Volume 95, Issue 61

Tuesday, January 22, 2002
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UWO washrooms used for sex romps

Homeless vs. cops in rumble

Chapters: hates Hitler and campus bookstores

Protesting on the weekend is so not cool

Senate says no to Day of Action

Date rape drug sends woman to hospital

News Briefs

Ivey lecturer says "I told you so"

Homeless vs. cops in rumble

By Erin Conway-Smith
Gazette Staff

Police and homelessness advocates were involved in a skirmish Saturday morning at the Unity Project, a renovated storage area that has been turned into a temporary home for residents of last summer's Tent City.

Criminal investigators with the London Police Department arrested a 17-year-old male for break and entry on Saturday morning, said LPD Const. Ryan Holland.

Holland said Unity Project staff provided police entry into the building and brought the 17-year-old down to officers. During the arrest, a struggle ensued between police and the suspect.

"Other guests at the Unity Project began to come and watch," Holland said. Residents called out and shouted encouragement to the person in custody, he said.

Officers called for back-up assistance, however, the entry of additional police was prevented by a locked door to the building. Holland said police asked a Unity Project volunteer for help, but she would not open the door.

Police inside the building were able to gain control of the 17-year-old male and open the door to allow entry to the officers.

A female staff member, Charlene Lazenby, 21, was arrested on charges of obstruction of police.

Jean Morin Tremblay, 19, was arrested on charges of obstruction and assault of a police officer.

"Due process is our concern," said Matti Paquiz, 28, a Unity Project co-ordinator, who questioned the civil liberties of the suspect and legalities of the arrest.

The Unity Project – a large, bi-level storage area – is located behind the Horton Street Salvation Army and was founded in September through the efforts of local homelessness coalitions, the Salvation Army and the City of London.

The centre is run by local grassroots activists as a temporary housing solution for thirty members of London's homeless community. It will continue to operate until more suitable accommodations can be found.

The arrests will not impact the City of London's involvement in providing shelter for Unity Project residents, said Susan Eagle, a Ward 7 city councillor.

The Unity Project serves a "vulnerable population," including a few individuals who may break the law in order to make ends meet, she said.

"[The arrests] are not surpising," Eagle said. "The law will need to deal with them."

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Copyright The Gazette 2001