get on them.”

Terry, one of the friends Sherri was talking to, told me “he went right after Sherri. We were all there but he just wanted to talk to her.” Sherri was the only person cited. Officer Unruh, the same policeman who arrested her at McDonald’s, issued this citation too. The citation notes that Sherri was in violation of “FMC 2-2808 (B) Loiter @ Bus Shelter” and orders her to appear on October 17, 2007 at the Fresno County Courthouse. If this citation is upheld in court, talking to your friends on a public sidewalk, could be a misdemeanor.

Unruh’s parting words, according to Sherri, were “this ought to make Al’s day.” I don’t know if it made Al’s day or not, but he did want me to tell this story as an illustration of how homeless people are constantly harassed in this community.

For a list of articles and documents about the struggle for civil liberties for homeless people in Fresno, see: http://www.fresnoalliance.com/home/homelessness.htm
§The citation
by Mike Rhodes
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