Skip to comments.St Petersburg Police Slash Tents of the Homeless
Posted on 01/20/2007 10:12:26 AM PST by meg88
St. Petersburg Police Slash Tents Of Homeless Skip directly to the full story. By STEPHEN THOMPSONand ROD CHALLENGER The Tampa Tribune
Published: Jan 20, 2007
ST. PETERSBURG - A homeless man was lying down in his tent across the street from a soup kitchen Friday when two police officers yanked open the tent's flap and shouted, "Get up. Get out of there."
Then, the man said, the officers dragged him outside and slashed the tent's dome with knives.
"In the end the cop asked me, 'Are you all right?'" said the man, who gave only a first name of Mo. "I said, 'Is this a joke? Are you kidding me?'"
A cat-and-mouse game between the city and its burgeoning homeless population took on a confrontational tone Friday as about two dozen officers swooped down on 15th Street North and either confiscated or destroyed a dozen tents in which homeless people had been living.
A week ago, a tent city up the street that was home to about 150 people was dismantled peaceably. Some of the 150 received rent vouchers; other homeless people accepted mats at a homeless shelter; still others took gasoline money or bus fare to return to out-of-state relatives or friends.
But some were not interested in those options, or they didn't qualify for them. So, on Jan. 13, when they were ordered to leave the tent city on Fourth Avenue North, roughly two dozen people pulled up stakes and moved beneath nearby Interstate 375.
One favored location beneath the highway is across from the St. Vincent de Paul Society soup kitchen on 15th Street. That's where Mo was Friday. Another spot for the displaced tent dwellers was beside busy Martin Luther King Jr. Street.
Trouble was, both sites posed public safety hazards, St. Petersburg Police Chief Chuck Harmon said. A half-dozen motorists complained they almost struck homeless people or their tents on Martin Luther King Jr. Street.
Some people also smoked inside the tents, or lit small fires on which to cook, Harmon said. The makeshift shelters were pitched so close together that if one had ignited, the others might have, too, the chief said.
On Thursday evening, the tent dwellers were told the tents violated safety codes and had to come down. But some of the tents, or different ones, were back up Friday.
"There were some folks who decided they were going to test us today," Harmon said. "We decided to go out and just take them down."
Half of the dozen remaining tents were confiscated; the others were slashed to render them unusable, Harmon said.
"The intent was not to arrest anyone," Harmon said. "The problems weren't the people. It was the tents. To me it didn't make a difference if they were the Boy Scouts of America."
Harmon said officers had legal authority to confiscate or destroy the tents because they are allowed to remove a hazard that lies on a right of way, which is city property.
The Rev. Bruce Wright, an advocate for the homeless who has served as a liaison between the city and the tent dwellers, said a deal was brokered in which the dwellers on Martin Luther King Jr. Street could move to 15th Street. Harmon said no such deal existed.
Anthony Diglia thought otherwise. He had just carried his possessions from Martin Luther King Jr. Street and set up his tent beside 15th Street when it was slashed.
"I have no tent no more," he said. Reporter Stephen Thompson can be reached at (727) 823-3303 or email@example.com. Reporter Rod Challenger can be reached at (727) 536-8443.
They gays would have no part of that.
The worth of the item isn't the issue. It's the destruction of property without due process of law that causes me concern.
Maybe they would be accepted by the community if we required the homeless to wear gerbil costumes.
Oh my Lord those links are over the top. The out of the doorways one says :
Dignity is a formerly mobile tent city in Portland, Oregon, well on its way to becoming a green, sustainable, urban village.
and also that the tent city of vagabonds has begun hosting weekly craft lessons in conjunction with the local high schools ?
Flea publik eudkashion !!!!!
Sometimes, squatters get lucky and find a squat which the landlord seems to have really abandoned. Police and neighbors have been dealt with successfully and after many months the landlord still hasn't complained or been seen. In that case, squatters might start laying plans for gaining adverse possession.
I'm a little surprised at the responses posted These people are breaking the law
True. But "Feed the Homeless to the Hungry" has long been my solution to both problems.
I suppose you'd oppose my holiday "Burn a Bums Box" campaign too then eh ?
Were the vagrants loitering on public or private property?
The uproar about this tent city has been going on for quite a while. They were given a chance to move to other quarters.
Typical "Community Policing" orthodox BS! Its never the perp.;
The bartender shouldn't have served the drunk driver that last drink...
Its not the shooter, its the easy availability of guns that is the problem...
Detroit makes it too easy to steal cars...
Its the tents...not the lazy no-goods that inhabit them.
Not a problem so long as you coordinate it with the annual "Return them to their owners" shopping cart roundup.
It's like the same old story....keep feeding the ducks and they will never leave. This time they were told to leave after refusing to do so. I see very little wrong with that.
Boy any "homeless post" sure brings out the bleeding hearts posters...what a bunch of KOS Kids needing to grow up.
I would have thought it was already pretty well marinated and seasoned. Although I have heard if it's not drinking wine, then you shouldn't use it in cooking.
It says city.
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