Between March 12—when Miami-Dade County instituted a local state of emergency to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus—and April 30, police departments within Miami-Dade County arrested homeless people at least 313 times. Among the arrestees were at least 41 people charged with petit theft or attempted petit theft; 13 for simple battery; 26 for misdemeanor trespassing; 12 for misdemeanor criminal mischief; seven for drinking in public, and two for possessing or selling marijuana. Police also held at least 62 homeless people for outstanding warrants. On March 27, Miami area officers arrested two homeless men for unlawfully using a dairy crate—a Florida law that effectively allows police to arrest homeless people for sitting.
According to jail-booking records reviewed by The Appeal, Miami area officers also arrested at least three people listed as “homeless” for violating the city’s nighttime curfew that went into effect on March 27. Advocates for the city’s homeless say that it’s both counterproductive and absurd for law enforcement to arrest houseless people for not sheltering in place.
Read more here.