WEST HILLS (CNS) – A cleanup of a homeless encampment in West Hills planned for Thursday was postponed resulting from an email from a Los Angeles Police Department senior lead officer the department called “highly inappropriate.”
The statement from LAPD released Wednesday is in response to an email sent by Senior Lead Officer Brittney Gutierrez on June 14 regarding Thursday’s scheduled cleanup and sanitation, and being shared by Film The Police LA website on social media. The email states, “Everyone will be arrested and their belongings will be taken away by sanitation.”
The Film The Police LA website is run by Hollywood resident and LAPD critic William Gude. He told the Los Angeles Times that he was sent a screenshot of the email from Gutierrez from another Twitter user, @CaliCre8ive.
“If this email is legit, the LAPD is planning to arrest homeless on Thursday,” @CaliCre8ive tweeted with the screenshot, the Times is reporting.
The senior lead officer, who was not mentioned by name in the LAPD release, “will be provided extensive training by the department’s Homeless Coordinator’s Office,” police said.
The contents of the email related to the Care Plus cleanup set to be conducted by LA Sanitation & Environment do “not in any way represent the department’s values, policies or practices related to people experiencing homelessness,” police said.
In the email from Gutierrez, it states, “As always, do not approach these individuals experiencing homelessness. I want to make sure all are there at the encampment on the 29th so I can arrest them. This is a hush-hush task force.”
Gutierrez is assigned to the LAPD’s Topanga Division and was hired in 2015.
LAPD Capt. Francis Boateng will host a community meeting at Shadow Ranch Park on July 11 “to reiterate the department stance of outreach, collaboration, community safety and assistance when dealing with” people experiencing homelessness, police said.
City Councilman Bob Blumenfield, who represents District 3, posted on Twitter that the email by a West Hills SLO is “extremely disturbing.”
“I have spoken directly with the Captain of the @LAPDTopanga about it. I’m glad that command staff is taking this situation seriously by calling it out, taking remedial actions and setting up a community meeting.”
The homeless encampment cleanup was supposed to be in Shadow Ranch Park, which is not in Blumenfield’s district, but he tweeted, “arresting people anywhere simply for being homeless is never acceptable.”
He added in a post on Twitter that cleanups are supposed to be posted, noticed and preceded with, and accompanied by appropriate outreach.
City Councilwoman Eunisses Hernandez, who presents District 1, posted on Twitter this morning that “This dehumanizes & traumatizes our community members experiencing homelessness, & is completely unacceptable from all LA City depts involved.”
She noted that LAPD receives about a quarter of the city budget and the email “clearly lays out how they’re spending it.”
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