Police break up homelessness sleep-out, but “nicely” this year

Here’s an update sent to The Brew from Lisa Klingenmaier on last night’s Beds Not Benches Sleep-out at War Memorial Plaza in front of Baltimore City Hall.

Organizers (Klingenmaier was one of them) had obtained a permit to be there from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Bottom line: unlike last year’s sleep-out, when a large number of police ejected activists from the spot in an aggressive manner, there was a smaller police presence this year and they were more civil:

“We did get moved, although in a much more respectful way than last year. Three SWAT officers came around 11:05 p.m. They let us know our permit ended, and said they’d give us a 1/2 hour to clean up, and anyone left after would be arrested.

But they were very polite & thanked us for our efforts to raise awareness, but said we couldn’t stay due to laws about sleeping in public.

We moved to the University of Maryland Baltimore, and they were amazingly accommodating and supportive. Their police kept an eye on us all night.”

For those interested in other Baltimore events around the issue of homelessness, the annual Homeless Person’s Memorial Service is scheduled on December 21, at 5. p.m. at the Inner Harbor Amphitheater, at the corner of Pratt and Calvert streets.

It’s organized by the SHARP (Stop Hunger and Reduce Poverty) coalition and the date of the event, as always, coincides with the longest night of the year. Typically, the names of city residents who died this year while homeless are read aloud.

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  • Kim Trueheart

    Respectful police engagement … Fair and Impartial Policing: A Science Based Approach. ~ Commissioner Batts wants to implement.

  • cwals99

    This is the time of year we need everyone to let the city know that the Code Blue homeless shelters are notoriously dangerous for those people needing to go there.  People will do anything to avoid these shelters.  Whether assaults, sexual advances, drugs/possessions being stolen, there are few safety audits made to assure these shelters are doing the job for which they are tasked.

    My particular concern has to do with shelter staff who engage in intimidation of female shelter clients in demanding sexual favors for the right to stay.  This isn’t hyperbole and it isn’t rare……and this is the precise thing that would be detected if the city sent out undercover staff.  I have worked all my life with homeless shelters and I have never seen such a casual approach to a very scary time in people’s lives.  Staffing, especially at night should be held in highest integrity.  We often had people from churches come and spend the night as a monitor for example.

    Whether it is prescription drugs stolen that are hard for the poor to replace or the threat of losing one valuable you managed to salvage in this upheaval…..we need to assure people in Code Blue are treated with dignity!

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