A Los Angeles City Council committee on Wednesday addressed an incident earlier this year where a homeless man was dropped off on a San Pedro street by Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies and was later arrested.
Councilman Joe Buscaino called a Public Safety Committee hearing to address the issue and to better understand how local law enforcement deal with members of the homeless community who have mental health or addiction issues.
The incident, which was caught on camera, occurred on Jan. 30. The man eventually required assistance from the Los Angeles Fire Department and was arrested by the Los Angeles Police Department for an outstanding warrant, officials said.
During the hearing, Buscaino asked a Sheriff’s Department captain if his agency is pressured by contract cities to remove homeless people from certain areas and “shuttle them” elsewhere.
Capt. Dan Beringer responded, “Not at all.”
“It’s a complex issue for everybody. Everyone has concerns about homelessness, but it’s a region-wide problem.”
After the hearing, Buscaino, who was a member of the LAPD, said Beringer’s testimony did not change his mind about “what went wrong there in the video.”
He said the man clearly could not take care of himself and needed additional help.
Buscaino said that putting mental health holds on individuals or jailing vulnerable members of the community creates a “revolving door” that puts people right back on the streets.
“We need longer term care for the homeless individuals who are suffering from a mental illness,” the councilman said.
He has called for further investigation of the incident.