According to local media reports in Los Angeles on the 26th, the video of the California Highway Patrol’s joint police force forcibly expelling the homeless late at night on the 25th was widely circulated on social media.
In the video, dozens of police officers gathered near El Sereno in Los Angeles to expel the homeless who had illegally moved into government-owned vacant houses.
During the operation, law enforcement officers were strongly protested by the people on the scene. After the end of this operation, many local human rights organizations also believed that the police ignored the safety of the homeless and forced evictions to be inhumane.
It is reported that the California Department of Transportation purchased dozens of houses in El Sereno, Los Angeles many years ago as part of a plan to expand Highway 710, but these houses have been vacant since the plan failed.
Before the eviction started, at least dozens of homeless people, including infants aged 3 months and elderly people over 70 years old, moved into these vacant houses by themselves.
The homeless who stayed in said that during Coronavirus Pandemic, the California government failed to provide them with a healthy and safe shelter, and as the weather gradually became colder, they could no longer sleep on the streets.
After the local police learned that homeless people had illegally moved into these vacant government houses, they gathered police forces to expel these intruders.
After the law enforcement officers arrived at the scene, they were protested by many human rights organizations and homeless people. In the following hours of clean-up operations, all the homeless who had moved in illegally were dissuaded from leaving. It is not clear how many homeless people have been evicted from these vacant houses, and the police involved in the eviction operations also declined to comment.
After the expulsion, the local human rights organization in Los Angeles issued a statement stating that the police’s act of expelling the homeless during the holiday period is neither inhuman nor responsible, and that the right to housing is a basic human right and all families should have one. Safe shelters, especially during the current peak of Coronavirus Pandemic.
He also stated that the homeless population in Los Angeles is facing a “darkest winter”, and requested the Governor of California to instruct the California Department of Transportation to allow these homeless people to live in these vacant houses and to provide electricity and water for these houses. Let it be a safe haven.
But then a spokesperson for the California Department of Transportation argued that the houses that were emptied along Highway 710 were unsafe and unsuitable for people to live in. For this reason, the Department of Transportation chose to expel these “illegal intruders”.
The Transportation Bureau also stated that it will cooperate with the local government to lease several vacant properties to provide emergency shelters for these homeless people.