Los Angeles City Council voted 11-3 to ban public homeless encampments within 500 feet of schools and daycares, despite protests that resulted in police officer injuries.
Protesters forced the meeting into a recess on Tuesday, but the council reconvened to vote for a third time on the homeless ban.
Last week, protesters disrupted another city council meeting on the homeless ban by chanting and shouting in the council chamber, Fox LA reported.
During public comment on Tuesday, a woman tried to breach the barricade protecting council members from meeting attendees. A man intervened to try to stop police from arresting the woman, and he was arrested in response.
Los Angeles Police Department Capt. Elaine Morales said the woman was not taken into custody but was “pulled away from police by other protesters,” according to Fox. Three officers suffered minor injuries.
The council called a 20-minute recess as protesters chanted and made speeches until law enforcement issued a dispersal order. The meeting finished with only media present.
“Jumping over a barrier and putting other peoples’ lives at risk, that cannot be the norm around here,” Council President Nury Martinez said. “We cannot legislate in fear. I certainly will not do that. But we cannot tolerate this kind of behavior and continue to disregard decorum here in our council chambers and our safety.”
Council Member Mike Bonin, who voted against the measure, said it would “disconnect people from services.”
He argued, “This is going to channel our time and money and energy into moving people around, instead of moving people inside. It is actually harmful.”
The measure, which has yet to be approved by Mayor Eric Garcetti, is a blanket ban on homeless encampments near both public and private schools. About 750 Los Angeles Unified School District sites are within city limits, and the school year begins on Aug. 15.
“Our students are already traumatized with socio-economic issues,” said Councilman Joe Buscaino, who originally proposed the measure. “They should not be exposed to sex acts. They should not be exposed to open drug use. They should not be exposed to psychotic behavior that is taking place right next to our school yards.”
More than 66,000 people were experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles County as of 2020.