Los Angeles Police Department officers have seen police cars from at least four suburban departments drop off people who appeared to be homeless on the streets of downtown Los Angeles, the commander of the LAPD’s downtown division said. The allegation from Capt. Andrew Smith comes after he and his partner saw two sheriff’s deputies drop off a mentally ill man in downtown’s skid row after he was released from jail, reports the Associated Press. It added to long-standing suspicions by police and downtown officials that law enforcement agencies from outside the city were using skid row as a dumping ground for the homeless.
Officials from three of the departments – El Monte, El Segundo and Pasadena – said dumping was common years ago but is now banned. Officials from the fourth suburb, Burbank, declined to comment. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has defended the deputies who tried to leave a homeless man downtown Tuesday, saying they were only trying to help the man, Byron Harris, get social services. Harris had been out of jail and loitering around the building for more than 12 hours when the deputies, under orders from a supervisor, handcuffed him and drove him to skid row.