Griffith Park arrests spark fresh debate over homeless encampments

Local news
Ayman Ahmed was one of the last holdouts at a homeless encampment that was cleared out of Echo Park. Weeks later, he and others were arrested for pitching tents in Griffith Park.(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Ayman Ahmed was one of the last holdouts at a homeless encampment that was cleared out of Echo Park. Weeks later, he and others were arrested for pitching tents in Griffith Park.(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Six weeks ago, Los Angeles city park rangers descended on a small group of tents in Griffith Park, arresting a homeless man and at least two community activists who had gone there to show their support.

Park rangers said they took that step because camping poses a major fire risk in Griffith Park, and because the group refused to take down their tents, which are prohibited by law in city parks. The group was taken into custody even though an aide to Councilwoman Nithya Raman showed up and asked the rangers not to make arrests.

The Griffith Park incident drew scant attention at the time, particularly when compared with the uproar that greeted the city’s decision to clear a massive encampment at Echo Park Lake in March. But it has emerged as yet another source of conflict over the city’s handling of its recreation areas during a huge homelessness crisis.

Since the confrontation took place, homeowners in Los Feliz have contacted Raman’s office to express their fears about the fire danger posed by encampments in Griffith Park, which had a massive blaze in 2007 that triggered evacuations and burned hundreds of acres.

Read the full story at LATimes.com

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