Somebody’s Lying To Somebody About Something: Mike Feuer? LA Times Editorial Board? All of the Above? BID Security Absolutely Does Not Have to Wait for the LAPD to Arrest Homeless People For Sitting On The Sidewalk

According to the L.A. Times the BID Patrol has to wait for the LAPD to arrest people for violating LAMC 41.18(d).  Ask this man if that's true.
According to the L.A. Times the BID Patrol has to wait for the LAPD to arrest people for violating LAMC 41.18(d). Ask this man if that’s true.

In an editorial in this morning’s Times about the Venice Beach BID it is stated:

Even during the day, when the municipal code against sitting, lying or sleeping on a sidewalk or street is enforceable, the BID ambassadors would be required to call the police or city employees to enforce it, according to the city attorney’s office.

Of course, in the ordinary meaning of the word “enforce” this is demonstrably not true. In Hollywood, the BID Patrol, operated by Andrews International Security on behalf of the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance which manages two local BIDs, arrests people for violating the despicable LAMC 41.18(d) on an exceedingly regular basis. They handcuff them and either forcibly transport them in a private vehicle to the police station or else wait on-scene for LAPD to arrive to complete the arrest process.

This might charitably be interpreted as waiting for the police to enforce the law in the sense that the LAPD has to issue citations. But the difference to the arrested person, who is handcuffed, forced into a private car or made to sit or lie shackled on the sidewalk until the cops show up to cite them out, is nonexistent. If that’s what Mike Feuer’s office meant by what they apparently said to the Times Editorial Board then shame on them for being so disingenuous. If they meant something else, it wasn’t true. And shame too on the Editorial Board for not investigating that easily refuted claim.

UPDATE: I just received this email, sent yesterday by Rob Wilcox at the City Attorney’s office to Carla Hall at the L.A. Times, stating explicitly that:

Only peace officers or authorized city employees could enforce that section of the ordinance [LAMC 41.18(d)]. BID employees would not be able to enforce.

He doesn’t give a reason, but his statement is demonstrably untrue. I wonder what he meant by it? State law requires police to accept custody of anyone who’s arrested by a private person, and allows private persons to make arrests for any violation of the criminal law.

According to the L.A. Times the BID Patrol has to wait for the LAPD to arrest people for violating LAMC 41.18(d).  Ask this man if that's true.
According to the L.A. Times the BID Patrol has to wait for the LAPD to arrest people for violating LAMC 41.18(d). Ask this man if that’s true.
After the break you will find links to actual BID Patrol arrest reports from 2015 for violations of LAMC 41.18(d).1 Also, here is a horrific video showing what one of these BID Patrol arrests looks like in reality rather than in the delusional fantasy world evidently inhabited by the City Attorney and the LA Times Editorial Board. Here’s a representative sample from one of the reports:

A short time later, we observed MARLOW place his belongings on the ground then lay on the sidewalk. We made contact with MARLOW and informed him he was in violation of 41.18 (d) LAMC- Sitting on public sidewalk. MARLOW refused to comply with our request to stand up and became verbally confrontational with BID officers. MARLOW proceeded to stand up and walk in and out of traffic on Hollywood Blvd. MARLOW also walked away and returned 3 times and was verbally confrontational towards BID Officers. We waited for additional units and FB2 and ED-30 arrived on scene. MARLOW was pulled to the ground by BID Officers in order to safely handcuff him.

And here’s another one:

We then contacted the subjects (one later identified S/ Mull) that were physically blocking the sidewalk with his property and bicycle sidewalk, a violation of 41.18 (d) LAMC- (Blocking, Sitting, Sleeping on the Sidewalk). The subjects admitted that they were not supposed to block the sidewalk per prior BID officers warnings from the past.

We advised S/ Mull that we were placing him under “Private Person’s Arrest”, per 837 Penal Code – (Private Person’s Arrest – Authority To Arrest / see attached form) for 41.18 (d) Los Angeles Municipal Code – (Sitting/lying/sleeping on sidewalk). Mull was immediately handcuffed (adjusted / doubled locked) for his safety and comfort, as per policy.

We then escorted Mull to our patrol vehicle and was seated on the rear passengers side. He was seat belted (adjusted / secured) for his safety and comfort, as per policy.

We then transported him to the Hollywood and Highland substation, per 847 PC. When then met with LAPD Officers Lawrence and Gonzalez (6FB1) for a citation release.

Not only is that bit about who gets to arrest homeless people wrong, but this claim too could use some scrutiny in light of what’s happening in Hollywood:

We’re glad that property owners around Venice Beach care about their community and that they’re willing to pay extra to improve the neighborhood. But when it comes to the homeless, they must decide whether they want to be part of the solution or part of the problem. If the ambassadors are going to constitute a de facto private security force, their job should not be to hassle the homeless in an effort to move them pointlessly from corner to corner or to push them out of the neighborhood so that they become another jurisdiction’s problem.

The Times is right that this isn’t what BID security should do, but they’re missing the opportunity to point out that it is exactly what they actually do in Hollywood. The entire purpose of the BID Patrol is to hassle homeless people in an effort to move them out. See here for a conversation among members of the HPOA Board of directors and their security director instructing the BID Patrol to “toughen up” and “keep the area pretty clean” of homeless people. Since BID Ambassadors are required to work only within their BID, what else can their hassling lead to but pushing homeless people out of their jurisdiction?

Anyway, I guess it’s a good thing that the Times isn’t in favor of private BID security forces arresting homeless people in an effort to move them out of business improvement districts. But they need to investigate more before claiming that it doesn’t happen every day of the year in the City of Los Angeles. It does.

Note that this list is only partially complete as my automated search script seems to have missed some items it should have found.

All images are public records.

  1. There’s nothing special about 2015. You can find links here to arrest reports from earlier years.

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