An 81-year-old homeless man was suing the City of Los Angeles and the police department when he realized they were using his image and story as a means to crack down on the homeless population and illegal encampments plaguing the city and its surrounding neighborhoods. For years, Rex Schellenberg has called the streets of Los Angeles his home. That’s why he was appalled when Rex learned that a police officer had taken his photo and was sharing information about his identity and other homeless people on Facebook without his consent.
Homeless people do not have much representation in the United States. Because people who find themselves down on their luck without a place to call home do not have much, they are often ignored and willed out of communities. But 81-year-old Rex is fighting back.
“Telling them who we are and what we were doing,” Rex said about the police officer who was sharing his personal information online without his consent. “Our personal problems.”
Rex has lived on the streets of the San Fernando Valley for years and has been down on his luck the entire time.
“It’s like putting a target on our back,” he said to the Los Angeles Times.
Rex has filed a lawsuit against the Los Angeles Police Department, alleging that their cops have harassed him and towed his van without due cause.
The Daily Mail reached out to the Los Angeles Police Department, but the cops declined to comment because they have a blanket policy where they cannot comment about a case that is currently being litigated. In other words, Rex has a legitimate case against the LAPD.
A spokesperson for the Los Angeles City Attorney, Rob Wilcow, said that Rex’s lawsuit against the police department is under review.
Because homelessness has been a problem in Los Angeles in recent years, the police department has been cracking down hard on the people who are down on their luck. The city’s cops have been breaking up illegal encampments across the city. With four million people in Los Angeles, which makes it the second-largest city behind New York, it has a huge homelessness problem.
Slo Sean Dinese shared a comment on Facebook: “I am very close to getting the occupant of the encampment into housing. I just submitted a letter with the Department of Mental Health on behalf of Rex Schellenberg to get him additional funding to move into a location. Please place a request through MyLA311 to help mitigate the problem. I need some more requests from the community to get our Hope Unit and LAHSA out to make three contacts with the person before they can post it for clean-up. This process sounds a little ridiculous, but lawsuits by transients and civil rights groups have prevented us from immediately addressing the issue.”
Los Angeles has about 36,000 sheltered and unsheltered people without a place to sleep on “any given night.” About 16,000, “unhoused individuals live in their vehicles across Los Angeles County.”
Homelessness is a big problem in the United States and only seems to be getting worse every year.
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