Police seek dismissal of ticket to homeless vet

Police seek dismissal of ticket to homeless vet

Michele Ellson

Alameda police are rescinding a ticket they gave a homeless veteran on a charge he was illegally living in his car.

On October 1, the department asked the Alameda County Superior Court to dismiss a ticket issued to Aaron Colyer after police found him sitting in a parking lot in his van. And Alameda’s top cop confirmed the city may revise the ordinance that Colyer, 34, was cited under.

“I'm happy that the City of Alameda has agreed to stop violating the constitutional rights of homeless persons and hope that all homeless people will now come park in Alameda where they will be safe from harassment, threats and intimidation for existing,” Colyer said.

Alameda Police Chief Paul Rolleri said he’s directed officers not to enforce the section of the Alameda Municipal Code used to cite Colyer while the city attorney’s office reviews it and considers revisions.

“We never considered it a section that was only to be enforced on homeless persons,” said Rolleri, who added that the department writes few citations based on it.

In late July, Colyer posted a video showing Alameda officers citing him on a charge of living in his vehicle and telling him he needed to move on from the spot where it was parked, in a lot near the Main Street ferry terminal. Colyer said he had been sleeping in his van in Alameda for 30 days while he struggled to find housing, because he didn’t feel safe in Oakland.

At the time, Rolleri said he didn’t have an issue with police ticketing Colyer but that they should have offered him information on available social services, and he said the department would train officers to consistently offer that information to people who need it.

Passed in 1973, the city rules that led to Colyer’s ticket make it illegal “to use or occupy, or to permit the use or occupancy of, any house car, camper, trailer coach, camp car or mobile home for human habitation or as a dwelling place, including but not limited to sleeping, eating, or resting uses as occupancies, singly or in a group, on any street, park, beach, parking lot, square, alley, public way or other public place within the city between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.”


Submitted by Jeff 4 Justice (not verified) on Wed, Oct 8, 2014

Criminalizing the homeless is inhumane. How would he pay the ticket? Welfare money? Every city should have a safe parking program for the mobile homeless. If you don't know what that is, online search "Safe parkng santa barbara." They're doing it right.

Submitted by Tom (not verified) on Thu, Oct 9, 2014

Interesting to see the simple Alameda Police and police Captains handwritten request/signatures to withdraw the citation.

Also interesting reason " in the interest of justice"??

Police have a though job but this citation was squelched by using all the new technology of instant videos. It's use by everyone police and citizen will make it harder for police and citizen to overstep their given positions of power and proper behavior. . No video and no audio and this poor fellow would have a warrant out for arrest and then become more of a burden to society.

Privacy for all in this tech society is nonexistent!,,, Police and citizen must heel to this new reality.

Welcome to the new open society. Everyone can know almost everything about anything in our life.
Just hope we can control government intrusion into what used to be private.