COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Police and city crews moved in Tuesday morning on a homeless camp in Heer Park, forcing the people staying there to leave.
Video at the scene showed bulldozers and excavators both working to remove traces of the camp while the homeless people packed up their belongings and began to leave. More than a dozen Columbus police officers also came to the camp, parking vans around the area. CPD said its Dialogue Team officers were present at the camp and interacted with the homeless but would not answer questions about the clearout until a 2:30 p.m. news conference.
Tents, food, wooden tables and furniture were all among what campers had set up at the park, on Williams Road west of South High Street on the South Side. Video showed two pet cats wandering around the campsite. Protesters also made an appearance at the campsite, holding signs with messages including, “Housing is a human right” and “Fight for the houseless!”
One of the protesters, Hannah McCoy, said she was with a group called Heer to Serve, a community-based mutual aid group, which gives meals and other help to homeless people.
“These people have been here for multiple years. … It’s kind of crazy we can displace these people with nowhere to go,” McCoy said. “In city council meetings they’re telling us there’s no plans for this land, but also we know that someone has bought it already, and we also know they want to zone this into retail property.”