Echo Park Lake in Los Angeles has been home to thousands of homeless people since 2019. But homeless advocates objected when the city decided to renovate and rehabilitate the park, placing fencing around portions of the lake as the first step.
Police were ordered to sweep the park of tents and other structures and to move the people out. It didn’t go well.
Hundreds of people protesting the sweep attacked riot police with rocks, bottles, and other projectiles, according to the department’s Twitter account.
The protesters, a mix of homeless people and activists, refused to budge as they chanted, “Whose park? Our park!”
As hundreds of cops — many carrying batons or projectile weapons — slowly moved forward to sweep the area, it sparked violent clashes with some of those refusing to budge, according to witnesses and police.
The LAPD twice declared it an unlawful assembly and repeatedly announced orders to leave, claiming on Twitter that officers were “assaulted with rocks, bottles and smoke bombs.”
“At this time no use of force have been reported,” the force insisted of its own tactics.
The homeless encampment is, as you might expect, a hellhole.
“The Echo Park facility has devolved into a very dangerous place for everyone there: drug overdoses, sexual and physical assaults, self-styled leaders taxing homeless individuals and vendors, animal abuse, families without shelter in the colder weather, and last fall shootings where one homeless individual was shot in the leg by gang members while children stood nearby,” City Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell said in a statement. “There have been four deaths in the park over the last year.”
The city says there was $500,000 in damage so, if the park was “their home,” they certainly didn’t take very good care of it.
The LAPD issued a city-wide tactical alert after the melee threatened to escalate. It was canceled about 1:30 AM. So what happens to the homeless?
David Busch-Lilly has called the park home since August. He described the dilemma faced by working people who live at the park.
“Do I have to pay 50, 60 percent of my monthly income to housing, or do I end up in a long line with a 10-year wait for affordable housing in Los Angeles?” said Busch-Lilly.
If you want government assistance, you stand in line and you wait. Or you can join the tens of thousands who are moving out of Los Angeles to somewhere that you don’t have to pay half your salary for housing.
I am speechless at the whole situation — the attitude of the homeless, of homeless advocates, of the city politicians. Their arguments reek of entitlement.
“You define a sweep as moving someone indoors to a safe, clean environment where they will be provided free, healthy meals, receive medical care and a path to wellness, then you can call it what you want,” O’Farrell told the LA Times.
Los Angeles and much of California have become unlivable for ordinary people with ordinary jobs. Demanding “affordable” housing and pie-in-the-sky services and treatment for homeless people is a symptom of the rot eating away at the values that Americans have held on to for a couple of centuries.