As if being homeless, hungry, and poor isn’t enough for a person to endure, the police in this video take it a step further by stripping these homeless people of the few worldly possessions they can carry on their backs.
In a video released August 19th, San Francisco police officers remove bags, luggage, and backpacks from a public sidewalk and load them into a police vehicle. Onlookers watch helplessly as their belongings are hauled away. In one of the worst places in the nation to be homeless, with over 50% of the homeless having no shelter, food, or utilities available to them, an occurrence such as this would be devastating.
The homeless are often demonized by society and targeted by police. There are increasing numbers of cases in which the homeless suffer from mental illness. A video taken in March 2015 shows a homeless man gunned down by LAPD; police justified the shooting by saying the man reached for one of the officers’ weapons while he was on the ground. Another video taken in March 2014 shows a homeless man being executed by police after they discovered him camping.
In today’s society, homeless numbers are growing at an exponential rate. These people are frequently direct victims of society through circumstances not of their own making. Lack of education, public services, health services, and many other symptoms are common to a majority percentage of the homeless. In an ironic twist, society is quick to shun these people, referring to them as lazy and incompetent.
Some disturbing statistics found in The 2014 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress include:
- In January 2014, 578,424 people were homeless on a given night. Most (69 percent) were staying in residential programs for homeless people, and the rest (31 percent) were found in unsheltered locations
- In January 2014, 49,933 veterans were homeless on a single night. Just under 10 percent (4,722) were women.
- There were 45,205 unaccompanied homeless children and youths on a single night in 2014. Most (86 percent, or 38,931) were youths between the ages of 18 and 24, and 14 percent (or 6,274) were children under the age of 18.
The Right to Rest Campaign, located in California, Oregon, and Colorado, is an organization dedicated to homeless rights. They state on their website that their objective is to “overturn local laws targeted to remove certain people from public space.” Their motto is, “house keys, not handcuffs.”
These people are guilty simply of the crime of being poor. It is important to recognize these people as human beings. They should be given the same respect and compassion that one would give one’s neighbor. As Americans, we all share the right to pursue life, liberty and happiness. Nowhere in the Constitution does it read, “those rights shall be infringed due to lack of monetary resources.”