Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

St Petersburg Police Slash Tents of the Homeless
Tampa Tribune ^ | Jan 20, 2007 | Steve Thompsom & Rod Challenger

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 spthompson@tampatrib.com. Reporter Rod Challenger can be reached at (727) 536-8443.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events; US: Florida
KEYWORDS: florida
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first previous 1-5051-67 last
To: meg88
How long does it take that most liberal paper, the
St. Pewtersburg Times to open the doors and grant these people shelter to protect them from cops destroying tents.
51 posted on 01/20/2007 1:00:13 PM PST by hermgem (The same)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: GOP Poet
I hope they are taxed like the rest of us, especially for their housing/land.

Bwaaahahahahahaaha!

The "village" is on public property.

The group living there is essentially organized as an HOA, with bylaws the residents/'members' must sign & agree to abide by.

The whole thing is registered as a 501-c-3 nonprofit organization.

Taxes? We only need YOUR stinkin' taxes!

52 posted on 01/20/2007 1:05:01 PM PST by ApplegateRanch (Islam: a Satanically Transmitted Disease, spread by unprotected intimate contact with the Koranus.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 43 | View Replies]

To: dawn53
From the Rev.'s Bio: the groups he is affiliated with

He is a member in the following organizations: NAADAC, Poor Peoples Economic Human Rights Campaign, Critical Resistance, Every Church a Peace Church, League of Revolutionaries for a New America, St. Pete. For Peace, Food Not Bombs, Pinellas County Coalition for the Homeless, Homeless Legal Defense Fund, Pinellas County Juvenile Justice Council, St. Pete. Task Force on Homelessness, and the St. Petersburg Ministerial Association

When does he have time to preach to, and pastor, his congregation? LOL...I know the answer.

Al Sharptongue & Jesse Jackass share the same "pulpit".

53 posted on 01/20/2007 1:13:04 PM PST by ApplegateRanch (Islam: a Satanically Transmitted Disease, spread by unprotected intimate contact with the Koranus.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 48 | View Replies]

To: SIDENET

There will be no homeless again when Hillary takes over. ;^)


54 posted on 01/20/2007 1:15:14 PM PST by tioga
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: Rb ver. 2.0

Great for the enviornment


55 posted on 01/20/2007 1:16:21 PM PST by ballplayer
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: spunkets

Your reply begs a question....how do you know there was no specific statutory authority?


56 posted on 01/20/2007 1:27:38 PM PST by tenthirteen
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 46 | View Replies]

To: agooga
We should eat the homeless.

P.J. thinks otherwise. :))

57 posted on 01/20/2007 1:53:17 PM PST by mc5cents (Show me just what Mohammd brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: tenthirteen
"how do you know there was no specific statutory authority?"

The stolen and destroyed property is tents. Notice there were no drug arrests and no claims that the tents were confiscated as fruits of the drug trade. What was claimed was, they did it to get rid of the homeless men.

58 posted on 01/20/2007 1:59:44 PM PST by spunkets
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 56 | View Replies]

To: mtbopfuyn
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.

Some say that, but I believe in using a good vinegar soak to remove some of that wild game taste and rancid urine odor.
59 posted on 01/20/2007 2:17:53 PM PST by Jaysun (I've never paid for sex in my life. And that's really pissed off a lot of prostitutes.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 38 | View Replies]

To: dawn53
The Rev. Bruce Wright sounds like he was ordained by the same folks that gave us Rev. Sharpton and Rev. Jackson.
60 posted on 01/20/2007 2:21:01 PM PST by Jaysun (I've never paid for sex in my life. And that's really pissed off a lot of prostitutes.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 48 | View Replies]

To: Rb ver. 2.0

I totally agree with you. I was being VERY sarcastic.


61 posted on 01/20/2007 3:38:49 PM PST by Fresh Wind (All we are sa-a-a-ying, is give Beast a chance.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: spunkets

OK, that being what you say it is, but I think the city has a right to confiscate any structure/material that is deemed to be a hazard to the community. In that these folks were smoking and cooking (by fire) within these tents, and the Fire marshall advised them to vacate for safety reasons, then I think it is NOT unreasonable to come in and destroy those structures. Municipalities condemn and knock down homes all the time. Why would one think this is different?


62 posted on 01/20/2007 4:22:45 PM PST by tenthirteen
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 58 | View Replies]

To: tenthirteen
"I think the city has a right to confiscate any structure/material that is deemed to be a hazard to the community."

A tent is a hazard?

I think the theft as destruction was criminal. There's nothing wrong with having a fire in the tent. The frie marshal should have just made a rule, or had the police enforce an existing rule, which would have been with a ticket. They should have been arrested if there was a problem.

"Municipalities condemn and knock down homes all the time."

After due process of law and compensation has been given. They don't do that by making up their own rules!

63 posted on 01/20/2007 5:22:36 PM PST by spunkets
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 62 | View Replies]

To: meg88

Hallelujah! I'm a bum,
Hallelujah bum again!
Hallelujah! give us a handout
To revive us again.


64 posted on 01/20/2007 5:30:20 PM PST by LibKill (ENOUGH! Take the warning labels off everything and let Saint Darwin do his job.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: spunkets

A tent which has an open fire with a person in it is always a hazard. But then you cannot possibly be uneducated enough not to know that. Or can you?


65 posted on 01/20/2007 7:02:20 PM PST by tenthirteen
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 63 | View Replies]

To: tenthirteen
"A tent which has an open fire with a person in it is always a hazard."

No. I do it all the time.

"But then you cannot possibly be uneducated enough not to know that. Or can you?"

Bite me.

66 posted on 01/20/2007 7:10:23 PM PST by spunkets
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 65 | View Replies]

To: meg88

The Russian police have some interesting methods..they may no longer be the Soviet Union, but somebody forgot to tell them that.


67 posted on 01/21/2007 1:32:23 AM PST by af_vet_rr
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first previous 1-5051-67 last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson