Sit/Lie Citations Begin in San Francisco

April 1, 2011

This article focuses attention on sit/lie citations in the upper Haight and explains how cops are “bundling together” disorderly conduct, public nuisance, open container laws, and others to insure criminal court and jail time. The article cites an alleged act of roguish arrogance (the “scruffy” male defiantly mooning police) in a bid for public support, sketching a caricature of street life that masks the difficult lived reality when one doesn’t have a home–whether this is youth, elders, people from a span of genders, of color or white people, people with mental illnesses or experiences of violence or substance addictions, families or individuals. Berkeley Copwatch on the streets of San Francisco yesterday saw and heard something much different than the facile version of the privileged faux-runaway that is continously deployed in the media as the central target of these citations. We spoke with regular Street Sheet vendors on Van Ness, who have regular followings of folks who stop and talk and purchase the paper to learn the latest budget and other news,  and share stories about the weather. These older people–men and women–who come to work every morning to sell their papers and greet folks, often with small folding nylon camp chairs or pillows, are now forced to pace, or sit uncomfortably and warily on the cement, constantly looking over a shoulder to try to spot a cop car on the street so they can stand up quickly if necessary. People that we spoke with have already been issued warnings, and have received $50 tickets which of course they have no means to pay. The sit/lie citations are not limited to the upper Haight.

 

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