Portland: Homeless Man Sues Security Company for Not Allowing Him to Panhandle

Portland: Homeless Man Sues Security Company for Not Allowing Him to Panhandle

When the Founding Fathers constructed the Bill of Rights in 1791, freedom of speech was so important to them that the First Amendment was dedicated solely to protect it.

America's Founding Fathers would be spinning in their graves right now if they knew that over two hundred years later, the parasites of our society would use the First Amendment as a way to justify their shameless begging.

Westley Foster is 29 years old and has been homeless for nine years, living on the streets of Portland. He's been arrested for drug possession, fighting and robbery, yet describes himself as a "free-loving hippie." He's currently enrolled in classes at the Portland Community College and spends his (ample) free time at the library or meandering the streets on a skateboard. He funds his lifestyle (which included a heroin habit at one point) by panhandling, presumably because he's allergic to gainful employment or actual work.

In other words, Westley Foster is a loser, and now he's looking to get paid for — wait for it — not being allowed to beg for money anywhere he pleases.

Earlier this year in April, Foster planted himself outside a downtown Portland Safeway, bothering pedestrians for money. Two security officers, contracted by Safeway, were working at that particular location on that day, likely because of the increasingly aggressive nature of panhandlers in the area.

From the Williamette Week:

Chris Templeton approached Foster and told him he couldn’t stay in front of the store. Foster says he responded that he had a right to be on the public sidewalk and shouldn’t have to move.

During this conversation, a second security guard, 19-year-old Ibrahim Seraphin, walked up to Foster. He says he thought Foster was being too aggressive with Templeton, so he shoved him, pushing him off the curb and into the busy downtown street.

Foster says he threw up a hand in defense, as a reflex to being shoved. Templeton told police that Foster punched Seraphin in the face.

Foster says he turned to pick up a backpack he uses to carry his school books. That’s when Seraphin allegedly started beating him with a baton. The police report from April 5 says Seraphin hit Foster with the baton just twice, but Foster says it was more like five times. Seraphin says he hit Foster “two or three” times.

Seraphin and Templeton handcuffed Foster. In a video taken just after they put the handcuffs on Foster’s wrists, Seraphin can be seen dragging Foster across the sidewalk and slamming him against the wall. Foster sinks to the ground and waits for the police to show up.

Check out the clip:

Although the footage only captures the tail end of the incident, neither guard is using any unnecessary force to control Foster. Although Foster suffered injuries from baton strikes, the use of force appears within reason, as neither security officer was arrested by Portland Police, nor did their actions overstep any national use-of-force best practices.

In the real world, a fair fight is a losing fight. Public safety personnel are allowed to use force one step higher than what they are confronting to overcome combative subjects. Foster used his fists, so the security guards responded with batons. The footage shows that once Foster was subdued on the ground, there was no further use of force.

The Williamette Week points out that Seraphin kicked some papers over to where Foster was sitting — he was in the process of putting on fresh gloves and (understandably) didn't want to directly touch any of the homeless man's belongings. Foster told WW that Foster was acting aggressively from the initial approach, commenting:

“He’s a transient, I didn’t know what was in his pocket. It could be a knife. In my experience, 85 percent of the transients in this area carry knives. I do my job exactly as I’m supposed to do in order to keep myself safe.”
— Ibrahim Seraphin

Of course, critics can Monday-morning quarterback all day — they don't have to deal with scum like Foster on a daily basis. People like Foster want a pity party for being leeches to society. They take advantage of Oregon's heavily-taxed residents to eat and live and have the nerve to demand more. What exactly is so wrong with this 29 year old that he cannot get a job? Are there not enough programs in Portland? Better increase the minimum wage again!

More from the WW piece:

Few forms of communication generate more emotion in this city than panhandling—the closest encounter many Portlanders have with homelessness and poverty. For years, it’s been the bane of local businesses; several mayors have tried and failed to restrict it. Foster and his attorney say what happened to him will serve as an important civil rights example.

They will soon take their argument into Multnomah County Circuit Court—in a case that cites rulings that panhandling on the sidewalk is protected by the U.S. Constitution. Foster, 29, a Portland Community College student who has been living on the city’s streets for nine years, wants to use what happened outside Safeway’s Southwest 10th Avenue and Jefferson Street location as an affirmation of his and others’ rights.

”He was attacked because he was homeless and because he was asking for money,” says Lake Perriguey, Foster’s attorney, who says he will file a civil suit early next week. “He was exercising his First Amendment rights. And they attacked him because they didn’t like his message.”

Chris Turrey, who runs Signal 88, the Portland branch of the Nebraska-based security company contracted to guard Safeway stores, says the issue isn’t speech but safety.

”It’s a frenzy out there,” Turrey says. “My guys, they’re just trying to protect themselves.”

Welcome to a reality where the right to beg for money is a "civil rights example" and in which security personnel are no longer allowed to do their jobs because of a leftist system that sides with the parasites of society and passes legislation in their favor.

The American Dream has become one's ability to leech off society unencumbered by the law.

Stay alert. Stay alive.

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