On the night of October 9th, 2008, several homeless men including myself witnessed police brutality at the 801 East (MLK, Jr.) Homeless Shelter. It is quite possible that the staff and/or security exhibited gross negligence and dereliction of duties. I was able to gather information after everything was over that indicated that the incident could've been avoided.

There had been an altercation between 2 residents at the shelter around 10 PM. One resident hit another. Having been alerted by the loud arguing, Hawk One Security arrived on the scene and was able to pull the men apart before a return blow could be thrown. They eventually had the victim who'd been attacked by the other resident to go to bed. He slept in my dorm. I couldn't see what became of his attacker. He slept in another dorm. I assume that he was allowed to return to his bed as well. I was told that the victim's name was Michael Williams and his attacker was named Rob.

In accordance with protocol, Protective Services was called. When they arrived, an officer went to the victim to get him out of bed. They walked into the hall to speak. At one point, the PSD officer began to ask the victim for ID. The victim refused to produce ID; because, he knew and was asserting his rights. 801 East is a low-barrier shelter. A person doesn't need to show ID in order to gain access to a low barrier shelter. They don't even need to give their real name. (According to Dallas Williams, the director of the Office of Shelter Monitoring, that right to refuse to show ID extends only as far as gaining access to a low-barrier shelter; and, a person still has to show ID to an officer of the flaw.)

From my bunk, I could hear the officer repeatedly asking for the man's ID. I couldn't hear the victim's response with him having the softer voice. The officer's repeated requests were evidence of the victim's refusal. Eventually, the officer snatched the victim's bag from him and ordered him to put his hands behind his back. The victim refused, presumably due to the factthat he felt that his rights were being violated.

Five officers proceeded to jump on him, stepping on his face and neck, kneeing him in the side and back, twisting his arms and altogether abusing him. Several residents including myself jumped out of bed to witness the incident. we and the victim slept in F Dorm. Men from D and E Dorms also came out to witness the incident. The officers told us to clear the hall. we didn't. we wanted to serve as witnesses to the police brutality. Several of us have filled out grievances and handed them in to Catholic Charities.

The incident took place in the hall between F Dorm and the cafeteria. From the entrance to F Dorm to the end of the hall going toward the cafeteria is about 40 feet. As one gets to that end of the hall, they must then make a left turn into a smaller hall before entering the cafeteria. The police were abusing the man about 20 feet from us. There is a security camera at the end of the hall where one would turn to go into the cafeteria. Can somebody acquire that tape, please?

It is my understanding that the attacker was in the program on the 2nd floor. He supposedly was caught drunk and was made to go downstairs for a night as punishment. Furthermore, the attacker had a run-in with Hawk One Security before any of the afforementioned trouble arose. Hawk One failed to sufficiently deal with the drunk man and that man eventually became the attacker in the altercation that I described above. The man who was eventually beaten up by Protective Services had been the victim in the altercation and was further victimized by Protective Services.

The names of the officers involved are as follows:

R. Moultrie -- Badge # 202 (female)
L. Williams -- Badge # 409
J. Barbuia -- Badge # 163
Strickland -- Badge # 100
Bailey -- Badge # 122

At least one of them (Strickland) might actually work for MPD.

I hope that a full-blown investigation is launched so as to completely and comprehensively deal with the matter of police brutality at the shelters. This matter was brought up at the June 12th ICH meeting. According to Dallas Williams, those accusations were against Hawk One Security and have since been addressed. This latest incident is a clear indication of the fact that we still have much work to do.


Anonymous said…
did anyone do anything??

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