Kalamazoo police enter homeless camp
The police did not enter the Bronson Park homeless encampment last night to enforce the local ordinance against camping in public spaces but they did this morning.
It is being reported that last night approximately a dozen protesters refused to leave Bronson Park and they formed a circle on the lawn of the park and waited for the police to arrive.
WWMT is reporting that the Kalamazoo Public Safety has entered the park around 6:45 this morning to begin enforcing the laws and remove anyone who is still camping in the park
Kalamazoo city leaders have stated that the camp was a health hazard and they are now asking protesters to leave. It is also being reported that they have also started to dismantle their tents.
It appears that the Kalamazoo Public Safety department have not arrested or cited anyone yet, but it is possible if those who stay against police orders could be cited.
The question is; why didn’t the Kalamazoo Public Safety department attempt to enforce the local ordinances last night at 7 pm when the people in the encampment were ordered to leave by that time. I can only assume they did not want to do so due to the heavy presence of reporters their news cameras. They may have wanted to avoided a public display and possibly a riot.
Yesterday Kalamazoo City Commissioner Shannon Sykes-Nehring stated:
For everybody here now who stood here who stood ground and not going nowhere because we fight for what’s right. For those people and those women with kids…I've made it very clear to the chief of police. I've made it clear to my colleagues. I've made it clear to the protesters that I fully intend to go first if they plan to lock people up, which sounds like they do.
It appears that Ms. Nehring is asking for a photo-op and if she is breaking the law the police should accommodate her request. It is too bad that people are attempting to make this a political statement to further their careers as opposed to really attempting to help the homeless people in Kalamazoo. Encouraging and helping the homeless in Kalamazoo to break the law is not helping the homeless in their time of need.
The real question is what now, what do we do with the people who are truly homeless and in need. This should not be a political stunt and instead should be a humanitarian issue for the city to deal with.