Spokane Homeless Coalition Chair invites sheriff, other City members to Camp Hope

Sheriff Vows To Clear Camp Hope

SPOKANE, Wash. — As Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich looks to clear Camp Hope over the next few weeks, the chair of the Spokane Homeless Coalition wants him and others to see Camp Hope first hand.

SHC Chair Robert Lippman invited Knezovich, the City of Spokane administration and members of Spokane City Council to Camp Hope on October 6 for their monthly meeting.

Knezovich spoke to media on Friday discussing his plans to clear Camp Hope. Knezovich said on Friday he had never been to Camp Hope, saying Friday he does not usually visit “crime-ridden” areas of the community.

Knezovich referred to Camp Hope as a protest that has been going on for nine months. Come mid-October, he says he will cite people for “unlawful assembly” and arrest them if they do not leave.

READ: Sheriff vows to use bus tickets, arrests to clear Camp Hope

Lippman said it was unfortunate to hear Knezovich say “I guarantee the citizens of this community do not stand with them (Camp Hope),” as an elected official. Lippman says he also has concerns that Knezovich “would make mental health indications that are clearly out of his scope of practice related to the stages of change.”

“I do not fault Sheriff Ozzie for his statements as I’m sure he has an associated singular thought of justice being in law enforcement,”  Lippman said. “Again, I imagine he’s cognitively trained to respond to behavioral circumstances that make him and the community uncomfortable as a part of his role. However, justice is not a singular narrative as he reported through intimidating communication tactics. Justice is distributive, social, and restorative but it is obvious Sheriff Ozzie’s cognitive impulse is to control by forceful maleficence. Sheriff Ozzie does not represent my voice.”

Knezovich referred to Camp Hope as a protest that has been going on for nine months. Come mid-October, he says he will cite people for “unlawful assembly” and arrest them if they do not leave.

“It does not meet the criteria that no one goes to jail, sorry,” he said. “There are some bad people out there that that’s just where they go. That’s what needs to happen.”

He also said he will offer them bus tickets and is working with County Commissioners to send them to a location of their choice. Knezovich says the State Department of Transportation should have done something when the camp was just a few tents. Now, he believes it is his duty to take action.

The meeting is on October 6 from 9:30-10:30 a.m.

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