Tent City/Safety/Proposal/Method for Removal of Individual(s)
Removal of an individual is an extremely serious and unfortunate event. As we consider this proposal, we should remember that we are here because our government is failing to provide the necessary services to address these problems and that these are problems disproportionately affect our community.
We recognize that in order for residents to feel safe and in order to prevent our movement from being undermined or destroyed by violence or criminality, we must agree upon a process by which we remove dangerous individual(s) from our community.
Proposal: Method for Removal of Individual(s) from Camp
First, if acts of violence have been committed or a weapon has been brandished, this is grounds for immediate removal from camp.
In the event of a serious dispute or disturbance, however, a small meeting must be convened to assess and mediate the situation, and to determine if the person's presence in camp constitutes a real threat to the community. This meeting will involve available members of the Safety WG, as well as Community Wellness, and Medics currently on shift. In addition, a resident friend of the person or a representative of camp residents not in these working groups will be sought out for this meeting. To prevent escalation and to enable a balanced conversation, it is important that this mediation team be limited to these individuals.
The first objective of this group is to assess what has happened, and whether there is a real danger of violence. The mediation group must seek out the people who witnessed the incident or the behavior in question, and listen to their accounts. After consulting those people, the mediation team will find a safe space to meet with the individual in question and determine the following:
Do you want to stay here as part of our community? Are you willing to change your behavior? Do you agree to abide by the Good Neighbor Agreement? Are you willing to involve yourself in the movement in a meaningful way? Do you agree to a meeting with a mediation group in the next few days to talk about your involvement in the community?
If the individual consents to the above, the mediation team will come to an agreement on a plan of action to incorporate the individual(s) into the community and the movement. First it should determine what aspects of the movement interest the individual most. Possible options for the plan of action include connecting the individual to a member of a working group to support the individual's work. Another option is that the individual attends the weekly public discussions held by Community Wellness WG.
If the individual refuses to consent to the above or does not do so in good faith, the mediation team will explain to them that they can no longer stay in camp. It will provide the individual with a packet of resources (information about where to find shelter, food, mental health support, substance abuse counseling etc). If possible, the individual will also receive means to keep warm elsewhere (a sleeping bag, socks etc). The Safety shift team will then gather the individual's belongings from his/her tent, and facilitate a peaceful departure from camp.
In the event that the individual refuses to leave, the Safety shift team will gather enough people, perhaps using the “Rainbow” rallying call, in order to form a soft blockade to progressively exclude the individual from camp territory. This is a nonviolent but powerful way to force the person out. Those individuals who join with Safety in this action will be able to attend one of the upcoming self-defense trainings, at which the soft blockade technique will be demonstrated.
Removals will be documented by Safety, detailing the incident and the individuals involved. This documentation will ensure the safety of the community and facilitate a reincorporation process if the individual reconsiders, and returns to the community in good faith.
Moving forward, we hope for all members of our community to be aware and respectful of the implicit agreements of occupying Dewey Square, so that all conflicts can be addressed without escalating to removal from camp.