Mimesis Law
22 February 2017

Blanket Swiping Denver Cops Ordered To Lay-Off: It’s Not Camping, Morons

December 12, 2016 (Fault Lines) — In Denver cops came up with a novel method for ridding the streets of homeless people: Stealing their blankets.

Under fire, but pretending to act out of compassion, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock stated:

As a city, we have a responsibility and moral obligation to protect the lives of our residents. Urban camping– especially during cold, wet weather — is dangerous and we don’t want to see any lives lost on the streets when there are safe, warm places available for people to sleep at night. Every night, we have beds open for people to sleep and every day we have safe places and resources to help people experiencing homelessness,

Every step we take is intended to connect people with safe and warm places and critical supportive services. We never intended to take the belongings that people need to keep warm. Therefore, I have directed Denver police to cease taking camping equipment, like tents and blankets, when enforcing the unauthorized camping ordinance through the end of April,” he added.

Those words ring hollow since Hancock signed the “Camping Ban” into Law back in 2012. At that time Police Chief Robert White said he expected police to have a “light touch” when it came to enforcement.

Stealing someone’s blanket when they are facing 20 degree temperatures is just plain mean. This is a cop shop whose members like to get up early to beat the crowds, so it’s not especially surprising, but the cops are just part of the problem.

It seems Denver officials are unclear on the definition of camping. Hancock describes it almost as if it were an activity like bungee jumping. “Urban Camping.” What is that supposed to mean anyways?

The Oxford English dictionary describes camping as “Spending a holiday living in a tent.” Many homeless people live outdoors while holidays come and go, but the average person knows this is not camping. Even people who reside in a tent of their own free will at the base of Mount Everest prior to making the climb do not refer to that as camping.

Owning a tent and some blankets does not make you a “camper.” Temperatures lower than 20 degrees have a debilitating effect on your fingers, making it difficult to accomplish the complex task of building and properly melting the camping staple known as “S’mores.” If there are shelters available during extreme cold weather people will try to get into them even if they have oppressive rules and a curfew. But most of these shelters limit you to less than you could bring on an airplane, so the “camper” is left with the “choice” to give-up their meager possessions or stay outside.

Back in 2013, when the camping ban was approved by the city council, sponsor Albus Brooks stated:

Tonight was not about winners or losers; it was about beginning a long process of providing smart services to individuals that need it the most. Time and patient application, not rhetoric, will reveal the true nature of this ordinance.

He was right. The true Nature of the ordinance has been revealed: It is a means to attack and discriminate against Denver’s most vulnerable population by reclassifying them as people attempting to camp instead of people attempting to survive, and turning a blind eye to the “light touch” of a police department that takes pride in brutalizing people.

Like San Francisco, Denver will learn that ticketing and jailing people for the non-crime of being poor and homeless is a means to clog your courts and jails; nothing more. Mayor Hancock didn’t speak-up until the outrage threw heat his way and that speaks volumes about what residents of Denver need to do come next election day.

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  • Dwight Mann f/k/a “dm”
    12 December 2016 at 11:33 am - Reply

    As a Denver resident I would urge readers not to hold their breath waiting for the mayor to be voted out. He’s generally viewed as a decent mayor and he brought in a reform oriented Chief of Police for a department with a long history of abusing citizens. It was mostly excellent changes that were implemented with a pretty low tolerance for officer misconduct becoming the norm. Unfortunately, the city council and mayor seem to have gone full moron with this ordinance. While the city has invested in attempting to actually have a bed available for all homeless people, anybody with an understanding of the issue knew in advance that it would never quite work out as intended. Making it worse is that some officers are simpletons who only care abut “hammering the nails” (e.g. see Matt Brown’s interesting article regarding another Denver PD genius: http://mimesislaw.com/fault-lines/tyrone-henry-officer-jarrod-foust-the-real-root-of-revolving-door-justice/14447). This issue has gotten a ton of local (and now national) press and hopefully better considered solutions will prevail in the long term.

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