Yesterday afternoon the Sacramento Bee ran a story with a video that purports to show Yolo County Sheriff’s deputies dropping off a homeless man with all of his belongings at a McDonald’s restaurant on Richards Boulevard in the parking lot on September 25, 2019.
Reports the Bee, “Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg is seeking answers from Yolo County officials after video surfaced Thursday…”
The video was published by Public Safety News.
Public Safety News wrote on its website that an employee “observed two Yolo County Sheriff’s units roll quickly into the south end of the parking lot and stop crosswise across the parking spaces against the building.”
In the video, two deputies apparently look on as the man unloads his cart and plastic shopping bags from their vehicle and they leave the scene.
“My colleagues and I are very unhappy about the implications of your office’s action in this case,” Steinberg said in a letter to Yolo County Sheriff Tom Lopez, the Yolo County Board of Supervisors and the Sacramento City Council.
But the Bee article played up the video and played down the explanation from Yolo County Sheriff’s officials.
Lt. Matt Davis, in an email to the Vanguard that he also provided to the Sacramento Bee, explained that around 10:30 pm on September 25 (Wednesday), two Yolo County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to a suspicious persons call in the area of South River Road, north of the town of Clarksburg.
According to his statement, “The reporting party was concerned about trespassing and possible vandalism to a nearby water pump.”
The deputies located the individual in question in the photo that was provided.
Lt. Davis noted, “This man indicated he was traveling from the Midwest, had been in the Sacramento area for over a week, and was unfamiliar with the area.”
Critically, the lieutenant noted, “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).”
Lt. Davis said, “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.”
He added, “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.”
The Bee reported that in letter from Mayor Steinberg, he expressed frustration at their own serious homeless challenges and “city officials often hear rumors that other jurisdictions ‘are busing people to Sacramento.’
“We are doing more than our fair share (to address homelessness),” Mayor Steinberg said.
“Will you evaluate this incident in good faith to determine how your office and deputies can better serve a vulnerable transient population within your county that does not conclude the best solution is transporting them into a city outside your jurisdiction?” he wrote.
—David M. Greenwald reporting