Trespassing Charges Nolled Against New Haven Homeless Activist Mark Colville
by Mark Zaretsky, New Haven Register, April 14, 2023
Most people would be happy to walk out of court with the charges against them nolled, a precursor to dismissal. But Mark Colville, an activist for unhoused people who was charged with trespassing last month when the city cleared and then dismantled the “Tent City” encampment along the West River next to the Ella T. Grasso Boulevard soccer field, seemed Thursday as if he felt deprived.
He did, after all, say at the time of his March 16 arrest that his goal was essentially to put the city on trial for the way it treats people without permanent homes in New Haven. And ultimately, that’s what he did — although perhaps not in the way he initially planned.
That’s because Supervisory Assistant State’s Attorney David J. Strollo, after meeting with Colville and his backup attorney, Patricia Kane, in Strollo’s Superior Court office, told Senior Judge Frank A. Iannotti that while Colville “has every right to challenge” the city’s policies and the charges against him,”the state does not feel it’s the best use of its resources to pursue this case.”…
Colville got to have his say before leaving the courtroom. He told the judge and the prosecutor, “I object to the dismissal of these charges, first of all, because I feel it’s an evasion” of the need to address the city’s behavior.
Colville, who has a home in the Hill section where he allows unhoused people to sleep in tents in his backyard, said his arrest — which came after he pitched a tent at the former encampment the day before the city came to clear it — was not an act of protest but “an act of defense.”
“The laws with which they carried out that action” were “completely disconnected from human rights,” said Colville, who had five former Tent City residents living in the backyard of his Amistad Catholic Worker Home in the Hill in the days immediately after the city moved in. “The city of New Haven continues to carry out a policy of the criminalization of homelessness.”
[Read the article in its entirety at www.nhregister.com/news/article/charges-nolled-new-haven-homeless-activist-mark-17895670.php?src=nhrhpdesecp]