L.A. Officials Denounce ‘Criminalizing’ Homeless People, Yet Jail Thousands for Minor Offenses

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Los Angeles police found Reed Segovia slumped in a folding chair near the Venice boardwalk early one spring morning in 2016 and shook him awake.

Homeless artist Reed Segovia waits for customers at his stand along the Venice boardwalk in an undated photo. (Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Homeless artist Reed Segovia waits for customers at his stand along the Venice boardwalk in an undated photo. (Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

The officers handed the homeless street artist a ticket for sleeping on the sidewalk.

Three months later, LAPD officers were citing Segovia again when they discovered an unpaid ticket for sleeping on the beach. This time, they handcuffed him, loaded him into a squad car and took him to jail.

L.A. officials have denounced “criminalizing” homelessness. But as Los Angeles struggles with a growing homelessness crisis, arrests of homeless people have gone up significantly, a Times analysis of police data shows. And the most common offense — the one Segovia was arrested for — was failure to appear in court for an unpaid citation.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.