Homelessness and Violence

homelessness, mental health, policing

This past Sunday (3/1/15), the fatal shooting of a unnamed and unarmed mentally ill man experiencing homelessness occurred on Skid Row in Los Angeles.  The video of the police confrontation went viral and as of today, Wednesday (3/4/15), over 6 million people have watched this horrific video.  If you missed it, click here for more information…  This tragic incident illustrates how vulnerable people experiencing homelessness are to violence.  People who are experiencing homelessness are much more susceptible to violence (physical and sexual) incurred by law enforcement, by other people who are experiencing homelessness, and by the public.  When living on the streets and in shelters with no security, homeless individuals are at greater risk of harm.  Sunday’s incident also reinforces the idea–propagated by proponents of police reform–that violence and death in police interactions with people of color, the mentally ill, the addicted, and the homeless represents an epidemic that must be stopped.  The Los Angeles Police Department has not released the name of the deceased yet, although community activists and news outlets continue to put pressure on the department for more information.  If you are following this story and looking for a reliable news source, then I recommend KPCC’s coverage of the event and subsequent fallout, found here: For updates, visit KPCC (public radio station of Southern California)