Miami Heads To Federal Court To Get Permission To Arrest Homeless People

Categories: Politicks
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The City of Miami has taken to federal court to undo a 15-year-old legal agreement that protected homeless people from undue arrest and harassment by the authorities. The city is concerned the homeless population is stunting downtown's growth, and want the courts to alter a 1988 settlement that bars Miami police from arresting homeless people for such "involuntary, harmless acts'' without first offering them an alternative location to lay their head.

The city wants more leeway when it comes to being able to legally cleanup homeless people's belongings, or even dispose of them. In addition the city will ask to completely exclude sexual predators from protection under the old law.

The city's Downtown Development Authority says downtown's homeless population is stunting the area's growth. DDA Attorney Jay Solowsky tells the Herald it is "the single most significant issue we are facing downtown."

Police argue that the homeless are scaring not only families, but workers. Fans pouring into the American Airlines Arena for Heat games, meanwhile, are being met with more aggressive panhandlers blocking sidewalks and relieving themselves in public.

Which is all well and good, but the whole reason the city acceded to the so-called Pottinger Settlement back in 1988 was because the ACLU made a compelling case that police were abusing the city's most vulnerable citizens. Back then, police routinely rounded up homeless, dumped their belongings in the trash and charged them with loitering.

What's more, advocates say that settlement has decreased the homeless population from 6,000 to just 351 -- with many of those 351 only still on the streets because they refuse assistance. The act makes it illegal to arrest any homeless person, unless they refuse shelter and board.

Ron Book, chairman of Miami-Dade County's Homeless Trust doesn't think putting Homeless people in jail is answer at all. "I don't know what good it does putting those people in jail,'' Book tells the Herald. "I don't think it's wise, and I've told them that clearly and repeatedly.''

Commissioner Francis Suarez argues changing the law would actually help the city do a better job of aiding the homeless. "What this does is gives us a greater ability to take care of them," he said.

The changes would allow police to detain those chronically homeless if they refuse help three times in 180 days, seize and destroy property left in public spaces, and allow them to detain those chronically homeless if they refuse help three times in 180 days.

Assistant City Attorney Warren Bittner said, the city "must show a substantial change in circumstances" to change the Pottinger settlement. It will be up to the authorities to prove the changes are needed, and that they would benefit the city and its growth.

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35 comments
nanana
nanana

The city's Downtown Development Authority says downtown's homeless population is stunting the area's growth. DDA Attorney Jay Solowsky tells the Herald it is "the single most significant issue we are facing downtown."

....well whose fault is that? do they really think its the homeless person's fault that they are homeless??? Im not saying I know everyone's story but ill take a wild guess and say our infrastructure is completely fucked so that anyone who potentially can become homeless does because of lack of resources the city provides. smdh

tommy114
tommy114

Mental Illness and homelessness are symbiotic in nature and will continue to grow until we look at the bigger issue.  As funding is cut for mental health care by the blinder wearing sociopathic elite ruling class , everyone will feel the sting of the ripple effect of mental illness.  Rather than provide awareness education and accessible treatment options we look to vilify the Mentally Ill.  For more insight into the Miami Mental Health conditions read the book "Crazy,A Father's Search Through America's Mental Health Madness"  It is truly a sad situation, but the politicians have the answer, "Lock'em Up" so they can be abused, and held in solidity confinement for years, hidden from the world. But as long as those downtown businesses are selling more coffee... Please visit theheartofva.org share mental health information with those you love . 1 in 4 American's lve with mental illness each day, and 75% of lifelong mental illness manifests between the ages of 17 and 24 yrs old.  Please share with 4 people you care about.

Thank you, Tommy Edwards, Founder

The Heart of Virginia Foundation 

theheartofva.org

music4mentalhealth.com

"

d_galeas
d_galeas

Am sorry I think Miami's finest#MPD should be able to punch a bum in the face.....and if u support homeless people do me a favor. adopt them take to your house ,take care of them and while your at work thinking about how good it feels to help out others in need that bum you just took care of is running off with are your stuff and shitting on your door step just so you can remember how big of an idiot you are. we live in America a country like no other so no ticket no laundry .

Oscar Gonzalez
Oscar Gonzalez

Also to prove my point, Cubans need to go through more obstacles to leave their county then most Hispanic countries. They don't only migrate here. Cuba 11,163,934 (2012 Census) Total population of Cuba [1] Regions with significant populations United States (2011/born) 1,094,811 [2] Spain (2011) 116,852 [3] Puerto Rico (2011) 17,301 Italy (2011) 17,947 [4] Mexico (2010) 12,108 [5] Venezuela (2001) 9,795 [6] Canada (2006) 9,395 [4] Chile (2002) 3,163 [6] Argentina (2001) 2,457 [7] Sweden (2008) 2,146 [4] Colombia (2005) 1,459 [4] Brazil (2000) 1,343 [6] Ecuador (2001) 1,242 [6] Switzerland (2000) 1,168 [4] Netherlands (2008) 1,123 [4] United Kingdom (2001) 1,083 Ukraine (2001) 262 [8] U.S. Virgin Islands (2000) 141 [9]

Oscar Gonzalez
Oscar Gonzalez

Yes, Cubans have more rights and I understand that. Cubans are not here by choice. They are here because communism has taken over their island. Cuba was not a poor county like what you see in other Hispanic countries. Nobody chooses to be ill. There are places that take care of them but they can't be hold in there against their will. Many of you don't like this but don't do anything to help these people. I meant nationality not ethnicity and sorry I misspelled a word. It doesn't make my point any less relevant. I really don't have much time to get involved in these things so I was writing quickly.

Floydian Slipped
Floydian Slipped

Greater minds have already answered this problem thus: "Instead of inflicting these horrible punishments, it would be far more to the point to provide everyone with some means of livelihood, so that nobody's under the frightful necessity of becoming first a thief and then a corpse.” ― Thomas More, Utopia

Ru Ru H
Ru Ru H

Homeless dont respect public property, they stink, and no one wants them in our beautiful downtown cities. Dont jail them, but make it uncomfortable and inconvenient for them, so that they will want to move elsewhere (maybe the Everglades where they can start over and build huts and stuff).

Miriel Robles
Miriel Robles

Well, that just makes the problem a hundred times worse!

Frank Castle
Frank Castle

this is a touchy subject, the homeless people should relocate somewhere else, maybe homestead or liberty city

Nuris Rosado-Diaz
Nuris Rosado-Diaz

Oscar Gonzalez...They don't choice to have mentally ill Live in the street of Miami or Drug Addicts. I was born in Cuba I came 1960 to NJ .I will never go to Cuba,But I believe and help this people like wean Cubens come to US.

Nuris Rosado-Diaz
Nuris Rosado-Diaz

The don't have a home ....the homeless Wow This is Miami, The Homeless are People's to.

Phillip Soares De Sa
Phillip Soares De Sa

People shouldn't be arrested simply because they don't own property. I wasn't born with a house, I shouldn't need one to live freely.

Erich Frank
Erich Frank

Talking about education and cannot even spell choose right. Have you ever thought maybe they're the most sucessful because of the many opportunities they get compared to other nationalities? I bet if you checked, Cubans receive more welfare than other groups. I didn't know Cuban was an ethnicity. You get an ''A'' for that response.

Oscar Gonzalez
Oscar Gonzalez

I'm OK with this, all of you are ignorant. There are places for them to go and programs to help them. They choice to live this way and many or mentally ill. Others are drug addicts. Cubans are not lazy, they are one of the ethnic groups that are the most successful. Maybe you should educate yourself and look around. You will find Cubans around the world being successful. Look in government, schools, hospital, entertainment and just about anywhere.

Christina De Armas Dominguez
Christina De Armas Dominguez

Honestly, I don't think this is a good idea. I think a night a jail is going to cost taxpayers more then a night in a run down motel room.

lickwidspace
lickwidspace

I've lived in Downtown Miami for 5 years, and can honestly say these homeless people are a plague on the city.  Get rid of them.

trishthedish
trishthedish

of course the city wants to get them off the street to jail them for "involuntary, harmless acts", of course...so they can get the snot beat out of them in jail, brillant!

cinderella_702
cinderella_702

Try helping the homeless getting housing and jobs, arrest them for what??  I can honestly comment on this since I have lived it.  And NO!!!  They DO NOT offer assistance, they say do and don't.  Assistance to them means going in a shelter that does nothing for them at all, no help with housing or employment... lucky if you get some clean clothes.  YET, they will swear in court that they have offered assistance and you have refused..... remember, its your word against theirs and we all know who wins that one.

Tatiana Delacroix Castro
Tatiana Delacroix Castro

Seriously?! How about we help them so they can start from somewhere? But yet the government decides to give lazy ass Cubans free money every month!

Bilge Rat
Bilge Rat

as if the cops dont fuck with people the way it is

Roy Gonzalez
Roy Gonzalez

Well come to Florida..the 5th ring of hell!

Rose Lehmann
Rose Lehmann

Cuz you know, homeless people totally don't have it bad enough as it is.

Rose Lehmann
Rose Lehmann

This fucking ass backwards state gets worse and worse by the day. My GOD.

nanana
nanana

@Ru Ru H wow thats fucked up...

daysleeper.ak
daysleeper.ak

@Donnie Donnie why do we have to move, you're the one who sucks

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