San Diego official disciplined after homeless person is thrown into trash truck

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A senior official of San Diego’s Environmental Services Department was escorted out of City Hall on Friday, days after the San Diego Union-Tribune reported that city workers mistakenly placed a homeless person into the back of a trash truck during a December cleanup effort.

Angela Colton, 42, who rose to the post of deputy director of the department in 17 years with the city of San Diego, declined to discuss her departure from City Hall when reached Monday.

It was unclear whether Colton would return to her post.

In a statement, city spokeswoman Katie Keach said, “Appropriate disciplinary action has been taken.”


Colton had been a key official in charge of the city’s response to the growing number of homeless encampments and tents that have cropped up throughout downtown San Diego and elsewhere in recent years.

During a so-called abatement three days before Christmas, city workers clearing a street near Petco Park placed a tent filled with bedding and other material into the back of a city garbage truck.

Moments before workers were about to activate the truck’s hydraulic compactor, a person began screaming and waving their arms from inside the heap of material, the Union-Tribune reported on Jan. 27.

City officials told the Union-Tribune that the person was climbed out of the truck to safety and walked away before workers could offer assistance. Officials could not say if the person was a man or a woman.