Dale Mack on Police Harassment

May 23, 2017

“It’s not what you see in the movies.  Bad things happen to good people, and we’re not all bad people.”  Dale Mack sat in a squat while holding a burgundy and gold umbrella above his head, protecting his shirtless torso from the 92º San Rafael heat.  “A lot of people judge us because of where we’re at and what we do.  There’s a lot of other people in our shoes who steal to get by.  Don’t be mad at us because we’re out here with signs asking for a buck or two, at least we’re not breaking into your garage and stealing your stuff.”  He chuckled while sliding his hands through his ginger dreadlocks.  “That’s the way I look at it.”  Dale is a recognizable face in the San Rafael homeless community.  After a strenuous day of baseball practice at Albert Park, it wasn’t unusual to be greeted by him on the walk back to my car.  However, during the days when the team had to carefully walk around the police officers who examined the homeless’ pockets to get to the diamond, Dale was never to be seen.  “Sometimes cops harass me.  They throw all of our stuff away about once every couple months.”  He put his head down, once more exploring the tight curls of hair atop his head.  His squat turned into a hopeless slouch.  They threw away my phone, my ID, my birth certificate, everything, man.  It’s really hard to get that stuff back especially when you don’t have no resources.”  Despite this obstacle, Dale perked up as he assured me that there are happy moments in his life as well.  “It’s definitely not easy to live without a home.  But still, I’ve got my girlfriend, my guitar, and a couple bucks in my pocket.  What else could I need?”

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