“I had my back turned to him and I did not see him approaching, and the first thing he did was he kicked me. He didn’t identify himself as an officer and he kicked me and told me to get up,” said Sheehan, in a video posted by the ACLU. “I asked him if I was free to go. He told me no.”
On one occasion, Sheehan said officers were taking him to a shelter, but instead dropped him off at the boundary between Detroit and River Rouge, about 8 miles away.
“If you don’t have money, or if you’re poor of if you’re, whatever, they’ve … shown is that you’re not important — you’re not worth protecting, and we’re definitely not going to serve you. We’ll serve you up a field trip,” Sheehan said.
Another man told the ACLU he was picked up several times by police and on at least two occasions left on the city’s east side. Another said he was dumped in Dearborn, west of Detroit.
Michigan Thomas, Outreach Coordinator at the Ss. Peter and Paul Jesuit Church Warming Center, said many of these people will then spend hours walking back to shelters, warming centers, and churches where they can get a hot meal.
“You don’t know where you’re going; you don’t know where you’re ending up. Maybe when you get there you’re abused in some way,” said Thoma. “What would that feel like?”
In 2010, nearly 19,000 people were homeless in the Detroit area, according to the Neighborhood Service Organization, a nonprofit human services group.
(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)