The cat-and-mouse game between Berkeley and a homeless activist group continued early on Wednesday when city officials rousted about 25 people from their tents and sleeping bags on a median on Adeline Street near Oregon Avenue.
A contingent of a few dozen police officers and city workers started waking people up and removing their possessions around 4:40 a.m., according to some members of the group First They Came for the Homeless. One person was arrested and cited in the action, which was finished by 6:30 a.m., just in time to open the street to commuter traffic.
Berkeley had issued a cease-and-desist order to the encampment on Monday, stating that the group was violating the penal code by using a median for uses other than “temporary safety from moving traffic.” The group, aware that police were going to force them to move, sent out a call via Facebook on Tuesday for supporters to come help them resist the “raid.”
“REMEMBER: WE CAN STOP RAIDS IF ENOUGH PEOPLE SHOW UP WHEN THEY HAPPEN,” the group posted on the First They Came for the Homeless Facebook page. “Please set your alarm for 5:00 AM tomorrow (Wednesday) and check this page to see if there’s notice of a raid going on, then hurry over to Adeline and Oregon in Berkeley, if you’re in the area, of course. Even if you take a bus, there’s a good chance that — as cops see the numbers of defenders growing — they’ll start talking frantically into their lapels.”
There were a number of observers at the Adeline median Wednesday morning, including members of the National Lawyers Guild. One observer and neighbor, Sally Hindman, the executive director of Youth Spirit Artworks, which helps homeless youth, was arrested by police and then released with a citation. Hindman said she was arrested, handcuffed and placed in a police van after she said she was going to cross the police tape that had been put up to cordon off Adeline Street.
“I didn’t respect a raiding of a homeless encampment four days before Christmas and Hanukkah,” said Hindman.
Read the full story at Berkeleyside:
Berkeley removes homeless camp from Adeline Street median