Skip to Content

The Homeless Can Now Hold Onto More Property on the Streets of Skid Row

8:14 AM PDT on June 3, 2019

Los Angeles, CA – Feb. 14: Tony Shaw of Koreatown emerges from his tent to sort his belongings and prevent sanitation workers from taking his property on February 14, 2019. (Brian Feinzimer)

[dropcap size=big]L[/dropcap]os Angeles police officers and city workers will now have strict limits on their ability to seize unhoused people’s property in downtown L.A., according to a legal settlement previously approved by the City Council recently filled in federal court. The decision was a defeat for downtown business groups, who wanted stricter rules on bulky property on the streets of Skid Row, home to the largest semi-permanent homeless encampment in the United States.

The agreement filed last Wednesday in court settles a 2016 lawsuit by activists who said the LAPD officers violated their 4th, 5th, and 14th Amendment rights by confiscating and destroying their property. According to records obtained by Curbed Los Angeles, the new settlement limits for three years the seizure of any item that is not “abandoned, presents an immediate threat to public health/safety, is evidence of a crime, or is contraband.”

Meanwhile, more reports have emerged of city workers getting rare infections linked to rat-infested blocks in downtown’s Skid Row. Two LAPD employees working in downtown have been infected by a strain of bacteria that causes typhoid fever, amid growing unsanitary conditions in the heart of the city.

A rat infestation, linked to a particularly filthy and neglected stretch of Ceres Avenue last fall, caused a typhus outbreak that eventually spread to City Hall in February and has now hit the LAPD’s Central Division station, which serves most of downtown and the surrounding areas. The initial typhus outbreak led to a series of sidewalk property seizures in the area that underscored a years-old battle between homeless rights activists and the city over the issue.

According to a report by the L.A. Times, unsanitary conditions and a rat infestation was discovered last November at Central Division Station. The California Department of Industrial Relations cited the LAPD six times and fined $5,425 the department on May 14.

On May 29, it was revealed that one employee working at LAPD's Central Division has been diagnosed with typhoid fever and the other with “salmonella typhi-like symptoms.” Officials did not link the exact cause of the rare infections nor did they say if the employees were police officers. But the report indicates that the conditions “have become a source of growing anger inside the station, with some officers threatening to seek transfers and city leaders scrambling to address the problems.”

“The mayor is working with the department to get to the bottom of this situation — and will take every possible step to protect the health and safety of all our employees,” Alex Comisar, a spokesman for Mayor Eric Garcetti, told the Times.

RELATED: 'End Food Supply and End Encampment on Our Street? Just a Thought'~ Hollywood Emails Chart Coordination Against Homeless

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from L.A. TACO

Help Us Fill Our Editorial Trompo! Become a Member of L.A. TACO Now!

Memberships start at $5.95 and help us stay alive in this wild journalism landscape. For the price of a few tacos a month, you can help keep L.A.'s only taco, news, and culture site stay spinning and churning out features about the real Los Angeles. We are 40% to our goal!

February 28, 2024

Burglar Steals Safe From East Hollywood Mexican Restaurant, Runs Up $80,000 In Damages and Stolen Gear

The burglar was wearing a white hoodie and spray-painted the lens of the security cameras. Insurance will only cover $20,000. The owner of El Zarape Melrose says he doesn’t know if this was personal or just a delinquent act by a stranger: “I’m sad, I don’t know how I’m going to do it.”

February 27, 2024

Baldwin Park Rapper Lefty Gunplay is Playin’ for Keeps

With witty lyrics, Holladay experiments with storytelling of his times in prison and on the gritty streets of the San Gabriel Valley. He is one of the biggest names in the new L.A. rap scene and the conversation about being one of this generation's biggest Latino rappers. 

February 27, 2024

Pioneering Ethical Meat Butcher Jered Standing Dies at 44

On February 22, Standing, the 44-year-old owner of one L.A.’s most popular butcher shops, Standing’s Butchery, died, according to the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner.

February 26, 2024

Marky Ramone’s Blitzkrieg Blasted Through 38 Songs In One Hour In Echo Park

Marky Ramone’s Blitzkrieg started their hour-long set with “Do You Wanna Dance” and ebbed and flowed through classics from the early-to-middle Ramones era, including their later hits, such as “R.A.M.O.N.E.S.” and even an extremely heartfelt rendition of Joey Ramone’s masterpiece, “What a Wonderful World.”

February 23, 2024
See all posts