Residents, Homeless Try To Coexist by People's Park

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A recent fight between a homeless man living by People's Park and a Berkeley resident has sparked conversation in the community about social aggression surrounding the park.

Last Wednesday, Berkeley police Officer Stephen Burcham met with residents of a Southside housing unit to discuss the Jan. 11 incident.

He told the residents to notify the police if other acts of violence occur.

According to Burcham, a resident of the unit on 2500 Hillegass Avenue confronted several homeless men standing in the park about their abandoned belongings on the sidewalk.

Two or three of the men ran up to the resident, pushed him to the ground and a fight ensued. The resident then ran into the unit as the men sprayed him with his own hose, Burcham said.

The resident involved refused to comment on the incident.

Last year, Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates passed the Public Commons for Everyone Initiative in part to curtail unlawful street behavior.

"We're going to continue to encourage people not to camp out, not to leave their property unattended. The sidewalk doesn't belong to them, it belongs to everybody," he said.

A homeless frequenter of the park, who goes by the name Hate Man, said he could understand both viewpoints.

"In some ways I'm sympathetic with people that live here-tenants, property owners-I can understand every now and then they freak out," he said. "But it's tricky, because people have to sleep somewhere."


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