Calgary police probe Facebook group that mocks the homeless
Published Tuesday, March 11, 2014 9:22PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, March 11, 2014 11:49PM EDT
Calgary police held a press conference Tuesday to warn the public about a Facebook group mocking street people in Calgary.
“Creature Sightings” is Facebook page that posts photos and videos of homeless people asleep in public places, returning empties or other embarrassing situations. The group’s 200+ members are encouraged to submit ratings, comments or memes further insulting street people.
Some of the videos show apparently homeless Calgarians being openly mocked with fake accents and addressed as “fine specimens.”
CTV News spoke to one of the people taunted by the “creature hunters.” At Calgary’s “Cash Corner” a spot where people look for day work, a man who called himself John said the video on the Faceboook page was “strange” and “rude.”
One man called the Facebook Group “a sick way of getting a joke out of somebody’s who disadvantaged and down and out.”
Tim Richter, president of the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness, is calling a new Facebook group that sets out to humiliate homeless people in Calgary "simply disgusting."
For people like Adam Melnyk, many of the issues behind homelessness are far from being a joke.
An outreach and housing locator coordinator works at Alpha House, Melnyk is helping people with alcohol and addiction issues get off the street. “To dehumanize them is not the way to go about that,” Melynyk told CTV News. “We don’t think it’s funny at all.”
Police are also taking the matter seriously. Sgt. Erin Patridge said police are continuing to investigate who is uploading to the site.
So far no one has been arrested for photos or videos but police charges could range from mischief, criminal harassment to assault. Facebook does have policies and terms of conditions about what kinds of content and images are acceptable on its site.
The profile is still online but a growing backlash has led to many members criticizing the site’s administrators.