A confrontation with a knife-wielding junkie at Occupy Boston and rampant thefts have tensions simmering between the protesters and the homeless, prompting Mayor Thomas M. Menino’s predecessor to say it’s high time for police to clear the tent city.Now they know how productive members of society feel. Taxpayers support these freeloaders, they don't bring anything to the table, and you know what? It gets really frustrating.
“It’s causing disruptions to public order,” former Mayor Raymond L. Flynn told the Herald. “They should have been given one day — 24 hours and that’s it. They have to be removed.”
Asked how he’d handle the encampment — which Menino has been willing to tolerate so far — Flynn said: “I’d walk down there with the police commissioner and I’d say, ‘Look, you’ve done your thing, but please respect the laws of this city. It’s time to pack up, clean up and leave.’”
Flynn’s tough talk comes amid the reported rape of a 19-year-old female college student at an Occupy camp in Cleveland and the knife play in Dewey Square in Boston on Sunday.
According to a Boston police report, a disgruntled homeless man got into an argument at 6:15 p.m. with Occupiers because he “had nowhere to stay.” The man urinated on a tent and then allegedly pulled a knife on a group of 10 shocked protesters. No one was stabbed but several protesters later told cops they felt “threatened” by the incident.
Cops assigned to the site grabbed the man, searched him and found a hypodermic needle and a knife. The blade was seized, but the alleged victims would not provide their names to police, so the man was not arrested, police said.
“Vigilant officers intervened in the situation and quickly de-escalated it,” Boston police spokeswoman Elaine Driscoll said.
Menino yesterday downplayed the problems, repeating that the demonstrators can stay as long as they are peaceful. He said he’s not concerned about police costs. “It is not right now a drain on resources,” he said.
The incident highlights an emerging rift between the Occupiers and homeless, who have moved into the tent city to feast on freebies. Occupy protesters and a law enforcement source said cellphones, laptops and other items have been swiped from tents, but Driscoll said the department has received no reports of robberies.
“The homeless people are down there lurking around,” a law-enforcement source told the Herald. “Some of them are mentally ill and criminally insane. The potential is there for problems.”
Demonstrator Andrew Warner, 36, said homeless people are hijacking tents, getting drunk, “passing out” and stealing.
“It’s turning into us against them,” Warner said. “They come in here and they’re looking at it as a way of getting a free meal and a place to crash, which is totally fine, but they don’t bring anything to the table at all. It gets really frustrating.”
Welcome to reality, folks.