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Riverside police raid homeless camp; investigation launched

Riverside Police Chief Sergio Diaz is investigating whether his officers were overzealous in cleaning up a homeless encampment in the Santa Ana River after several of those rousted complained that their personal belongings were destroyed.

Officers raided the riverbed camps last week, breaking personal items, crushing canned food and throwing clothing into the water, an advocate for the homeless told the Riverside Press-Enterprise.

Police also slashed the tires of some of the campers' bicycles, said Ruth Record of the Come As You Are Ministry, who added that there was no reason to show "that kind of rage."

Cities often confiscate and destroy property during cleanups of makeshift camps, but activists are urging the homeless to fight back.

The ACLU and a group of Fresno attorneys sued that Central Valley city in 2006 after it confiscated clothes, medicine, bikes and documents from homeless encampments. 

The homeless plaintiffs won a $2.3-million settlement from Fresno in 2008. Some cities store belongings for 90 days, and others provide sturdy bags so transients can pack up their own things.

Riverside police were not immediately available for comment.

-- Catherine Saillant


Comments () | Archives (7)

The Riverside cops weren't aggressive enough...

This doesn't surprise me... If there is a reason for the raid, fine but to trash a persons ONLY belongings, especially given the circumstances is just wrong in every way. How about some mutual respect??? We THE CITIZENS respect you as law enforcement trying to keep us safe, and you as law enforcement respect the people who pay your salary as well as have a little compassion for peoples plights. Shame on you.... Then again we are talking Riverside where the cops are everybit as crooked as the methlab junkies they have running the streets!

Two side to every fight... No one wants a bum on the block.

Those bikes were stolen in the first place.

Leave the homeless alone don't they already have enough to worry about!

ACLU and a group of Fresno attorneys sued and the plantiffs got $2.3 million.

Ha!, after laywers fees each person got less than $100, and the city and all of us have to pay it in taxes. Yes the police were too destructive but why do I have to pay? I already pay the homeless through taxes to fund their meals, beds and hospital stays.

Song Title: "Blood is thicker than water"
Hear @ URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wuYXasJgv3A

A song about estranged loved ones who may or may not be homeless


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