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Man Released from Jail: Everyday Occurance; Sheriff Takes Man Across Downtown: Times Runs Story

By Eric Richardson
Published: Friday, September 23, 2005, at 11:19AM

Not at all to say that this isn't a real problem, but didn't today's LA Times story on Sheriff's deputies dropping a man off on Skid Row pick a poor way to illustate the point?

For decades, it's been an enduring urban tale about downtown Los Angeles, often talked about but never proved: Police departments wanting to get rid of society's lost and neglected -- the homeless, mentally ill and criminals -- simply drove through downtown and dumped them in skid row.

The story goes on to tell how LAPD Capt. Smith observed two Sheriff's deputies unloading a man from their car and leaving him at 7th & Sal Julian in Central City East. There's some community reaction in the piece, and Brady responded on his blog. Estella Lopez has one of the quotes in the article:

"How dare they," said Lopez, of the Central City East Assn. "How dare they take someone with a criminal record of the magnitude this person has, and put him on the streets? ... My organization is spending $1 million a year on safety. What disrespect."

The responses make sense in relation to the broader issue, but they seem to ignore the fact that in this case and likely many others the guy had already been released from Central Jail. He was already Downtown. Google maps tells me it's 2.2 miles from Central Jail to 7th & San Julian.

So yes, there's an issue; and yes, it's good to see it getting ink. But the larger point gets ignored. The man had already been released into Downtown without any sort of a plan for where he had been arrested or where he was to go. That's the issue, not that the Sheriff gave him a two mile ride.

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