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Homeless Donate $3,000

Discussion in 'Issues Around the World' started by ethics, Dec 27, 2002.

  1. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Can someone explain <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/12-25-2002/news/local/story/46260p-43521c.html">this</a> to me?

    "A cop suspended for refusing to arrest a homeless man received a gift of $3,000 yesterday--donated by grateful homeless advocates and street people," the New York Daily News reports. The check was made out to Marissa Delacruz, wife of insubordinate cop Eduardo Delacruz, "to avoid a personal conflict for her husband."

    How is exactly that the "homeless," who supposedly need to beg for money for food, are able to raise $3,000 bucks for what sounds very much like a bribe for a policeman?
  2. Misu

    Misu Hey, I saw that.

    It's not a bribe, ethics - the man was suspended for an entire month, without pay, for standing up for the rights of a homeless person. This quote caught my eye in that article: <i>"I got arrested once for sitting on a park bench," she said. "I did not want to go to a shelter. Shelters are dangerous."</i>

    Have you gone to a homeless shelter, ethics? I don't mean on Thanksgiving or Christmas eve, to help pass out food. I mean, on a normal, typical day. She's right - homeless shelters are EXTREMELY dangerous.

    The cop was suspended for not forcing someone to go to a shelter. Shelters are not mandatory, they're by choice. Why is the sergeant forcing homeless people go to shelters? If he wasn't breaking any laws (which I don't know if he was, I don't know if sleeping on a park bench is illegal?), why arrest him? And if he was to be arrested, why not jail? Why a homeless shelter?

    The problem society has with the homeless is that we see them as throwaways, people that should be avoided at all costs except on holidays and whenever we need to make a tax-deductible donation. I don't think that the homeless group who gave the cop's family 3 grand as a thankyou for standing up for a person's rights is a bribe - the man is getting NO PAY for 30 days, and he's got a large family to care for. The homeless group is just showing their support.
  3. cdw

    cdw Ahhhh...the good life.

    He was suspended for a month for NOT arresting the guy. He had told his superiors when he was assigned to the unit that he would not participate in arresting vagrants that had no where else to go.
    The fund was set up by two advocate groups, with most of the money coming from them, and some much smaller donations coming from street people themselves.
  4. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Re: Re: Homeless Donate $3,000

    1. The man is a police officer who's primary function is to enforce the law. If people have a problem with the law lobby the lawmakers, do campaigns, but bribing a police officer--albeit with a kickback-- is a crime.

    2. If I were to say no to my primary job duty, I'd be on my ass without any soft suspensions.

    3. The Homeless coalition is wasting its money where it could be using that money to lobby for a law change and/or feed more homeless.
  5. cdw

    cdw Ahhhh...the good life.

    He was suspended and transfered.
    I would assume this is a stain on his record.
    I don't see it as a bribe though. I really don't think it's that big of a deal but, I guess they are going to make it into one.
  6. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    In NYC it would be, trust me. Liberals here, with their sympathy for homeless and at the same time yelling "NOT IN MY BACKYARD" when it comes to building shelters, always, and I mean always, take the poor homeless side.

    Honestly? I've worked in the psyche ER for a few months as a volunteer. Most of these people need to be medicated and removed from the street.

    Where, or how, I have no idea, but they are danger to others as well as themselves.
  7. cdw

    cdw Ahhhh...the good life.

    I agree that many of those wandering the streets are people that need to be medicated and removed. I also agree that there appears to be no concrete answer as to where are how. That, I agree is a big deal.
    The big deal I referred to was that of $3k being "donated" to the family of the cop.... I don't see it as a bribe or in the spirit of a bribe, but that of a reward by some of those that feel people of the street have been wronged. Right or wrong, it was done and that, I don't think is a big deal.
  8. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Well, I am not going to argue whether it was a big deal or not. I feel it's enough of a deal that I find it kinda sloppy for the way they did this whole thing.

    But heck, we can agree to disagree on the matter. :)
  9. Misu

    Misu Hey, I saw that.

    Ethics, you raised a very interesting point - the cop was suspended for not enforcing the law.

    I was not aware that it was LAW to force a homeless person into a shelter. If that is the case, and that is the law, then the cop knew what he was getting himself into. However, if it's not a law that police officers must arrest and take any homeless persons they find to a homeless shelter, then the cop was wrongfully suspended.
  10. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    I am not sure which mayor signed it up as the law, probably Rudy, but it was because too many froze to death in the streets and of course, the quality of life for the rest of us. There was certainly duplicity in the intent but it was a law for many years now.

    If it was not a law, it probably would never be a story, since most people--myself included--would be on the homeless folk side.
  11. Misu

    Misu Hey, I saw that.

    Well, if it is or isn't law, it's not really the point that you were trying to make - we're talking about the money donated to the cop's family here.

    You see it as a bribe - why? To me, a bribe is money paid BEFORE a certain action takes place, to ensure that it does. What this cop's family received was really just a portion of the cop's salary, to help them get by until the suspension is over and he can start getting paid again. If you want to think of it as 'homelessness prevention', that'll work, as it really is just that - 1 month without pay for most people is enough to put them on the streets, since many people live paycheck to paycheck (and I'm assuming this guy, with 5 kids, was living paycheck to paycheck).

    Yes the coalition could have put that money to work for the homeless people they take care of, but they decided to give it to this officer to support his 5 kids until he got a steady paycheck again. I think that's really generous of them.
  12. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Yes, I've ammended that in one of the posts calling it more of a kickback than a bribe. But I'd also like to say that this becomes a bribe (anything given or serving to persuade or induce) to the rest of the Policefolks.

    And for the record, I respect your point of view, and Cyd's. There is SOME form of commendment but I just don't see it in a harsh world we have. Once you throw out an enforcement of the law, things could go from bad to worse in no time and I do not just mean this instance or even the issue of the homeless.
  13. Sierra Mike

    Sierra Mike The Dude Abides Staff Member

    I think it was Dinkins who did the homeless shelter law, but only during the winter months.

  14. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Ah ok, thank you.
  15. Copzilla

    Copzilla dangerous animal Staff Member

    In enforcing laws, police generally have a wide latitude in some cases, no latitude in others. Mostly it depends on the severity of the offense.

    In this case, arresting someone for vagrancy would be the least severe offense, in my state, a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine only. This offense is typically enforced at the discretion of the officer.

    A police officer would not have any latitude in the event of a felony offense. Pretty much, you must enforce it.

    Now I've arrested someone on a more severe offense and then recommended no charges to the D.A.. Example - I arrested a young lady who had been released from the hospital following outpatient surgery. She was driving, and very much under the influence of her surgical drugs. She even wrecked her car. I had to arrest her - I could not release her on her own recognizance; it simply wasn't safe. The D.A. declined charges on my recommendation, but it wasn't my call, since she had wrecked into someone else, I passed the buck onto the higher authority.

    In a case like this one, vagrancy, the officer is almost always given the power of discretion. In this case, he refused a sergeant's order. This sergeant's order is really over the top. Witness the <A HREF="http://abclocal.go.com/ktrk/news/82002_local_kmartfallout.html">orders of the Houston captain and sergeants in the K-Mart parking lot</A> a few months back. I'm sure everyone remembers that case, since it made national news. People were calling for all officers involved to be fired.

    Now at what point is it the sergeant's call and at what point is it the officer's call? Is an officer supposed to blindly follow a sergeant's order? The officer may well believe that the person had not actually been doing anything wrong in refusing to go to a shelter.

    In my opinion, having served as a sergeant in my previous department and knowing how to handle cops - and their egos - a sergeant has no business ORDERING an officer to make an arrest like this one. A sergeant also has no business ordering officers to NOT enforce a particular law, so long as it meets the legal criteria. A police sergeant should be a guide and mentor, talk to officers, show them how they might benefit the public more in one fashion or another. I'm willing to bet that this sergeant was over the top on more than one occasion, and this veteran officer had seen enough and called him on it. I've done the same thing before.

    When you have a man that you train to the nth and entrust to protect society, and maybe die in that endeavor, you had best not punk that man down and treat him like a child. He's not going to appreciate it or respond to it very well. And the argument "Well, it's his JOB, he should do his DUTY." No... No... It's not his duty to get sued by blindly following orders.
  16. jamming

    jamming Banned

    German Soldiers did their Duty too, and that was an unacceptable excuse then as it was now.
  17. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Arresting one in order to remove them from danger from freezing and placing them in shelter is a huge step from arresting someone and delibirately killing them, many times through cold BASED on religion, nationality, or ideology.
  18. jamming

    jamming Banned

    They were not arresting them for that purpose, they were arresting people who were not seeking shelter in the approved way. They wanted to sleep in the warm places they had found like steam vents and were arrested for that, at least in the articles I read.
  19. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Steam vents are by private property of businesses that cater to passerbys. At least here in Manhattan.

    I hate to sounds crass and insensitive but if they do not remove these heavily odorized folks, the business owners will be joining the ranks. Steam vents are not there for people to live on, and trust me, I've seen where they set up tents over these.
  20. Copzilla

    Copzilla dangerous animal Staff Member

    Then arrest them for that. Make it a criminal offense to set up tents on steam vents.

    But you cannot arrest someone for not going to a place you want them to go to. What stops a cop from making ANYONE go to a shelter? What is it, the way they dress? Smell offensive? Those aren't crimes.

    "Maam, your dress has huge yellow flowers and is offensive. Furthermore, your perfume is really thick. You're going to have to go to a homeless shelter tonight."

    It's a BS law. There are others, laws that cops do not enforce because the cops know they're constitutional violations. For instance - in Texas it's a crime to have anal intercourse. That law is a constitutional violation, on several fronts... But nobody challenges it because it has never ever been enforced, and nobody cares.

    Just because a law is on the books doesn't mean a cop must enforce it.

    Make it a crime to solicit funds without a permit, and don't give out permits to individuals. Make it a crime to set up tents on steam vents. Make it a crime to specific things, but don't make it a crime to refuse to go somewhere that a cop wants you to go.

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