DOJ to hear complaints from AV residents Tuesday

TCAL Board Member, Nigel Holly, speaks at a press conference Thursday to announce that the Justice Department will visit the Antelope Valley on Dec. 13.

LANCASTER – If you feel like you were mistreated by local law enforcement or harassed because you are a Section 8 recipient, then the U.S. Department of Justice would like to hear from you.

DOJ representatives will be in town next week to take complaints from residents as part of the federal investigation into alleged discriminatory policing by law enforcement in the Antelope Valley.

Thursday, representatives from The Community Action League (TCAL) joined various community organizations at the Antelope Valley Courthouse to announce the DOJ’s visit.

“The Justice Department is coming out to interview people and to hear the community’s side of the story,” said TCAL Board Member Nigel Holly.

“This is your opportunity to speak up on those issues that you called us over and over about,” said TCAL Board Member Emmett Murrell.

The meeting will take place at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday at 1030 West Avenue L-8 in Lancaster. TCAL representatives say Justice Department lawyer, Charles Hart, and others from the DOJ will take testimony from individuals in the community who feel like they have been victimized by law enforcement.

On Aug. 19, the Justice Department announced it had opened a civil investigation into allegations of discriminatory policing by Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies based in Lancaster and Palmdale. According to the announcement, the Justice Department is investigating:

  • Whether deputies have conducted warrantless searches of African-American families’ homes under the auspices of housing authority compliance inspections;
  • Allegations that housing authority investigators based in the Lancaster and Palmdale sheriff’s stations have been accompanied by sheriff’s deputies as they conduct routine housing contract compliance checks;
  • Allegations that deputies have approached Section 8 recipients’ homes with guns drawn and in full SWAT armor and conducted searches and questioning themselves, unrelated to the housing program;
  • Allegations that the sheriff’s department has sought to identify, during routine traffic stops, individuals who use Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers.

Read the press statement by Asst. Attorney General Thomas Perez here. The Justice Department previously met with AV community leaders in September. Read about that meeting here.

At Thursday’s press conference, community leaders from Littlerock said they’d become involved in the DOJ’s investigation because minority residents of Littlerock were also harassed by law enforcement.

“A lot of complaints are coming in to the (town) council about things that are going on,” said Littlerock Council Member Carl Iannalfo.

Iannalfo said in one particular instance, a 19-year-old black man had been harassed by deputies as he was crossing the street.

“He was on foot crossing the intersection and they pulled him over and hassled him… apparently they shoved him and he shoved back and then they arrested him,” Iannalfo said. “He was about to go into the Marine Corps and they said ‘we don’t want you now because you have this criminal situation.’”

Iannalfo said local lawyer, Steve Fox, had assisted in getting the man’s record expunged so he could get into the Marine Corps. The situation prompted Iannalfo to get involved in the DOJ’s investigation.

“This just isn’t right what they are doing out here,” said Iannalfo. “It’s time we focus the spotlight on them and stop the bad behavior.”

Iannalfo said he would do his part to see that residents of Littlerock attended the meeting to have their complaints documented, as well.

“We’re coming together as a joint community, a community of all cultures, fighting for the best of AV,” said TCAL Board Member Pharoah Mitchell.

The DOJ will meet with residents at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 13, at 1030 West Avenue L-8 in Lancaster. For more information on this meeting, contact The Community Action League at 661-382-TCAL.

  28 comments for “DOJ to hear complaints from AV residents Tuesday

  1. sickntiredofbs
    December 11, 2011 at 7:50 pm

    African Americans are no higher than %10 of L.A. County’s population, yet are approx. %75 of all people who get Sect. 8 benefits. Why does Sect. 8 favor African Americans when they are a very tiny minority in this county? Shouldn’t the program provide aid to people equally? Why aren’t more Latinos, Asian Americans and white people given a free (or nearly free) ride on the government wagon? I know many latino, white and Asian elderly people who could really use Sect. 8 and they are denied it. There seems to be a huge amount of bias in how Sect. 8 is given out.

    The taxpaying majority in L.A. County is Latino/white/asian too… so why aren’t the relatives of these taxpayers given a priority by the Housing Authority? It is these taxpayers who also fund the county Housing Authority and its staff!!!!!!!!

    This whole thing seems extremely lopsided and these are facts that should be brought up at the Tuesday DOJ meeting!!!!!!!!!!

    • Sahaya B. Wright
      December 14, 2011 at 12:42 am

      I don’t think it’s just blacks that are receiving public housing, if you look in the southern Los Angeles and San Fernando Valley area’s, there are a lot of Latinos living in subsidized housing, as well as getting the vouchers. And with this recession, I think everybody should be entitled to a free place to live but that’s not the point!!!! Do the math again and you will see that blacks can’t be @ 25%…especially if they make up 7% of the population..I’m black and I don’t live in section 8 housing, nor do I have a voucher, never had one. I’m a taxpayer paying for those 7 percent of black families who are being harassed by faulty law enforcement. What are we going to do about that?!!!! Even with affordable housing, they can’t live comfortably. Which would you choose? Don’t get me wrong, everyone should have their fair share, but you have to look at those people controlling the section 8 programs, not the voucher recipients.

      • Miranda
        December 14, 2011 at 10:45 am

        They published statistics in the Valley Press from the Housing Authority which stated that over 70% of people using Section eight in LA County were black. But the population of black people in LA County is only 7-8%. so I agree with the other poster that it is extremely lopsided in favor of one group!

      • Michael
        December 14, 2011 at 10:50 am

        I think that if you don’t work and you cannot afford California, then you need to move! Go to Las Vegas, Phoenix, Houston or Atlanta.

        Do not stay in a place that you cannot afford and expect everyone else to pay for you to stay too.

        How is that fair to the people who work hard to be able to stay here when someone else gets to do so without working or contributing?

        • Greta
          December 14, 2011 at 11:33 am

          Michael, you are a very ignorant individual! If everyone who “cannot afford California” moved, who would care for your lawns, who would serve you food at the drive through, who would clean your home? There are people who work very hard, but whose jobs don’t pay very well. These people deserve to be a part of society just as much as you do. If you ever hit on hard times, I hope the same consideration is shown to you that you are showing to these hardworking people who need a little extra to get by…

          • Michael
            December 14, 2011 at 1:46 pm

            Hate to break it to you “greta”, but very few people on Section 8 actually work for a living. They just burden the rest of us by having more babies that they cant afford, using MediCal, EBT/foodstamps and of course, committing crime!

            I have no problem helping a Senior Citizen out with Section 8…or a person who works fastfood or landscaping, but NOT PEOPLE WHO SIT AROUND ALL DAY AND DO NOTHING BUT GET HIGH, HAVE SEX AND PRODUCE MORE WELFARE DEPENDENTS!

            No more of this! People are sick and tired of it!

        • Sahaya B. Wright
          December 14, 2011 at 3:19 pm

          Micheal, I don’t know where you’ve been schooled but do your research on google and you’ll find that a big bust happened a while back, showing millionaires living in section 8 housing. People that take advantage of the system is one thing, but I believe that people who work to make a living and living on slave wages, should be allowed to have vouchers, in my opinion. Especially if they are taxpayers…and from what I hear, they are only giving vouchers to people who work or go to school, so don’t think they are living free…you need to do your homework and stop sounding stereotypical about the poor or low paid workers…

        • William
          December 15, 2011 at 12:20 pm

          I agree. I grew up in Santa Cruz but couldn’t afford to buy a house there now, so I live in a nice house in the affordable Antelope Valley. I don’t expect the government to subsidize me to live in Bel Air.

  2. AF VET eX-cON
    December 10, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    Just the facts Sir/Ma’am. Law Enforcement does a good job. Crooked cops must be punished and whoever pulls their strings must be held accountable. Dates and times don’t lie. The facts will be presented and the good christian folk who harass and provoke will be investigated. Criminals should go to jail, if they wear a gun and a badge, they must be removed from public service in order for good cops to protect and serve “all” the residents of The Antelope Valley.

  3. Palmdale_Steve
    December 10, 2011 at 8:00 am

    So if I am feeling threatened by thugs, low life pants down around their ankle gang bangers, slipper people, or other forms of losers in the AV, can I come and complain too?

    • Marie
      December 10, 2011 at 8:51 am

      The DOJ says it wants to hear from all residents about any complaints. So go complain about the gang bangers, criminals, thugs and Section violators. I heard from a friend in the media that the TCAL and “community leaders” that are holding this “town hall” meeting is that it is closed to the media. The only information people will get from this town hall meeting is from the people who are holding it and the only information the DOJ will get is what TCAL wants them to get. This is staged!!! All residents should show up to complain about how they are abused by the criminals!

      • SickN'tired
        December 10, 2011 at 1:59 pm

        This is being held at AV Center of Light Church in Lancaster, just so everyone is aware. I would encourage anyone from the Antelope Valley who has had a run-in with a criminal or thug or some other miscreant to be there and give the DOJ an ear-full! I am sick and tired of these clowns !!!

        The full address is:

        AV Center of Light
        1030 West Avenue L-8 in Lancaster, CA 93534

  4. Miranda
    December 9, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    what I have noticed about this newspaper AV TIMES is that they love to side with criminals and law breakers!

    • Jo
      December 9, 2011 at 4:07 pm

      What criminals and law breakers are you speaking of Miranda?

  5. Miguel A. Rivera
    December 9, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    If you feel like you were mistreated by local law enforcement or harassed because you are a Section 8 recipient…then maybe you should quit abusing the program, grow up, quit mooching off the system and start contributing!

    • Jo
      December 9, 2011 at 4:09 pm

      So per Miguel, if you’re on Section 8 and doing nothing wrong, it’s perfectly acceptable for the cops to take your kids, and beat ya. Nice!
      What a great guy.

      • Marie
        December 10, 2011 at 9:01 am

        Jo, if you are on Section 8 and doing nothing wrong, the cops “won’t beat you and take your kids.” From the people who run the program to the violators who cheat on the program, it all needs to be investigated. LA city’s housing authority is being investigated and so should LA county housing autority. They lie when they say they check to see if people deserve Section 8 (they only fill out paperwork) and they lie when they say they check on Section 8 receipients. It is all a sham with people who deserve and need the assistance doing without.

        • Jo
          December 10, 2011 at 5:18 pm

          Can you give us the facts to back up your statements? The investigating being done right here for the last 3/4 years shows the exact opposite of your claims. In fact, there was a city council meeting where even Rex remarked about the low level of fraud in the Section 8 program. UNDER 2%. Less then found with doctors supplying medicare with patient care.

          Before that, the city (yes, Lancaster) did a study over 7 years ago that showed Section 8 neighborhoods not only DIDN’T have higher crime than any other high rental area, but showed crime to be marginally less.
          If you come you can hear what has happened to folks on section 8. Then you can tell them how they deserved what they got.

          • Marie
            December 10, 2011 at 5:58 pm

            I have seen and heard a lot more than you can even imagine!!!

            I have seen and heard property owners who rented to Section 8 describe the thousands and thousands of dollars it will cost to repair the damage to their houses done by Section 8 renters who spent their time smoking and dealing drugs. I have heard the people who run Section 8 in LA County admit they make decisions based solely on race, not whether someone deserves it. I have heard them say they only allow people on Section 8 who live in LA, then they will send them up here. I have seen children living in filth while a brand new luxury car sits in the driveway. And I have seen and spoken to elderly residents and single mothers in Antelope Valley who are told they can’t have Section 8 when they deserve it. At the same time “inspectors” from LA rarely check on the people they send up here. Yet, I have never seen a deputy abuse or hit Section 8 recepients, even while arresting them and confiscating their drugs and illegal guns. However, I have heard Section 8 recepients who were removed from the program admit they broke the law, but claim they shouldn’t have lost their “entitlements.” Sorry, but there are rules and laws and they are intended for everyone! You break the law – you go to jail. You cheat on Section 8 – you lose it.
            What is being presented to DOJ Tuesday is staged. Just like the “town hall” meetings they have held before. One lady was such a bad actor, several people laughed at her. Another was a member of one of the bloodiest gangs from LA who felt she was wronged because she was caught and arrested. Members at the press conference the other day spoke of “healing the community” yet their private messages to each other are filled with hatred for others and an inclination toward future violence. But, it’s election year and once again, “The DOJ is coming.!” Good, DOJ please come and get this over with once and for all.
            Then maybe the DOJ will investigate the LA County Housing Authority and it will start giving the people who really need and deserve Section 8 a place to call their home.

          • Jo
            December 10, 2011 at 7:21 pm

            You can’t accept that YOU paint all Section 8 with the same brush. Just like EVERY group of people EVERYWHERE, there are those who abuse whatever is available to abuse.

            What you don’t seem to get, is it’s a small small minority that abuse Section 8, LESS THEN 2%. And you don’t have the statistics that prove otherwise.

            But we’re supposed to believe the DOJ has come here for no reasons. None at all. They just decided to come to the AV, because someone “Staged” something or other, and they thought it really would be fun to spend a few days in the high desert.

            That’s the way you FEEL about it. And that story of the staving children while mommy smokes crack all day, and steps out in her caddy and her diamonds all night is just that. A story. A really old story at that. Sure somewhere, at some point, there might have existed this horrible mother. But she isn’t the norm. And there isn’t an existing investigation out there that has proved the majority of tenants are anything close to that stereotype.

            You see the av press with black faces and accusations spread across the front page, 2 or 3 times a year about Section 8 abuse. They never follow up with whether the allegations are true or not. But lets say they’re true. 3 people out of 3,000+, but that makes them all guilty? Because you FEEL it’s true. Not very scientific.

          • Jo
            December 10, 2011 at 7:24 pm

            And just like anything opened to people who are encouraged to come in and tell their stories, you’ll always have a few losers.
            Funny how you only heard the 2 you wanted to hear.

          • Stinger
            December 10, 2011 at 7:40 pm

            People like ‘Marie’ and ‘Miranda’ have simply made up their minds on the subject, Jo. It is a complete waste of time to present actual facts to them as they just don’t want to hear it.

          • Jo
            December 10, 2011 at 7:49 pm

            I guess Stinger. I get so sick of hearing about that “Escalade driving and caviar eating” Section 8 recipient, yet have never seen one. But it sure makes a good story. Then there’s this state hopping DOJ, that doesn’t need a reason to start an investigation. Like they’re some government group that has nothing better to do then investigate us.

            Now if the DOJ was here, harassing Muslims, they’d be throwing them a parade!

          • Palm-Res
            December 11, 2011 at 12:58 pm

            This is actually not the first time the Federal Government has launched an “investigation” into local law enforcement after they began to prosecute Section 8 voucher holders for violating HUD policies.

            In fact it appears to be HUD’s course of action when confronted with the abuse and fraud in their system. But of course some here will ask for proof and specific examples, so here is what I found.

            Below is a great article on how a small suburb saw a huge spike in crime and related it to the voucher program by overlaying geocoded crime maps with the locations of voucher recipients.
            http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2008/07/american-murder-mystery/6872/

            Here is an article in the Wall Street Journal citing several police agencies currently under investigation for racial targeting of voucher recipients after they began enforcing HUD’s fraud policies.
            http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111903520204576480542593887906.html#articleTabs%3Darticle

            And if you don’t want to listen to the above articles you always have the current president who stated;
            “I think we should acknowledge that some welfare programs in the past were not well designed and in some cases did encourage dependency.… As somebody who worked in low-income neighborhoods, I’ve seen it where people weren’t encouraged to work, weren’t encouraged to upgrade their skills, were just getting a check, and over time their motivation started to diminish. And I think even if you’re progressive you’ve got to acknowledge that some of these things have not been well designed.”
            and here is the link to the site for that one,
            http://blog.heritage.org/2011/07/09/president-obama-admits-welfare-encourages-dependency/

          • Stinger
            December 11, 2011 at 8:34 pm

            Sorry, Palm_Res, but that dog won’t hunt.

            The first article that you are attempting to use for your point is invalid in that the criminologist, Dr. Janikowski, that performed the study that was grossly misquoted has publicly come out to refute the article’s contentions of Section 8 causing a spike in crime. The Atlantic lied, pure and simply, about the study and its results.

            The second article is pure opinion and not a reporting of any studies. Therefore, it merely represents more hype than fact and is dismissible as such.

            The third article is actually a blog posting of opinion from a notoriously biased organization and is, therefore, unable to be taken as any type of fact.

            Now, this is not to say that there are no problems whatsoever with Section 8 housing. It is simply that the ‘crime wave’ associated with Section 8 is pure BS. There has historically been a higher crime rate associated with any rental housing over resident-owned housing and Section 8 housing is no different than any other rental housing in that regard – studies have proven that much to be true. So, trying to say that Section 8 CAUSES more crime in a community is not an accurate statement since having a higher percentage of NON-Section 8 rentals in a community than said has had previously could cause the same effect.

            From my perspective: The real problem with Section 8 housing coming to this area is not crime, but how it affects the affordable rental housing market for the rest of the community that is NOT on Section 8. If you want to argue against Section 8 as damaging to a community, keep it focused on the truth, not on the pasture pastries that political hacks want to enfrenzy the public with.

          • Palm-Res
            December 11, 2011 at 9:54 pm

            Stinger,

            I see your point, but am going to have to ask you for some proof on your comments. In searching the Dr. Janikowski name I found several articles where he was directly quoted saying the same thing over and over including this one.

            http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2008/sep/11/partners-in-crime-research/

            If he did come out publicly and state that it was a lie could you please link me to the information?

            The second article I will give you because it was published in the opinion section of the Wall Street Journal, and I will do my work to try and find specific cases.

            However the third may have been a link from a blog you don’t agree with but you shouldn’t jump to the conclusion it is not factual. Below I found a link with the C_SPAN video of President Obama making the statment.

            http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2011/07/06/obama_acknowledges_welfare_programs_encourage_dependency.html

            I agree with you that Section 8 does affect the rental market in regards to folks that are not on the program, and I would go as far as to say I believe in the program’s core mission statement.

            What I don’t believe is that the program is receiving proper supervision and enforcement of the fraud in it. In a recent LACO Board of Supervisors meeting Housing Authority was asked how many investigators they have to monitor fraud associated with the vouchers in the county. Out of the thousands of people that receive assistance in the county they have two county funded investigators. You can’t tell me that is enough?

          • Stinger
            December 12, 2011 at 5:01 am

            Certainly, Palm_Res. In the Atlantic issue 2 months later, Dr. Janikowski pointed out that the research being quoted to claim Section 8 housing causing an increase in crime did no such thing because the period of actual research occurred prior to the increase in such programs in the target area. Specifically, he said, “Our research emphasizes shifts in the geographic distribution of poor and low-income people—many of which are driven by market forces—and the issues raised by geographic shifts in poverty. In Memphis and elsewhere, declines in the population of high-poverty neighborhoods corresponded with increases in the poverty population in formerly low-poverty neighborhoods. Poverty began to decentralize in Memphis between 1990 and 2000; neither HOPE VI redevelopment (most of which occurred after 2000) nor vouchers (which did not increase much until after 2000) materially affected what was happening during that time.”

            Your link: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2008/10/letters-to-the-editor/6985/

            Now, your argument about a lack of supervision is well taken and I would agree with you. In fact, if I recall correctly, the County Housing Department that is supposed to oversee the program was only recently taken off of a punitive status which they had originally been put into from a lack of sufficient yearly inspections and proper administration of said program.

            That said, however, one can not justify the methodology of the cities’ use of nearly SWAT-like tactics for simple yearly compliance checks. That, coupled with the continuous barrage in the press of hyperbolized accusations of criminality by our local politicians, has formed a real atmosphere of unfair stereotyping of persons on Section 8 (and, indeed, any social safety net program at this point) which can (and some believe HAS) lead to abuses of power in investigations that are less compliance checks and more witch hunts. THIS is what the DoJ investigation is actually about.

    • Sahaya B. Wright
      December 14, 2011 at 12:46 am

      That is sooo lame…@ Miquel, I’m sure you’ve the right answer huh? smmfh…

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