DENVER — City of Denver crews on Wednesday morning cleared and cleaned a camp occupied by those experiencing homelessness near 22nd and Stout streets.
Denver Police (DPD) arrested four people, who they described as "hostile agitators," during the cleanup.
According to police, one individual was arrested for investigation of Aggravated Assault to a Peace Officer while the three others were arrested for interfering in that arrest.
Protesters gathered as DPD officers and other city agencies cleared the block of the camp.
"It’s not effective at all because here’s the thing, once you move them all, where are they going to go?" Johnny Redd, who was there as a medic, told 9NEWS.
Like Redd, Marlon Barfield expressed concern over where those cleared from the block would go next.
Barfield is a member of Galilee Baptist Church in Denver and comes by the camp every Tuesday and Wednesday to feed lunch to those who need it.
"No one is really sure where they’re going to end up. We try to keep an eye out though. The more they get spread out the harder it is to serve them and it’s harder for them to get to places where they can find the necessities," Barfield said.
He went on to say he understood why they were being cleared from the area.
"You can’t let people camp out too long in one place because it’s not sanitary," he said.
Longtime Curtis Park resident Gerald Horner agreed with Barfield's assessment.
According to Horner, crime has also been a pervasive issue as the camp has grown.
"From a resident standpoint, both as housed residents and unhoused residents, to have these encampments that have become entrenched with crime really hurts everyone, particularly the unhoused," he said.
Horner is part of a neighborhood group advocating for "humane solutions" for those experiencing homelessness.
"To allow folks to continue to stay in these encampments is inhumane. I’m asking protesters, residents, unhoused folks and housed, let’s all work together to try to find immediate emergency solutions," he said.
For Horner, that means supporting Mayor Michael Hancock's Safe Outdoor Space initiative which would create temporary and managed campsites for those experiencing homelessness.
Among other stakeholders, there remains little to no consensus on the best way forward.
Wednesday's sweep happened a day after city crews and police were confronted by protesters during a similar operation near Stout Street, which lead to multiple arrests.
On Tuesday morning, DPD made four arrests of protesters who arrived to support the occupants of the camp.
Two people were arrested for "disobedience to a lawful order," one person is being held under investigation for "assault on a peace officer" and the fourth was arrested on an outstanding warrant, according to DPD spokesperson Jay Casillas.
Two people were arrested during a similar operation near Lincoln Memorial Park at the beginning of August.
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