Police questioned homeless people in Central Park this week and took pictures of them, provoking angry protests from the homeless and their advocates at this week's Whittier City Council meeting.
Bea Comini, chairman of a church program that distributes food to Whittier's poor, warned council members that some homeless are mentally ill and extremely frightened of police. They gather at the park on weekdays to pick up food bags provided by the Ecumenical Food Center, she said.
City Manager Thomas Mauk and City Council members said they had no explanation for the procedure. Police Chief James Bale said police were looking for witnesses and suspects in several recent window-smashing burglaries of Uptown Whittier businesses. "My impression was it was not just the homeless they were talking to," Bale said.