Tag Archives: Criminalization of Homelessness

52.4% Of All Arrests In The Entire City Of Los Angeles For Public Urination/Defecation From 2009 Through February 2019 Were Made In Just Six LAPD Reporting Districts In The Hollywood Entertainment District BID — Yet More Proof That Business Improvement Districts Oppress Homeless People Through Selective Enforcement — And More Proof That The Hollywood BID Patrol Is Completely Off The Chain — And Has Been Running A Private Police State For Years — With The City’s Full Blessing And Collusion Of Course

A few weeks ago I learned from some data released by the LAPD that 73% of all arrests for public marijuana use in the entire City of Los Angeles between 2016 and 2018 took place in the Hollywood Entertainment District BID.1 This is obviously a crime much more likely to be committed by homeless people, since they don’t have a private place to smoke marijuana. Here’s what I said then about the BID’s outrageous rate of arresting homeless residents:

The HPOA BID Patrol is famous for its aggressive arrest policies. In 2013 they were responsible for more than 7% of the arrests of homeless people in the entire City of Los Angeles. Their arrest rate has dropped precipitously in the last few years, but it is still unbelievably high. But since 2016 they have refused to provide data on their individual arrests in response to CPRA requests, so it hasn’t been possible to tell who they were arresting and why.2

And it turns out that LAPD will release these spreadsheets pretty quickly, and just recently they released a couple containing all arrests for violating LAMC 41.47.2, which is the public urination law. And a quick analysis reveals a very similar result. That is, there are essentially six LAPD reporting districts in the Hollywood Entertainment District BID. They are 636, 637, 645, 646, 647, and 666. There are 1135 reporting districts in the City, but these six in the BID accounted for 52.4% of all the public urination arrests in the City from 2009 through 2019, a total of 887 arrests out of 1,693.

Contrast this with Skid Row, which is encompassed by 11 reporting districts.3 Between 2009 and 2019 these 11 reporting districts accounted for only 35 arrests for public urination. That is less than 4% of the arrests in the Hollywood Entertainment District. Obviously the difference isn’t due to less public urination in Skid Row, it’s due to extreme differential enforcement. It’s really unlikely that the LAPD on its own would create such a disparity. If the BID patrol isn’t making all these arrests, nevertheless the BID must be the ultimate cause.

It’s worth noting here, by the way, that public urination was not even illegal in Los Angeles until 2003. Even at the time it was opposed by LACAN and others because the intention was obviously to further the criminalization of homelessness. In response, “Council members pledged that people would be prosecuted only in cases when there is a public toilet nearby that they failed to use.” But such pledges aren’t worth the toilet paper that’s smeared with them, and, as everyone who’s paying attention knows, the law has only been used as the anti-homeless weapon it was obviously intended to be.4

And, it turns out, mostly so used by the most toxic BID in the City, the Hollywood Entertainment District BID. Turn the page for some nifty maps showing the relationship of these six reporting districts to the BID boundaries as well as a histogram showing the freakishly uneven distribution. Click the image to enlarge.
Continue reading 52.4% Of All Arrests In The Entire City Of Los Angeles For Public Urination/Defecation From 2009 Through February 2019 Were Made In Just Six LAPD Reporting Districts In The Hollywood Entertainment District BID — Yet More Proof That Business Improvement Districts Oppress Homeless People Through Selective Enforcement — And More Proof That The Hollywood BID Patrol Is Completely Off The Chain — And Has Been Running A Private Police State For Years — With The City’s Full Blessing And Collusion Of Course

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Reefer Madness Is Alive And Well In The Hollywood Entertainment District BID! — Between 2016 and 2018 73% Of All Citations For Public Marijuana Use In the Entire City Of Los Angeles Were In the Hollywood BID — The Venice BID Is A Distant Second Place With 8% — Leaving A Mere 19% — Which Is Only 170 Citations — For The Entire Rest Of The City Of Los Angeles

Even though marijuana use in California was formally legalized recently, it’s still against the law to use it in public per the California Health and Safety Code at §11362.3. And apparently Lolita Lopez, investigative reporter at NBCLA, is doing a story on how this plays out in Los Angeles, because on February 2, 2019 she filed a CPRA request with the City for a list of citations under this law from 2016 to the present. Her request was successful, and a few days later the LAPD handed over this spreadsheet, organized by reporting district.1

And public marijuana use is one of those laws that’s custom-made for differential enforcement against homeless people. Thus it occurred to me to take a look at this data in conjuction with BIDs, which are one of the main engines of differential enforcement in Los Angeles. And the data revealed something really interesting. There were 887 citations in the two years covered by the data. Of these citations, 645 occurred in only 6 reporting districts, which precisely cover the Hollywood Entertainment District BID. Also 71 occurred in two others, which precisely cover the Venice Beach BID. The other 171 were spread out pretty evenly across the whole rest of the City.

This means that 72.7% of all citations for public marijuana use in the entire City of Los Angeles since 2016 were issued in the Hollywood Entertainment District BID. And 8% were issued in the Venice Beach BID. It doesn’t take any kind of fancy statistical analysis to prove that this is a really significant result, almost certainly linked to Kerry Morrison and her BID’s well-known tactic of arresting every homeless person that they can lay their hands on for the most trivial possible matters, such as drinking in public or urinating in public. Evidently now we can add smoking marijuana in public to this list of homeless-criminalizing tactics employed by the BID.

The HPOA BID Patrol is famous for its aggressive arrest policies. In 2013 they were responsible for more than 7% of the arrests of homeless people in the entire City of Los Angeles. Their arrest rate has dropped precipitously in the last few years, but it is still unbelievably high. But since 2016 they have refused to provide data on their individual arrests in response to CPRA requests, so it hasn’t been possible to tell who they were arresting and why.2

However, each arrest that the BID Patrol makes results in some kind of action by the LAPD. And given that the LAPD doesn’t seem to expend much effort in arresting anyone for public marijuana use outside the BID, it’s not unreasonable to assume that these figures are a proxy for the BID’s interest in the differential enforcement of this law. If they’re not making these arrests themselves then the arrests are the result of some BID policy.

The situation in Venice is a little less clear, as the Venice Beach BID only started its security work sometime in 2017, and the Boardwalk is a likely place for the LAPD to practice its own style of selective enforcement without needing a BID to encourage it. But the moral of the story is still very clear. It’s illegal to smoke marijuana in public in Los Angeles, but effectively it’s illegal only if you’re homeless and only if you’re in the Hollywood BID. Turn the page for maps and charts!
Continue reading Reefer Madness Is Alive And Well In The Hollywood Entertainment District BID! — Between 2016 and 2018 73% Of All Citations For Public Marijuana Use In the Entire City Of Los Angeles Were In the Hollywood BID — The Venice BID Is A Distant Second Place With 8% — Leaving A Mere 19% — Which Is Only 170 Citations — For The Entire Rest Of The City Of Los Angeles

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Everyone Knows That LAMC 41.18(d) Outlaws Sitting Or Lying On A Sidewalk Or Street — At Least If You’re Homeless — But Did You Know That It’s Also Illegal Even To Stand Or Walk In An Alley? — At Least If You’re Homeless — Downtown Neighborhood Prosecutor Kurt Knecht Explains The Whole Thing To The LAPD — Who Aren’t Just Abstractly Interested In Legal Principles That Can’t Be Weaponized — And Clearly This One Can

One of the most shameful sections in the entire Los Angeles Municipal Code is the reprehensible LAMC 41.18(d), which says in its sinister understated way that “No person shall sit, lie or sleep in or upon any street, sidewalk or other public way.” The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in its monumental Jones decision, has called this “one of the most restrictive municipal laws regulating public spaces in the United States” because, unlike laws passed by sane people, it doesn’t even require blocking anything for a violation. Just sitting, lying, or sleeping.1

As you can imagine if you don’t already know, this law is certainly never enforced against anyone who’s not homeless. We’ve seen, e.g., how Hurricane Kerry Morrison, killer queen of the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance, can confess publicly to violating it with no consequences. There are many, many such instances. But maybe you’ve noticed the loophole? You can be sure that, as many homeless people as the LAPD’s able to arrest for violating LAMC 41.18(d), there are surely far, far too many who get away unarrested because they’re standing or walking. As long, that is, as they’re not sleepwalking or sleepstanding. Then they can still be arrested.

This is an important unsolved problem in the criminalization of homelessness, at least from the point of view of the criminalizers. That is to say, how can they illegalize not just most, but actually all positions that a homeless body can be in? They have evidently had their finest legal minds working on it, and it turns out that Downtown neighborhood prosecutor Kurt Knecht, has come up with a legal theory on which homeless people can be arrested for standing or walking as well as sitting or lying as long as they’re doing it in an alley that’s open to cars. It’s only a partial solution, to be sure, but it seems to be a new addition to the criminalization toolkit.

The context is found in this September 2017 email from Knecht to LAPD captains Marc Reina and Timothy Harrelson about a homeless encampment in an alley in the 700 block of South Hill Street:2
Continue reading Everyone Knows That LAMC 41.18(d) Outlaws Sitting Or Lying On A Sidewalk Or Street — At Least If You’re Homeless — But Did You Know That It’s Also Illegal Even To Stand Or Walk In An Alley? — At Least If You’re Homeless — Downtown Neighborhood Prosecutor Kurt Knecht Explains The Whole Thing To The LAPD — Who Aren’t Just Abstractly Interested In Legal Principles That Can’t Be Weaponized — And Clearly This One Can

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CD13 Staff Organizes On-Demand Homeless Encampment Cleanup for Benefit of Bryan Kim of “Scumbag” Cat-Kicking Koreatown Slumlords Kim and Casey, Subsequently Personally Invite Him to Support LAMC 56.11 in Council

CD13 gleefully kicking "frustrating" homeless people out of your neighborhood since 2013.
Mitch O’Farrell and his staff: gleefully kicking “frustrating” homeless people out of your neighborhood since 2013.
How does the City of Los Angeles decide which homeless encampments to target for cleanup? How do they decide when to target them? Well, if these two email chains from City Council District 13 about encampment-breaking on Vermont Avenue and Marathon Street in Koreatown are any indication (one and two) they target them when non-homeless people call CD13 and tell them to clean out the homeless people.1 And what do they get out of targeting them? Well, they’re politically savvy enough to turn down free lunches offered in exchange for their dirty work, but they will accept an offer of bused-in political supporters to astroturf the public comments section of a Council meeting. First let’s look at the players involved.

Bryan Kim is a partner in Koreatown based property management company Kim and Casey, which doesn’t seem to have a website.2 They do, however, have a Yelp page. This is notable for having uniformly one star reviews, which include comments like:3

They would tell me I was picky about the filth they’d promised to clean up before I moved in but never took care of it. They wouldn’t accept responsibility and blamed everyone and everything else until they were legally forced to take control of the growing sludge and cesspool that had been forming for I don’t know how many weeks .

Aram Taslagyan: "Hi Bryan, [the homeless encampment that was interfering with your pending property inspection] is all clean now. ... Please let me know if it starts up again at any level.
Aram Taslagyan: “Hi Bryan, [the homeless encampment that was interfering with your pending property inspection] is all clean now. … Please let me know if it starts up again at any level.

Or, even more colorfully:

I had my sink drain burst and when I asked them to fix it they said “NO”. The reason they gave me was that I had a bathroom sink to use and I dint really need the one in my kitchen. … What kind of management company is this? Also, one day as I was looking out my window, I saw one of the three guys who were walking the property from Kim and Casey Kick my neighbors cat at he was walking down the path way. It was the middle aged guy of the three that were walking the property. I don’t know his name and don’t care to know such a scumbag.

So that’s Bryan Kim according to Yelp; K-Town slumlord and associate of cat-kickers if not a cat-kicker himself. The other correspondent is CD13 field deputy Aram Taslagyan, whose bio you can read for yourself. The whole thing evidently began with a disconnected phone call from Kim to CD13 intern Sean Starkey, which resulted in this email:
Continue reading CD13 Staff Organizes On-Demand Homeless Encampment Cleanup for Benefit of Bryan Kim of “Scumbag” Cat-Kicking Koreatown Slumlords Kim and Casey, Subsequently Personally Invite Him to Support LAMC 56.11 in Council

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In 2013 The Andrews International BID Patrol Arrested Homeless People at More than 57 Times the Rate that the LAPD Did and were Responsible for 1 in 14 Homeless Arrests in Entire City of Los Angeles

The BID Patrol can't make its numbers just arresting one homeless person at a time.
The BID Patrol can’t make its numbers just arresting one homeless person at a time.
(I apologize in advance for this necessarily data-heavy post, but it’s essential information).

In 20131 the BID Patrol arrested homeless people at more than 57 times the rate that the LAPD did. Furthermore, they were responsible for more than 1% of all arrests made in the entire City of Los Angeles that year even while working only 0.13% of the hours that the LAPD did. Approximately one in fourteen arrests of homeless people in the entire city of Los Angeles that year was made by the BID Patrol.

Here’s how I calculated these figures: That year the LAPD made 14,838 arrests of homeless people2 whereas the Andrews International BID Patrol made 1,096 arrests.3 Reading through A/I’s 2013 arrest reports and examining A/I’s 2013 arrest photos I see no reason to believe that the BID Patrol arrested non-homeless people in 2013 in any significant number.4
Continue reading In 2013 The Andrews International BID Patrol Arrested Homeless People at More than 57 Times the Rate that the LAPD Did and were Responsible for 1 in 14 Homeless Arrests in Entire City of Los Angeles

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Shame, Shame on Carol Schatz: The Zillion Dollar Woman’s Duplicity is Revealed by Propositional Logic Even Though She Just Wants to be Fair to “Homeless Individuals”

Carol Schatz's duplicity laid bare by Venn diagrams!
Carol Schatz’s duplicity laid bare by Venn diagrams!

UPDATE (3/17 9:40 a.m.): Just now the City Clerk sent out the agenda for a special meeting of the City Council tomorrow morning, amended to include the very change described in this post, requested by Carol Schatz only yesterday. Now THAT is political juice. Disgusting.

Carol Schatz, she of the zillion dollars an hour paycheck, just this evening with respect to Council file 14-1656-S1, on homeless people’s property, had a letter to the Council appear, advocating a change in conjunction from “and” to “or” in the proposed statute. Here’s what Carol Schatz had to say about the current proposal:

The ordinance from the City Attorney transmitted to the PWGR committee1 only leads to a violation if a person refuses to remove a tent and obstructs removal.

And why is this bad, Carol? Pray, do tell:

This is unreasonable in light of limited city resources. It would require the continued involvement of the LAPD to have tents deconstructed on a daily basis, which is not practical or the best use of resources. It also does not meet the City’s goal of decriminalizing homelessness.

And not only that, but look:

This is unfair to homeless individuals, business owners, residents and other community stakeholders.

You read it here second, friends! Carol Schatz is concerned that some City law is unfair to homeless people.2 Carol Schatz, the homeless people’s friend! Well, anyway, that line about the proposed law not decriminalizing homelessness is true, at least. Arresting homeless people because they won’t remove their tent and obstruct its removal “…does not meet the City’s goal of decriminalizing homelessness.” After all, it provides a way to arrest people, and only homeless people are affected. So what’s her solution? We are glad you asked! Read on for details:
Continue reading Shame, Shame on Carol Schatz: The Zillion Dollar Woman’s Duplicity is Revealed by Propositional Logic Even Though She Just Wants to be Fair to “Homeless Individuals”

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Analysis of Public Urination Arrest Reports Reveals BID Patrol Ignorance of Meaning of Word “Public,” Illuminates Importance of Rule of Law in a Free Society

Public urine in Hollywood belongs in a public restroom.  But what counts as public?
Public urine in Hollywood belongs in a public restroom. But what counts as public?
While poking around BID Patrol arrest reports recently obtained from the HPOA by our faithful correspondent, we noticed a weird, repetitive quirk in the ones relating to LAMC 41.47.2, which forbids public urination. The arresting security guards uniformly either ask their victim if he or she knew of the existence of public restrooms close by or else they note in their report that there were public restrooms close by. Now, whenever one finds this kind of textual consistency in police reports it’s possible to be sure of two things. First, there’s some element of the crime that they’re trying to make sure is definitely established. Second, that they’re probably lying. In this case, it was hard to see what element might be related to the proximity of public restrooms. The law doesn’t mention them, and is not subtle in the least:

No person shall urinate or defecate in or upon any public street, sidewalk, alley, plaza, beach, park, public building or other publicly maintained facility or place, or in any place open to the public or exposed to public view, except when using a urinal, toilet or commode located in a restroom, or when using a portable or temporary toilet or other facility designed for the sanitary disposal of human waste and which is enclosed from public view.

But a little googling revealed the explanation, among other interesting things. First, public urination wasn’t against the law in the city of Los Angeles until 2003. We’re guessing that there was no pressing need to make it so because vagrancy laws could be used against public urinators as desired until they were definitively destroyed in 1983.1 So maybe outlawing public urination wasn’t as urgent as, e.g., squashing drinking beer in the park (which was outlawed in LA only in 1983) and also, the LA Times suggested that previously public urinators were charged with littering, but that the City Attorney decided that that was bogus. In any case, the Council file on the matter shows, surprisingly, that it took more than four years to get the prohibition passed into law. There doesn’t seem to have been any public discussion of the matter before it passed, either, although it may be just that the online materials from that long ago are fragmentary.

Second, the LA Times article quoted the objections of members of the Los Angeles Community Action Network and other homeless advocates to a law which criminalized essential bodily functions of the homeless, and in response, after the law was passed, according to the Times, “Council members pledged that people would be prosecuted only in cases when there is a public toilet nearby that they failed to use.” So this is why, no doubt, the BID Patrol feels that it has to note the locations of nearby “public” restrooms in its arrest reports. Their weirdo interpretation of the meaning of “public” also shows why it’s necessary to put things like the “public restrooms available” pledge in the law itself. Actually, once the law is passed, it doesn’t matter what Councilmembers say they meant it to mean, it only matters what it says. This is how the rule of law works in a free society. Also, isn’t it very suspicious but unfortunately not surprising that they put the fuzzy-wuzzy warmsy-hugsy interpretation of the law in the paper but not in the statute books?

And that’s not the worst thing about this nonsense. Even if the City Council intended the law to be enforced this way, even if the freaking Mayor ordered the LAPD only to enforce the law this way, none of that would reign in the BID Patrol. They are essentially beyond the control of public policy and beholden only to the written letter of the law.2 As we’ve discussed before, according to LAPD Commander Andrew Smith, if a citizen’s arrest is made, the LAPD must accept custody of the arrestee even if the arrest was made contrary to public policy.

We look at some specific examples after the break, and also provide links to all mentions of the words “public” and “restroom” in both the 2007 and the 2013 BID Patrol arrest reports so you can see for yourself what’s going on.
Continue reading Analysis of Public Urination Arrest Reports Reveals BID Patrol Ignorance of Meaning of Word “Public,” Illuminates Importance of Rule of Law in a Free Society

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