Los Angeles, CA -- Los Angeles sheriff's deputies were caught on video "dumping" a mentally ill homeless man, who was in the midst of a crisis, on the side of the road. After being called out by local lawmakers, the sheriff's department is now claiming that this move was done out of "compassion" for the man -- seriously.
Both residents and officials in the neighboring jurisdiction of San Pedro have long pointed out how Los Angeles deputies take "problem" citizens and "dump" them in their jurisdiction instead of using Los Angeles resources to deal with the issue.
In this instance, the man being dumped on the side of the road was severely mentally ill and had an outstanding warrant for a transit system violation.
As ABC 7 reports:
Rather than arresting the man - later identified as John Bryan - and getting him assistance from public services, the deputies were seen dropping him off in San Pedro - in the jurisdiction of the LAPD.
The sheriff's department patrols nearby jurisdictions including communities like Rancho Palos Verdes where they originally made contact with Bryan.
The sheriff's department is denying that it engaged in dumping. Instead, the department said, the deputies dropped off Bryan near a bus stop where he could use his MTA pass. They chose not to arrest him out of compassion and because of jail overcrowding, they said.
City Councilman Joe Buscaino is outraged by the video. The deputies, he said, should have gotten the man some assistance.
"In the city of Los Angeles we've often been victim of patient dumping and we've had enough," Buscaino said.
City officials have since called for an investigation into the incident after the video began circulating online.
"I am deeply concerned after seeing video of LA County Sheriff’s deputies unloading a homeless individual with an outstanding arrest warrant, displaying characteristics of mental illness on San Pedro streets near the border with Rancho Palos Verdes. This happened on the same day that the LA County Board of Supervisors called for an updated definition to make it easier for first responders to place gravely disabled persons into care. Now is not the time to pawn off those with mental health issues onto adjacent jurisdictions, but rather, for all cities to step up to the plate and provide housing and services for the homeless immediately," Buscaino wrote on Facebook.
As the man filming, Mike Olivieri sees the cops unloading the mentally ill man, he calls them out as this is a familiar scene to him.
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Naturally, police are claiming that "dumping" Bryan on the side of the road was for his own benefit.
"Is arrest the answer? Is involuntary detention an answer? In some cases, yes. In this case, the deputies made a determination that that wasn't the answer," said Capt. Darren Harris with the Sheriff's Department.
The deputies explained that they were going to bring the man to the bus stop but said they stopped short in "an act of compassion" on the side of the road because he wanted to go to the store. Exactly why they didn't just drop him at the store remains a mystery.
"The deputies determined they just wanted to help him. Out of an act of compassion and kindness, they were trying to help this individual rather than arrest him," Harris said.
While not arresting Bryan seems like a decent step, a video taken after he was dropped off, by another witness, proved just how incompassionate this dumping was.
In the second video, Bryan is writhing in agony on the ground in a clearly delusional state, shirtless, shoeless, and helpless. But hey, at least he had 'help' from the 'compassionate' Los Angeles sheriff's department.
"Mr. Bryan clearly needed help," Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn said. "I question whether or not our Sheriff's deputies could have done more to get him the help he needed before they left him and drove away."
Public 'service' indeed.