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Police seize carts, bikes of homeless at Moiliili park


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POSTED: Thursday, July 23, 2009

Homeless people say they were kicked out of Stadium Park yesterday, but police had a different story.

“;It's just a cleanup,”; Capt. Jerry Wojcik said. “;We're not telling people to leave the park. We don't want to displace anybody. We know there's really nowhere to go.”;

Police officers arrived at the park at noon and seized 18 shopping carts and several bicycles to clean up the park. The homeless people whose carts were taken were asked to carry their items or throw them away in a city dump truck that was on site, police said.

“;They're actually receptive because we made it clear we're not kicking them out, just working around them,”; said Maj. Robert Green, who added that no one was arrested.

Bernadette Anderson and other homeless citizens gave a different account.

“;They told us we had 30 minutes to pack up our (expletive) and get out. They chased us out of there,”; Anderson said. “;They told us we cannot be in the park, we can't be on the sidewalk. We have nowhere to go.”;

Elijah Golden, who delivers newspapers in the morning with Anderson, added that police seized his bicycle, which was registered under his name.

Roxanne Highland said she was forced to carry her items to the sidewalk on King Street after police took away the shopping cart she was using.

“;They said to carry it or lose it,”; said Highland, who has lived at the park since April. “;This is all I have.”;

According to police, residents have complained about the homeless urinating and defecating and blocking the sidewalks around Stadium Park.

Greggory Cuadra, a member of the McCully/Moiliili Neighborhood Board, said the board has discussed the issue before and noted it is a problem.

“;A lot of times there's so many (homeless) there that people don't want to use (the park),”; said Cuadra. “;It's not how Moiliili used to be.”;

Cuadra said he hates seeing shopping carts all over the place, but he remains sympathetic to those without homes.

“;I would like to see more programs to get the folks off the street, to get them the mental help, the physical help, the addiction help, to get them back to being productive members of the community,”; Cuadra said.

Ron Sexton, currently homeless, challenged the city administration to do more for the homeless.

“;Nobody seems to be coming up with an alternative,”; said Sexton, who attends a weekly Bible study at Stadium Park that includes a free lunch. “;There's actually a lot of pretty decent people who live on the street. They just don't have a lot of options.”;