SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Rumors of “homeless dumping” in Sacramento have been talked about before, but now it was caught on camera.
A video is now circulating online of a Yolo County Sheriff’s deputy dropping off a transient in Sacramento County
It all started off of South River Road in Clarksburg. The Yolo County Sheriff’s Office says they got a call from a concerned neighbor about a homeless man walking in the area.
Deputies picked him up and drove 15 miles to drop him and his stuff off in Sacramento. But the video is raising concerns about why they crossed the county line in the first place.
The video starts with the homeless man, lost and confused. He says, “I’m trying to figure out who they were, but who were they? They’re transformers right? and they played other characters?”
He is asked about why he and his bags were dropped off in a McDonald’s parking lot in downtown Sacramento. He then explains why he was in Clarksburg.
“Actually, I was over in Clarksburg, walking around, because I was trying to get a job picking grapes in the morning, but apparently I’m too ugly,” he said.
The Yolo County Sheriff’s Deputies leave, and the man is left alone, making it look like two deputies drove across the county line to dump a homeless person in downtown Sacramento. But the sheriff’s office says that’s not the case.
“I’m very concerned that we have law enforcement who are picking folks up and dropping them off in other areas,” said Noel Kammerman with Loaves and Fishes, a homeless resource organization in Sacramento.
“I don’t think that things like this happen often, but when they do, and when they’re caught on camera, it raises a lot of concerns around it,” Kammerman said.
The Yolo County Sheriff’s Office said the man made his way to a rural part of Clarksburg without any mental health services.
“There may have been some additional assessment needed to make sure that person was going to be safe whenever they were going to be dropped off,” he said.
Digging deeper, we wanted to know, by dropping off a transient in another county, did the Yolo County Sheriff’s Office break the law? Leaders with the Sacramento County Department of Homeless Initiatives says there’s no policy in place that allows it or makes it illegal.
Despite this, Mayor Darrell Steinberg responded to the video by writing a letter to the Yolo County Sheriff saying he’s unhappy with how the department handled this case. The letter says his office hears rumors of other jurisdictions busing people into Sacramento and follows with a laundry list of questions about how they handled the incident.
The Yolo County Sheriff’s Office said they understand how this looks, and in fact, admit they were aware of this man’s mental health challenges. They released a statement which reads in part, “providing him and his belongings with a transport into an area nearby services was determined to be the best solution at the time.”
Here is the statement in full from the Yolo County Sheriff’s Office:
Last night, shortly after 10:30pm, deputies were dispatched to a suspicious persons call in the area of South River Road, north of the town of Clarksburg. The reporting party was concerned about trespassing and possible vandalism to a nearby water pump. About an hour later deputies located the individual depicted in the photograph you provided. This man indicated he was travelling from the Midwest, had been in the Sacramento area for over a week, and was unfamiliar with the area. The area where the man was contacted is rural and void of any type of services. The subject requested a ride back to Sacramento and asked to be dropped off where he could find some food (he was offered money from the deputies but declined as he had his own).
We understand the appearance this activity had. Unfortunately, this individual inadvertently made his way into a very rural area of unincorporated Yolo County leaving him without options. The man was not found to meet the criteria for an involuntary detention due to his mental health challenges and providing him and his belongings with a transport into an area nearby services was determined to be the best solution at the time.
Lieutenant Matthew Davis
Yolo County Sheriff’s Office
Leaders with the Sacramento County Homeless Initiatives Department also released a statement saying:
“Our mission has always been and will continue to be to provide services to those that need them while they are residing in our jurisdiction. Those experiencing homelessness may come and go from both services and our jurisdiction – which they are free to do, as any other population.”