Mayor Alan Autry believes it is OK to steal and destroy private property -- if it belongs to homeless people. The city got away with its policy of theft until the firm of Heller Ehrman, with a team of lawyers led by Paul Alexander, stepped in and defended the property rights of the homeless in federal court (story Nov. 23).
At times the city's witnesses were unbelievable: A city police captain said he could not see if a police officer was holding onto private property. A photo (and a video) showed the officer in a tug-of-war with the person trying to keep the property.
Testimony from the victims was shocking: A woman who had written permission from her pastor to set up her tent watched helplessly as police entered church property to confiscate and destroy her property; a woman who was hospitalized with pneumonia after the police destroyed her tent and blankets; a wheelchair, family photos, IDs, medical records destroyed.
The mayor said that he wants to appeal the "cavalier ruling" to the Ninth Circuit. The mayor cannot win on a level playing field. His carte blanche to bully the poor is over.
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