LAPD responds after video shows heavily armed police raiding homeless camp

Police was responding to a radio call informing them of an assault involving a deadly weapon, LAPD officer says

Gustaf Kilander
Washington, DC
Wednesday 04 August 2021 16:28
<p>The LAPD has responded after a video showing heavily armed police officers raiding a homeless camp in Venice Beach went viral, garnering millions of views. </p>

The LAPD has responded after a video showing heavily armed police officers raiding a homeless camp in Venice Beach went viral, garnering millions of views.

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The Los Angeles Police Department has responded after a video showing heavily armed police officers raiding a homeless camp in Venice Beach went viral, garnering millions of views.

The video shows two officers, one of them appearing to hold a large rifle and the other a handgun in front of a number of tents with four people sitting on the ground in front, one of them with his hands in the air.

LAPD officer Norma Eisenman told Insider that police was responding to a radio call on 25 July and were informed of an assault involving a deadly weapon.

The suspect was said to be a white man in a blue tent threatening to shoot people.

The suspect is still unidentified, but the LAPD said he claimed that a woman tried to steal his bike, leading him to pull out his pellet gun.

The suspect was detained but was later released as carrying a pellet gun is not illegal, according to the police department. No injuries were reported.

“Officers arrived, the witness pointed out the tent with the alleged male with a handgun and tactical deployed. The portion of the video being circulated depicts this. The individuals were ordered out of the tent and complied,” Officer Eisenman told Insider.

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Large parts of LA’s homeless population is concentrated in Venice Beach, located on the the west side of the city and next to the Pacific Ocean. Last week, two out of 15 councilmembers voted against an ordinance that would make it a crime to be “sitting, lying, or sleeping” near “sensitive use” areas such as schools, parks, and libraries as well as areas in the “public right-of-way” like freeway ramps, bridges, streets, and sidewalks.

LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, who is President Joe Biden’s nominee for ambassador to India, signed the order on Thursday.

The law is expected to heavily affect the homeless population in LA and goes into effect 30 days after its signing, CBS LA reported.

The order puts restrictions on “sitting, lying, or sleeping or storing, using, maintaining, or placing personal property in the public right-of-way” and makes it a crime to sit, lie, sleep, or set up encampments within 500 feet of the so-called “sensitive use” areas that also include “overpasses, underpasses, freeway ramps, tunnels, bridges, pedestrian bridges, subways, washes, spreading grounds, or active railways” and within a 1.000 feet of a “street, sidewalk, or other public right-of-way” areas.

Mike Bonin is one of the two city council members who opposed the ordinance. During the vote, he pointed out that the city only has spots in homeless shelters for 39 per cent of the homeless population.

“What about the other 61%?” Mr Bonin asked.

“Some of those nights I slept in the car, some of those nights, when my car was in the shop, I slept on the beach,” Mr Bonin said, sharing his own struggles with homelessness. “I cannot tell you how much turmoil is in your heart when the sun is setting and you don’t know where to sleep,” he said, Spectrum News reported. “I cannot tell you how demoralizing and dehumanizing and defeating that experience is when you don’t know where you’re going to sleep.”

He also noted that the order only tells the unhoused where they cannot sleep, but not where they can.

“That’s what it comes down to for me ... where can people go, where can people sleep when they do not have an alternative,” Mr Bonin added.

UCLA report has found that the origins of the city’s homelessness problems stem from the years after the Second World War when the construction of homes started to lag behind the speed of the growing population.

Since then, racist zoning and crime legislation as well as cuts to mental health services and other factors have contributed to the current crisis. The city’s Black and Latino communities have been especially affected.

According to the Associated Press, there are around 41.000 homeless people in LA, 1.600 of which are in Venice, a neighbourhood with around 40.000 residents.