Funds raised will support paying the 11 tickets + fees of the people ticketed on the night of July 13th. More information below.
On July 13th, 2016, after hearing there may be sweeps on the river that night, a number of Denver Homeless Out Loud members and others living on the streets went to the river to act as “cop watch” and hold police accountable. Some people who often sleep in the general area gathered to sleep on 15th and Little Raven, and a number of DHOL members stayed there awake to watch for police, while others biked the river watching out for other camps. At 1:30am about 25 cops rolled into the area by 15th and Little Raven, surrounded the 11 people sleeping and sitting there, and told them to sit on the ground and not to move, ran everyone’s name, and gave everyone tickets for park curfew and arrested two people for warrants. This area had no signs designating it as a park.
There were 36 people total ticketed for park curfew along the river that night. What was abnormal about this night was not that 36 plus people were sleeping by the river, but the large number of police patrolling and ticketing sleeping people. People sleep along the river every night and will continue to do so as sweeps in downtown areas continue to push people further away and as there continue to be no attainable homes. Since March, police have been increasingly “moving along” people sleeping by the river (while at the same time telling people sleeping in downtown areas to go to the river to sleep). The sweeps on July 13th was just a larger scale – hitting more people, with more tickets, and with more police.
The city tries to justify these sweep under “health and safety” concerns. If the issue is health and safety then put up a public bathroom with toilets and water in the area, bring in trash services, or allow people to use tents or other protection from the elements. If they were actually concerned about the health and safety of those staying here these would have been logical responses. But since they are not actually concerned about the health and safety of people staying here but rather justifying kicking “unwanted people” father out of sight and out of mind, there response was to threaten to arrest people, to take their meager homes, and tell them to leave. The city further tries to justify these sweeps by saying they help “connect people to services.” This is like saying giving someone a band aid will help heal their broken leg. This sweep has left so many people displaced without their only basic survival gear.
This massive policing of people resting NEEDS TO STOP! It is morally wrong to treat people as criminals for doing something that is not a crime – sleeping is not a crime no matter how you write the laws.
Here is a video of mass police ticketing for sleeping and sitting
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