Homeless activist to new cops for Ballpark, 16th Street Mall: "I'm going to keep my eye on you"

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More photos and a video below.
Last night, despite a protest rally by homeless advocates, the Denver City Council approved a $1.8 million security plan that will add ten new police officers to patrol the Ballpark neighborhood, LoDo and the 16th Street Mall.

The group Denver Homeless Out Loud opposed the proposal under the theory that it's a step toward criminalizing homelessness. But even though the measure passed, one demonstrator is glad officials have been put on notice and wants them to know the added patrol roll-out will be watched closely.

Earlier this morning, we reached Ray Lyall, who is both a spokesman for Denver Homeless Out Loud and a member of the homeless community himself; right now, he's spending his nights under a bridge at an undisclosed metro-area location.

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Rally images from 7News coverage.
"I'm downtown on the mall right now," he told us, "and I'm going to introduce myself to all the police I find and say, 'I want to work together with you guys -- but I'm going to keep my eye on you.'"

The rally yesterday moved from Skyline Park, on the 16th Street Mall, to the City and County Building, and Lyall admits that "when it started, it was kind of depressing. There only looked like there were about fifteen of us. But by the time we got to Welton, there were probably a good 40-45 people."

After the group staged an event outside, folks headed into the meeting knowing there wouldn't be an opportunity for anyone to speak about the proposal. But they hoped their mere presence would have an effect, and that's the way things worked out, Lyall believes.

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Ray Lyall.
"Usually when they're passing bills, it's like being an an auction," he noted. "They just go 'Aye.' 'Aye.' 'Aye.' 'Aye.' But when they got to this one, they stopped and had a major discussion -- and four of the city council people definitely had issues with it."

This represents a change from Lyall's perspective. He's closely followed the security plan's progress through the city council and attended an earlier committee meeting at which, he says, "it was 'homeless this' and 'homeless that' and 'peeing in public' and 'panhandling.' That's all they were talking about." But during last night's session, the conversation focused more on "having a police presence.

"At one point, Councilwoman [Debbie] Ortega talked about not taking direct action against homeless people and the whole room started applauding," he added. "Councilwoman [Mary Beth] Susman had to quiet us all down."

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In the end, the plan passed. As described by 7News, officers will be assigned blocks between Welton and Champa streets through 11 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.

Still, Lyall sees the protest as a success. "We let them know how we feel," he said -- and by putting a face on the issue, he hopes homeless people like him can't simply be taken for granted.

Here's 7News' report about last night's meeting.

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.

More from our News archive circa June 16: "Homelessness being criminalized in Ballpark neighborhood? Advocacy group says yes."


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25 comments
Steve At Work
Steve At Work

You can not lump all homeless people into one category. Some are merely bums, freeloaders seeking avoidance of hard work. Some are folks who fell on hard times, struggling to recover from near impossible depths. Others suffer from mental illness. Lastly, some are drug addicts and alcoholics (something I believe is a matter of choice). The mistake we're making is taking a one-treatment approach to all. You can't help an addict in the same manner you'd help someone with a mental illness. Police presence, especially in the manner that CSPD offers assistance, is a benefit to all except the drug abusers, and that's ok by me.

Vanity Rivera
Vanity Rivera

A Majority are mentally ill. .. and everytime one comes up to me they smell like alcohol. I can't even afford alcohol shit.

fishingblues
fishingblues topcommenter

Fucking loud-mouthed know-nothing activists.  Who gives a rusty rat's ass what they have to say on any subject.  

RobertChase
RobertChase topcommenter

I am afraid that Denver's burghers read about slow response times and a supposed need to hire more police, and saw that City Council wanted to spend $1.8 million dollars on police, but failed to take in the fact the ten new cops to be hired with that money are to patrol the ballpark area and the 16th Street Mall exclusively.  It should not be that hard to grasp: no matter if the City spends $18 million on more cops Downtown, it will have no effect on the average response time to get an officer to other parts of the City.  It makes no sense to engage in so selective enforcement -- in terms of the area to be patrolled (which is already), and in terms of the particular ordinances that the "police presence" will not need to enforce (because the threat to do so will be sufficiently intimidating).  I think it likely that these new officers are both intended to and will make life more difficult for homeless and poor people spotted in the vicinity of the ballpark and on the Mall, but this reaffirmation of the Council's principle that Downtown business interests should be exalted above all others in our City demonstrates yet again just how unrepresentative our municipal government is.

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

Interesting take, Half Aspen. Thanks for posting.

muhutdafuga
muhutdafuga topcommenter

You are right...conservative politicians made the choice to give tax cuts to their corporate cronies instead of funding help for the homeless.

policechokechain
policechokechain

yeah...theyll just walk down to the job store and pick out a great career. What the fuck world are you from? Smug entitled jackoffs like you are always welcome to go back to Indiana

muhutdafuga
muhutdafuga topcommenter

Yeah, just round them up and hide them somewhere that you won't have to look at them.

fishingblues
fishingblues topcommenter

@policechokechain


You choked choke.  "entitled" is an attitude that the terminally unemployed get when they expect the government to take care of their every need.


I guess welfare leads to confusion, huh choke?   

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

@policechokechain Thanks for weighing in, policechokechain. We're going to feature your post as an upcoming Comment of the Day. Thanks.

policechokechain
policechokechain

@fishingblues @RobertChase  fishingblues-you dont even know nor do you understand what a communist is, so shut the fuck up and get back back to sucking dick for nickles you douchbag brah sweatsock 

RobertChase
RobertChase topcommenter

@fishingblues  Live near the ballpark, and love having more police around?  If not (and even then) it might occur to you  (an ostensible conservative) to question spending public money for the (supposed) benefit of a few.

fishingblues
fishingblues topcommenter

@policechokechain


People  who are too fucking stupid to spell "nickel" should probably refrain from attempting  criticism of others.  


You fucking moron!

fishingblues
fishingblues topcommenter

@RobertChase @fishingblues


"Live near the ballpark, and love having more police around?"


Bobbie, tell me how this sentence makes sense.  Notwithstanding your use of a comma before the conjunction "and", how is this sentence a question?


Additionally, your excessive use of parentheses would fail you in any 3rd grade English class.  


I thought you were at least  a somewhat intelligent  communist.  I guess you proved me wrong.  

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