Whittier Residents Angered Over Violence, Fire and Indecency at Homeless Encampment

on Nov13
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Residents lined up outside a Whittier City Council meeting Tuesday night to demand action after a fire and an assault at a homeless encampment in Parnell Park, the town’s newest “tent city.”

The city council has approved a second reading of an amended camping ordinance and an urgency ordinance. Those ordinances ban tents from being erected between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m., and will take effect Wednesday.

Dozens of homeless individuals live in Parnell Park, and neighbors said the city and law enforcement were powerless to stop it until now. In one case, a man was caught on camera as he urinated in bushes. 

“Why are you urinating in the park?” the man behind the camera can be heard asking the man outside Leffingwell Elementary School.

That same man was accused of punching the principal of the school in the face when he confronted him about his actions, highlighting the urgency of the issue to neighbors.

“The guy was dropping F-bombs, saying, ‘You can’t tell me what to f—— do,’ and threatened to harm him. Next thing you know, he stepped forward and punched him right in the face,” Rona Overbeck, teacher and resident of Whittier, said.

Parnell Park is located about a mile away from the elementary school.

Another video taken by a resident shows a fire in an encampment right outside a YMCA.

“Unbelievable. Look at this,” the man said as he recorded the flames.

The city has previously said it faces “considerable challenges with assisting our local homeless population,” and the mayor considered declaring a city emergency last month.

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