The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

In Pontiac Michigan, authorities get their jollies by attacking the most vulnerable

Feb 5, 2001

Authorities in Pontiac Michigan apparently have nothing better to do than harass people down on their luck. On January 23, Pontiac police broke into the Grace Centers of Hope, which offers a residence to the homeless, including a number of battered women with nowhere else to go, and a drug rehabilitation program.

The cops went storming in, in the middle of the night, rousting residents from their beds, serving 30 of what they called "outstanding warrants."

In fact, only one of these warrants was for a felony, and the Center has always co-operated before with police serving warrants. Only three of the warrants were for items which would have even required a court appearance. Many, in fact, were non-existent. The others which were real were for tickets.

One was served on a man who had caught and kept a 12-inch fish, when state law sets a 15-inch limit. This man was driven to Ann Arbor, where the ticket had originally been served. Ann Arbor didn't want to prosecute him, but he was given no way back to Pontiac.

Many others were for traffic or even parking violations in Detroit. More than a dozen of people who had those tickets were taken and dumped in the streets of downtown Detroit in the middle of the night.

None of the other jurisdictions which had issued the tickets had called on Pontiac to pick up the people.

One week later city officials sent in both building inspectors and fire inspectors looking for code violations they could use to shut down the center.

This was plain and simple harassment. Some businesses in the area had been protesting the existence of the shelter, particularly after the shelter filed plans for extending its facilities.

Not content with handing over the keys to the city treasury to big business, Pontiac city officials even stoop so low as to attack those people in the most desperate of situations. They show their true colors and allegiance.