Stop-and-frisk laws have been under fire since they were first suggested, but what about other laws that criminalize living and moving throughout our communities?
Many more exist, often hidden behind different motives.
There are laws that criminalize the act of carrying condoms or wearing “provocative” clothing. “Loitering for the purpose of prostitution” is a common excuse for making an arrest. And there are laws that ban gatherings in certain places and make setting up a table in a public park a misdemeanor.
Sit-and-lie ordinances are a sugar-coated version of the original stop-and-frisk, and yet, they oftentimes go unnoticed. A West coast specialty, these ordinances criminalize sitting and/or lying on public spaces not meant specifically for this purpose (read: benches).
Obviously, this law is not used to arrest the “average” citizen who casually uses curbs and planters as seats. This law’s intent is to criminalize homelessness, busking, and building communities from within.
Essentially, its intent is to criminalize the freedom to use public space peacefully, for those whom the police see as “undesirable.” This, of course, supports the goal of keeping the homeless out of sight and inside the legal system. These are not the laws of a democracy and a “free” country. These are the laws of a police state, where the people fear the government more than the government fears the people.