GJPD Exposed

Harrassed and Manhandled: GJPD and the Homeless

Posted in Criminalization of Houselessness, Exessive Force, GJPD, Grand Junction, police violence by GJPD Exposed on April 4, 2010

Saturday, April 3rd, 5pm. Whitman Park Grand Junction, Colorado

In an all to common of incident, three houseless people were contacted by the Grand Junction Police Department, for nothing more then being in a park frequented by houseless people.  Officer Winch approached Juile and Johnny A Martinez and engaged the two in small talk about an incident from the day before in the park. Officer Winch then asked to see a waterbottle that Juile had. She gave it to him. He smelled it and “got pissed saying ‘You lied to me.'” said Juile. Officer Winch then said that he wanted to see what was in Julie’s backpack, she refused, and according to Julie and Martinez Winch yanked the backpack from Juile and began searching. “That’s when he cuffed me,” Juile said. They had Juile in cuffs for over half an hour for a drinking in public ticket.

When Juile’s partner, Lumber Jack, came back to the park he headed to the public bathrooms where now two officers and a sergeant were talking to Juile and Martinez. “I told them I just needed to go to the bathroom,” he said. “Then I told them they have no right to search her backpack. That’s when they grabbed me and took me to the ground.” Lumber’s arm was turning more and more purple.

“He was so verbally aggressive,” said Juile. “I asked for a female officer to search me, but he searched me anyway,” she added.

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After a little over half-an-hour all three people were released all with blue tickets. Julie for drinking in the park, Lumber Jack for crossing a street while intoxicated, and Johnny Martinez for interfering with an officer for refusing to leave while his friends were being manhandled, cuffed, and ticketed.

“I told them I won’t show up to court anyway,” said Lumber.  Martinez described the pile of petty tickets he gets from the GJPD on almost daily, as “thick as an encyclopedia.”

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These petty tickets, which are common in the houseless community, result in either an arrest warrant being issued for failure to appear, or the person pleads guilty and is given a fine in the hundreds of dollars. The fine almost inevitably goes unpaid an goes to collections and an arrest warrant is issued. These tickets are often for things related to the basics of life, trespassing tickets for sleeping, indecent exposure for reliving themselves, drinking or smoking in the park because they have nowhere else to smoke and drink.  These tickets keep people houseless by ruining peoples credit and straddling them with huge debts, and cost the taxpayers millions in a busted criminal justice system.

Sergeant Kevin Imbriaco was on scene let him know that we harassing and manhandling the homeless is not cool (970) 683-3399.

Photos of Steven Lee “Lumber Jack” Ball’s bruises.

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One Response

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  1. Shred said, on May 17, 2010 at 11:49 pm

    Wow. Didn’t know about that.


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