UCPD issues cleanup of People’s Park, removes campers from property

Devaki Dikshit/Staff

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UCPD conducted a cleanup of People’s Park on Friday at 7 p.m., removing any unclaimed materials and relocating campers who were present at the site.

According to an email from People’s Park Committee member Lisa Teague, the cleanup was done in a very “organized” manner, with several people in charge of sorting through trash and placing belongings into a moving truck. Items were recorded in an inventory so that they could be reclaimed by owners.

“The police worked with moving folks to tag the items,” Teague said in the email. “However, there were also at least 10 large black garbage bags filled with things found at various tents that the police identified as ‘trash.’ Those bags were thrown away.”

Teague added there were many UCPD officers on site, roughly more than 20 officers, and the police and movers were “fairly polite throughout.”

Campers were ordered to move across the street to the other side of Bowditch Street, according to Andrea Henson, lead organizer of the “Where do we go?” campaign. Some of these campers remained on this side of the street for the night.

While many people were offered a ride to the emergency storm shelter in Berkeley, the shelter requires that people remove their belongings by 6 a.m. the next day. For evicted campers coming with all of their belongings from People’s Park, Henson said this is not a viable option.

Most campers who were evicted will likely return to People’s Park, Henson added.

The cleanup questions how UC Berkeley fits into mandate N-23-20, which establishes that the state and its agencies must cooperate to assess state land that can be used for people who are homeless, according to Henson.

“As an advocate for the unsheltered, we are in a shelter crisis, and the governor has set forth the mandate,” Henson said. “I understand the UC system may have an exception, but I think they should have to follow that (mandate) as well.”

According to Henson, it is currently unclear whether or not the UC system considers itself an agent of the state and whether it will follow the new mandate.

Henson added that cleanups do not need to evict people from the property. According to the email from Teague, many students and passersby agree that the cleanup was unnecessary.

“They made them move at night, and they shouldn’t have had to,” Henson said.

According to UCPD spokesperson Sgt. Nicolas Hernandez, no incidents were reported and no arrests were made while officers assisted in the cleanup.

Henson and other advocates will continue to investigate how UC Berkeley fits under Gov. Gavin Newsom’s new mandate.

“If the governor is saying that we have to work together, then that should include the UC, the governor’s mandate does have to force of law for state agencies,” Henson said.

Contact Isabella Sabri at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @isabella_sabri.