Police: Night 2 of crackdown on homeless living at downtown park - Tucson News Now

Police: Night 2 of crackdown on homeless living at downtown park

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

It's the second night that police are cracking down on homeless people living at a downtown Tucson park.

There has been a lot of activity at Veinte de Agosto park over the last few days as the city of Tucson created a black line bordering where homeless people can sleep at nighttime.

A group of homeless people reentered Veinte de Agosto Park on Saturday when it was legal to do so. They had just spent their first night on the sidewalk side of the black border.

"The homeless people out here they want a safe, legal place to sleep. They know this is the only place in Tucson they can sleep without being harassed by locals or being arrested by police," Jon Mclane, homeless advocate, said.

According to McLane, nearby businesses complained to police the area is too cluttered and some of the homeless people were begging for money.

"I want to think it's a two fold of merchants realizing gem show is coming more than the city on its own coming to realization gem show is coming so they're making this decision," said McLane.

Friday night, police began enforcing a three month old ordinance. About 15 cops showed up and arrested two people. They seized property from some of the homeless.

"The city has this ordinance that says you can't obstruct a sidewalk at all with any property at all and we're giving them a little bit," Capt. Jim Webb, Tucson Police Dept., said.  "We are allowing them a bedroom something to drink non-alcoholic and backpack."

"If we're only allowed to have a backpack or whatever, they should write a law that says that," John Cooper, Occupy Public Land, said. "Everything the city is doing is from the hip. There is no statute that you can't have property on a sidewalk, there is a general applicability saying you can't block a sidewalk."

Despite the arrests, both sides agree that is a lot of cooperation. Some of the homeless say they'd like to see a sign go up explaining the boundaries for those who may not know.

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