Police accused of harassing the poor with nuisance tickets


Downtown Eastside anti-poverty activists set up a garage sale outside the Vancouver Police Department headquarters Sunday to protest ticketing for illegal vending and jaywalking.

Downtown Eastside anti-poverty activists set up a garage sale outside the Vancouver Police Department headquarters Sunday to protest ticketing for illegal vending and jaywalking.

Photograph by: Ric Ernst, The Province

VANCOUVER — Downtown Eastside activists took their protests of police harassment to the steps of the Vancouver police station Sunday.

The activists, who want to know why public money is spent to lay nuisance charges such as jaywalking, set up a garage sale at the entry to the station at 312 Main St.

“At a time when there is so much concern in the region about gun violence, all these police resources are being used handing out tickets to people who will never be able to afford to pay them,” said Ann Livingston, executive director of the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users. “I find it unbelievable.

“It is further marginalizing people who are already struggling to survive.”

Under a portable tent structure, a group sold a variety of goods to protest tickets for unauthorized “vending.”

“The poverty in this area has been put on the police business plan as a crime issue,” said David Eby, executive director of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association. “People can’t afford these tickets — it’s $100, and that’s almost one-third of the $375 they have to live on each month.”

Priscilla Mays of the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre accused the police of trying to sweep the streets before the Olympics.

“It is not a coincidence that the increased ticketing is happening in the lead-up to the Olympic Games,” she said. “It is happening to ensure that residents live in a state of fear and intimidation so that the [Downtown Eastside] is cleansed of poor and homeless people in time for the tourists.”

City Coun. Kerry Jang said the ticketing is part of the Project Civil City campaign that’s a leftover from the previous city government.

“We are speaking with the police of a different approach,” said Jang. “Our solution is to create more housing.”



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Downtown Eastside anti-poverty activists set up a garage sale outside the Vancouver Police Department headquarters Sunday to protest ticketing for illegal vending and jaywalking.

Downtown Eastside anti-poverty activists set up a garage sale outside the Vancouver Police Department headquarters Sunday to protest ticketing for illegal vending and jaywalking.

Photograph by: Ric Ernst, The Province


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March 16, 2009 - 3:49 PM
 Hey Wade This is our city and this is the law. Love it or leave it Your Call !!!
March 16, 2009 - 3:43 PM
 Housing for mentally ill or permanently brain damaged persons works if you look at the way they do it in Raymond, Alberta. 5 or 6 people live in a house near the mental health centre. They have their own room, take turns cooking, cleaning, etc.. A van takes them grocery shopping and a health worker is near by to sort out problems. If they lack social skills they go to classes which teach them life skills. They have outings and are part of the small community. The rent is paid with either the welfare check or pension and enough is left over for some personal necessities. They take pride in themselves and live without fear. Lets separate these people from the substance and alcohol abusers first and get them set up away from East side........then really kick ass with the rest. We have "World Vision" lets have "Vancouver Vision" Interested parties could sponsor a DTES person and get them on track with financial and moral support to help them get off the street.
March 16, 2009 - 2:48 PM
 Hey CHOPPER,GET YOUR HEAD OUT OF THE SAND. I DID NOT MAKE THEM DRUG ADDICTED. THEY DON'T WORK BECAUSE MOST OF THEM DON'T WANT TO WORK. It is all the bleeding hearts......these people are products of this society. Where I came from - "you don't work - you don't eat" and it works. Short time help is OK, but keeping them on welfare and supplying them with drugs is just wrong. Not going to make them better or make them want to work
March 16, 2009 - 1:37 PM

Welfare... Well fair. .Whatever. I am not on it and therefore made a quick spelling mistake. My point, on the other hand, is still correct. Those who are out protesting are most likely not working either and receive some form of social assistance only to complain about why they can't have a Starbucks coffee or an apartment in Coal Harbor like "everyone else".

The police need to target the downtown east side because heaven knows, they do ticket in and around every other part of Vancouver. They are now focusing on the DTES and thank God. It's obvious the place lacks law and order.

March 16, 2009 - 1:13 PM
 This topic, Poor & Homeless will always have 2 sides & for the most part, each will never give way to the other. It will always make for good press 'cuase we all have an opinion. We are still left with questions at the end tho'. The most pressing will be, "What can be done?" I subscribe to the phylosophy of education. When you give a man a fish you feed him once. Teach him to fish & you can feed him for life. For the most part people are on the streets because they choose not to fish. Can we teach them by just giving them money? NO! You are where you are because of choices. Your nice home, you chose to buy it. That nice car, you chose it. That cardboard box, you chose it. If you want to be rid of it, choose to. Then, put action to that choice. Don't accept mediocrity. Aim for the moon & you might just land on a star.
March 16, 2009 - 1:11 PM
 these people on the DTES do get welfare, i would like to know what they do with this money, buy more drugs i suppose. the government does send money to other countries for the helpless, the only difference is here they get paid to buy drugs and whatever. in those poor countries, yes aid is given so the people don't have to scrumage through the garbage to get their daily meal. they do not have a welfare system where money is given freely. the city should give these homeless, druggies a job cleaning up the mess they created, and pay them what they deserve, on conditions that they sign a legal document stating that they stay off drugs or they will not be paid a monthly stipend. if they break the law, then do what you have to do to them.
March 16, 2009 - 1:10 PM
 As a thought, they could, I suppose, not break the law. If they know they will get a ticket for jaywalking, don't do it and they won't have to pay.
March 16, 2009 - 1:00 PM

Come on what a waste of time and resourses.Don't the VPD have bigger problems on their hands than this.Maybe they should be handing out parking tickets to people sleeping in lanes while they are at it.

March 16, 2009 - 12:59 PM
 I thing it's bloody ridiculous!! They should utilize these officers to help fight crime rather than trying to clean up the "poor" in time for the Olympics! What a waste of police time and tax payers money Gordo & puppets (ie: newest mayoral puppet)...time to do something positive to help the poor instead of holding them further down!!
March 16, 2009 - 12:57 PM
 The police DON'T WANT these homeless people to pay the tickets. - They want to round up these people 48 hours before the Olympigs arrive in town and put them in holding tanks for a couple of weeks until the circus is over. - It's as simple, as obvious, and as disgusting as that. - The Vancouver police's worst nightmare is that these tickets will actually be paid by someone in advance of the Olympics. - The police are UNDER ORDERS to conduct a minimum of four street checks per police officer per block on the Downtown Eastside right now. - More than one poster has already noted the obvious fact that people jaywalk all the time in most of the downtown core and in the West End with impunity. - And people living in Kits or Point Grey (or on Robson Street) can jaywalk back and forth all day long without fear of getting a ticket so lets get over this "If you don't want a ticket, don't jaywalk nonsense. - It offends common sense. - It's really simple. - There are now two different laws in the city. - One for the rich, and one for the poor. - Five minutes after the Olympics are over and the Olympigs have left town, everything will return to the way it has been for decades now.
March 16, 2009 - 12:49 PM
 Bunch of overweight cops i see at timmys all the time, no wonder they can only give tickets to homeless people because they cant get off their lazy ass to bust the gangs and shootings. Vancouver is like another corrupt gotham city. There is anarcy and fear being spread amongst the homeless and poor and the funny thing is the cops have no one to blame but themselves!
March 16, 2009 - 12:38 PM
 What a bunch of hypocrites...let's make our city nice and pretty so the entire world will want to move here - especially the criminals! I cross the street wherever there's space (run, actually). If you guys think you're safe, just because you have the walk signal - you'd better give your head a shake and start being a LOT more aware. Over 30 murders already in Vancouver this year. Boy, we're just moving right along aren't we. BTW: animals can urinate wherevever and whenever they feel like it. Shouldn't they be arrested? I'm sure that's at least as bad a crime as murder. So what's next? Hell's angels in Parliament?
Jay Walker
March 16, 2009 - 12:30 PM
 Ticket as many homeless as possible. These lazy welfare people need to get jobs instead of pretending to be disabled. They should be taken to a farm and make them work 20 hours a day without pay so that they learn what it's like to work. That would be a nice way of repaying society for all the welfare money they have collected since they turned 19.
March 16, 2009 - 12:18 PM

FROM GET YOUR NOSES OUT... You and others seem to be hung up on this so called million dollars a day you say is wasted on the DTES.Tell me how much money is spent a day providing people like you roads to drive on,transit systems to use,parks,schools for your kids etc. etc.The DTES is a small fraction of socuiety and a million dollars a day is a small fraction of the taxes collecte deach year by the government.Why would you want to compare conditions in Canada to Cambodia?We live in one of the riches countries in the world not some third world slime pot.The way we ignore the situation on the DTES like it will just go away is shameful in a country like this.Tell me one goos thing that will come from ticketing a poor person for jaywalking or riding a bike without a helmet??What kind of jobs do you think ANY of these people could qualify for?Lower your nose before it hits the ceiling fan!!

March 16, 2009 - 12:17 PM
 They should crack down on the homeless selling our goods that they have stolen on the street. It really bothers me that my hard earned tax money gets spent on the homeless to preserve and extend their useless, pesky lives so that they can repeatedly steal from us hardworking tax payers.
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