Harassment by Police for Using a Public Park in King City Oregon

The following post and the video included with it were shared with the CopBlock Network by Theodore Pojman, via the CopBlock Submissions Page.

The video shows Officer Hyson of the King City Police Department extorting them for being in a public park, presumably because they are homeless and live in their truck.

According to Officer Hyson, this constitutes “illegal camping” (he eventually decides to extort them for criminal trespassing instead), even though they’ve done nothing except sleep in their truck.

Criminalization of homelessness is not a new thing. Many cities have passed laws that go so far as barring people from voluntarily sharing food with other people in public.

Oregon in particular has passed these “camping” bans which are explicitly intended to target and allow police harassment of homeless people.

Should someone’s economic situation really preclude people from using public spaces when their only “crime” is having nowhere else to go?

Date of Incident: July 1, 2016
Officer Involved: Officer Hyson Badge# 26709, Deputy Fletcher
Department Involved: King City (Oregon) Police Department
Facebook Page: King City – Oregon Police Department
File a Complaint: Online Complaint Form
Department Phone No.: (503) 620-8851

My friends and I were at King City Park at 8 in the morning when we were approached by a rude policeman named Officer Hyson.

He woke me up from a nap and demanded identification from us. I refused to present my license, because I was too tired to look for it, and instead gave verbal identification. He asked me for my social security number which I refused to give.

He seemed offended, called me “junior lawyer” and threatened to cite us for criminal trespass if we weren’t gone in one hour. It was during the park’s open hours. Fifty-five minutes later, after I had finished eating breakfast and was starting the van about to leave, officer friendly pulled up behind me to write me a ticket.

I explained to him that we weren’t committing a crime by being in the park, and that he had no evidence that we were “camping” overnight. He demanded that I present ID, I refused. He demanded that we step out of the vehicle. We refused. He then stuck his hand in the window uncomfortably close to me. I told him to retract his hand from my vehicle/home, he refused at first, but eventually backed off. I asked for his badge number. He said that it would be on the citation.

Around this time, Deputy Fletcher pulled up and talked to Officer Hyson and myself to see what was going on. He chatted with us for a while until officer hyson finished with the citation. Al three of us were cited for criminal trespass 2.

All in all it could have been worse, but I feel like my rights have been disrespected. I was in the public park during daylight hours and yet was cited for trespassing. I believe we were profiled for having Florida plates, being homeless and exercising my right to verbally identify.

I intend to fight the citation in a trial by jury on August 1st, 2016 and none of the three of us can afford to pay the fines. This will likely turn into a warrant if not taken care of. Legal help would be appreciated.

This is not the first time the police have harrassed me for sleeping. Sleeping outside has been criminalized in many places and even where it’s acceptable to sleep, I have been woken up and told to identify myself. I’m tired of this criminal harassment and would Like to see some consequences for these bullies who have nothing better to do than harass the homeless for the crime of existing.

– Theodore Pojman

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Kelly W. Patterson

a lifelong resident of Las Vegas, who's been very active in local grassroots activism, as well as on a national level during his extensive travels. He's also the founder/main contributor of Nevada CopBlock, Editor/contributor at CopBlock.org and designed the Official CopBlock Press Passes. ____________________________________________________________________________ If you appreciate Kelly's contributions to CopBlock, consider donating to the CopBlock Network and/or visiting the CopBlock Store. ____________________________________________________________________________ Connect with Kelly at these social networks; Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.