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MEDIA RELEASE: Support the S-CAP 3 in Court! Drop the Charges Now!

Blog posts reflect the views of their authors.
Sudbury Coalition Against Poverty logo
Sudbury Coalition Against Poverty logo

January 30th 2015
For immediate release.
For more information contact S-CAP at 249-878-7227 or SudburyCAP@gmail.com.

Support the S-CAP 3 in Court!  Drop the Charges Now!

Fighting Poverty is Not a Crime!

The S-CAP 3 Defence Committee is calling for all charges against the S-CAP 3 to be dropped, and for the draconian non-association condition to be lifted immediately!

We are calling on all supporters to attend the first court appearance of the S-CAP 3 on Wednesday February 4th at 9:30am in the Courthouse at 155 Elm St., courtroom B. Please come out and show your support!

On the night of January 12th, with a Cold Weather Alert warning in effect, three members of the Sudbury Coalition Against Poverty were unjustly arrested at the Emergency Out-of-the-Cold Shelter while supporting someone banned without adequate cause or due process from using the shelter.

These groundless exclusions are not to happen at this shelter, which the City only set up after a grassroots campaign of popular pressure and direct action lead by S-CAP. Unfortunately, this shelter has increasingly become another Salvation Army operation with many of the same barriers and restrictions to accessing this shelter.

Previous direct action support work that S-CAP has done has never resulted in arrest. We argue that the first arrest was racially motivated. We have an aboriginal woman advocating for an individual calmly but firmly, and this was met with hostility. Extreme and excessive force was used against her by the police when she attempted to call back for her son who was in the shelter with us. This is a clear demonstration of the racial discrimination and racial profiling that occurs here in Sudbury. More broadly speaking, we see this with the over representation of aboriginal people in the justice system and the unfair treatment they face within that justice system. These racial inequities need to be confronted!

The S-CAP 3 have been charged with trespassing and causing a disturbance with a draconian non-association condition imposed on them, preventing the three from speaking to one another, even indirectly.

That night, the Salvation Army staff showed their lack of openness to hearing problems with the service they are offering, and the police showed their readiness to repress even small scale collective political action. It was the major response of the police that caused the disruption at the shelter. In making these arrests and imposing the non-association condition, the police are effectively criminalizing supporting people living in poverty. This is unacceptable! The police clearly took the side of those who would have people living in poverty forced out into the cold by siding with the restrictive Salvation Army.

That’s what happened to three members of S-CAP just for trying to explain the individual’s situation to Salvation Army staff.

The Emergency Shelter Must Not Have Restricted Access!

This is a City funded shelter, but the City evidently had no intention of keeping its commitment to open a completely accessible shelter run under its supervision and not the Salvation Army’s.

In working with homeless people in the City, a few problems with the Shelter have been repeatedly expressed. In order to address these, we demand:

The restrictions being imposed on people who want to use the emergency shelter must be lifted immediately! This must truly be a no-questions-asked shelter where nobody is turned out into the cold.

The staff at the emergency shelter must be unionized City staff! The religious character of the Salvation Army administration and the restrictive regulations they bring with them must go!

The emergency shelter must be opened 24 hours a day! People who use the shelter are only allowed to enter after 8pm and and pushed back out into the cold at 7am. It is still very cold during the day in the winter, and shelter and warmth are required at these times too.

An emergency shelter with no restrictions to access are crucial, but it is not a long-term solution. There are thousands in Sudbury whose housing and other basic needs are never met by the current system. We must always keep this in mind and continue to fight for a system which addresses the real needs of people first!

For more information contact S-CAP at 249-878-7227 or SudburyCAP@gmail.com.


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