The Los Angeles Police Department and city officials now say all unhoused people living at Echo Park Lake must leave by 10:30 tonight.
Early Thursday morning, city councilman Mitch O'Farrell issued a statement that said the city "has started the process of closing Echo Park, beginning with numerous intersections and freeway ramps around the facility. They are now closed to vehicular and pedestrian traffic to protect public safety while crews begin the installation of the fence around the park." LAPD officers in riot gear descended on Echo Park Lake late Wednesday night as part of an operation to close the park — ostensibly for renovations. They were met by about 300 unhoused people and housing advocates who object to the removal of a large tent encampment. Late Wednesday, LAPD officers declared an unlawful assembly as they faced off with housing activists and residents of the longstanding encampment.
The councilman's statement also said the Echo Park property "has devolved into a very dangerous place for everyone there: drug overdoses, sexual and physical assaults, self-styled leaders taxing homeless individuals and vendors, animal abuse, families without shelter in the colder weather, and last fall shootings where one homeless individual was shot in the leg by gang members while children stood nearby. There have been four deaths in the park over the last year." But homeless residents of the park and advocates have pushed back, restarting a debate over the way the city handles homeless encampments like this one.
Today on AirTalk, Libby Denkmann joins us from Echo Park to set the scene following last night’s protest and to look ahead to what we might expect to see today.
With files from LAist