Homeless Man Sues L.A. Over Facebook Pages Used by Police, Alleging Harassment

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Rex Schellenberg, a homeless man who is suing the city of Los Angeles, is seen at a site where he was living on Topanga Canyon Boulevard in Woodland Hills in 2018. (Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Rex Schellenberg, a homeless man who is suing the city of Los Angeles, is seen at a site where he was living on Topanga Canyon Boulevard in Woodland Hills in 2018. (Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Rex Schellenberg said he was appalled when he found out that a police officer had been sharing information about him and other homeless people on Facebook.

“Telling them who we were and what we were doing. Our personal problems,” said Schellenberg, 81, who has lived on the streets of the San Fernando Valley for years. “It’s like putting a target on our back.”

Now Schellenberg and his attorney Carol Sobel are taking the city to court over a phenomenon that has divided Angelenos: Facebook pages where Valley residents have complained about encampments and other issues and shared their concerns with police, sometimes including photos of people on the street.

In the lawsuit, they accuse the city of allowing a police officer to target and harass Schellenberg with the help of those Facebook groups, sharing sensitive and sometimes erroneous information about him and his physical and mental state. The lawsuit asserts that online posts led to Schellenberg being harassed by police and that his van was illegally towed.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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