We Asked For This

Today, Carmen Trutanich, County Attorney Steve Cooley, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, Sheriff Lee Baca and others issued a public notice at a press conference of a first-of-its-kind civil law enforcement action designed to curb rampant drug activity in Downtown Los Angeles’ Skid Row by gang members and career criminals.  An injunction was taken out against 80 individuals, drug dealers, gang members and 1 entire gang, the Grape Street Crips, who come from the outside of Skid Row to sell drugs and commit crime on the streets of Skid Row.

Below is the speech that I tried to share as I was invited to speak on behalf of area Mission’s and Recovery programs. Our speeches were rudely interrupted by a group called LACAN. I’d like to take time to share my speech and our perspective in this blog.  Thanks for taking time to understand our point of view:

We asked for this. People selling drugs and behaving violently were waiting outside of Union Rescue Mission’s and other agencies’ doors, coming into our courtyards and restrooms, and preying on the vulnerabilities of our guests.

Over the course of a week, a woman was shot in the head and murdered steps from our back door, 2 men chased another man down who owed them money and violently beat him outside our back door on San Julian St., and our precious guest women cried and told me that gang members threatened and robbed the little man who pushes an ice cream cart through the neighborhood, “They shouldn’t have done him like that!” they said.  We felt frustrated and helpless in protecting our very vulnerable and precious guests.

We asked for help, and met with individuals representing our City Attorney, County Attorney, LAPD, Sheriff and others, and they have now delivered that help today.  Thank you!

As a colleague of ours shared yesterday, “This is the best news I have heard on Skid Row in 20 years!”  Larry Adamson, the CEO of Midnight Mission, said “With the progress we have made in recent years, men are staying in their recovery programs 66% longer with much greater success!”  This step will help in improving the success of our recovery programs.

We at Union Rescue Mission have had an average of 60 families with well over 100 vulnerable children in our Mission this year. These children have seen too much in their short young lives and experienced too much fear. Thank you, City Attorney Carmen Trutanich, District Attorney, Steve Cooley, and all, for putting an end to this fear.

One of the very thoughtful parts of this initiative is the “exemption clause” through which those listed can leave the life of preying on others, and enter into a recovery program like the one we have at Union Rescue Mission, or as I like to call them, a life transformation program, and have their name removed – exempted – from the list.  Thank you for including this grace and hope filled opportunity!

We have made significant progress in our community — stopping hospital drop-offs, stopping mental hospital drop-offs, making sure women and children are not on the streets and reducing crime.  This injunction is yet another tremendous step in making Skid Row a true Recovery Zone!  It’s an important step in moving toward the day when not one precious human being is left to live in terror and die on the streets of Skid Row.  And, indeed, this is a step closer towards truly living up to our great city’s name, the City of Angels.  Thank you!



7 thoughts on “We Asked For This

  1. Shannon Piland on

    I rejoice with you and this victory. I pray protection over all those who fight this battle of demonic darkness. I pray the Light of Jesus burn brightly in the streets of Skid Row. Miracoulous recoveries, supreme protection and divine intervention will sweep the streets in Jesus Name.


    Andy and URM

    Bless you for your correct response to this crisis. You are champions for the downtrodden and doing the work of God.

  3. Thank you, Shannon and John, for the encouraging words and your prayers. Bless you!

  4. Just so folks have facts on gang injunction, here is what one of the rap sheets says; “Oct. 3, 2008, suspect was holding M11 sub machine gun fully loaded wrapped with purple bandana.

    These are not low level criminals, but very violent men and women who are going to be barred from the streets of Skid Row, now better known as the Recovery Zone!

  5. Ted Sawicki on

    LOS ANGELES — A man wanted in the shooting death of a popular Skid Row resident has surrendered to police.

    Charles Colbert, 50, wanted in the April 16 shooting of Conrad Fitzgerald Phillip, 41, turned himself into detectives at the LAPD Southeast Police Station Sunday night.

    Officials say Colbert saw himself on the news and called detectives to arrange a surrender.

    Colbert was booked at the Central Police Station. He is being held with no bail at the downtown Metropolitan Jail.

    “Despite the arrest, the investigation continues,” Lt. Vernon added. “We want to encourage the public to provide any tips they may have on this case.”

    Phillip was shot and killed just after 5:00 a.m. on Friday at 563 South Los Angeles Street, according to LAPD officials.

    Detectives served a search warrant overnight at Colbert’s room at the Pershing Hotel, located at 502 South Main Street, one block from where the murder took place.

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