Tucson Police move in to cut down on clutter along Veinte de Ago - Tucson News Now

Tucson Police move in to cut down on clutter along Veinte de Agosto Park

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

The balancing act between the city and the homeless took another step tonight.  Tucson Police removed some of the items that people were keeping along Veinte de Agosto Park downtown.

Police did not go there to remove the people sleeping on the sidewalk. The effort focused on cutting down on some of the stuff they were keeping.  The reduction aimed to prevent items from spilling either over the black boundary line into the park, or out into the sidewalk.

Cooperation between about 25 homeless and 15 police officers led to the removal of bikes,excess bags, and other things that people there were keeping.  Police said that only two arrests were made Friday night, and those were cited and released.  One arrest was for obstructing the sidewalk.  The other arrest was for remaining in the park after it closed.  Those on the sidewalk along the park could still have a sleeping bag, non-alcoholic drink,and a backpack.

While there has been cooperation between the city and those living along the park,John Cooper, Jr., executive organizer for Occupy Public Land, said that the ordinance remains too vague because it only calls for the sidewalk to not be obstructed, and does not regulate what people on the sidewalk can have. 

"There 'snot statute that says you can't have property on the sidewalk.  There's a general statute, or general applicability that says you can't block a sidewalk.  But it doesn't say what you can or can't have, and, so I asked the government to clarify that, they still really haven't, they're making the cops do that," Cooper said.

"Well,the city has this ordinance that says you cannot obstruct a sidewalk at all, with any property at all.  We're giving them a little bit.  We're allowing them the bed roll, something to drink that's not alcoholic, and a backpack,"said Tucson Police Ca pt. Jim Webb.

The items that were removed can be reclaimed by the people later.

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