Jogger caught throwing homeless man's belongings in lake

World

A jogger has been filmed trashing a homeless man’s possessions and throwing them into a lake in California.

The runner can be seen ransacking a homeless man’s belongings in a public park in Oakland on Friday evening, and then dumping his blankets into Lake Merritt. 

The video, which has been shared by thousands, then shows him chucking the homeless man’s stuff in a nearby bin as a group of bystanders try to stop him.

“I’m picking up trash, what do you want me to do? Look at this,” the man said in the video, which was captured by Oakland film-maker and photographer JJ Harris. “It’s disgusting.”

Mr Harris said: “The audacity, the lack of compassion for another human being, the greater context of where we are as a society”.

Mr Harris and others can be heard pleading with the man to stop – explaining they had known the homeless man, Greg Markson, for a while – but he continued regardless.

“I’m just picking up trash. What do you want me to do? It’s all over the place, if you want to help, help,” the jogger can be heard saying to the onlookers.

Mr Harris shared the clip on social media where it divided opinion, as there is mounting anger towards the homeless in the neighbourhood. While some lambasted the jogger, others heaped praise on him.

“I was just completely taken aback … This is a homeless man’s stuff – a guy who is always peaceful, never causing trouble, always giving you a smile,” Mr Harris said in an interview with the Guardian on Monday. “That he would do this to another human being, the lack of compassion is astonishing.”

Mr Harris, who lives near the lake, said he had regularly seen the homeless man there and he made sure to keep his belongings in order.

Mr Markson did not appear to be in the immediate area when the incident happened. People have dropped off clothes and blankets to replace those destroyed by the jogger since the clip was posted.

“I’m appreciative. I’m happy,” he told KPIX 5. 

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said it was “not appropriate” when pressed about the saga on Saturday by the local television channel.

“I feel the frustration of both sides, now I will say clearly that was not appropriate. It’s not appropriate to take someone’s belongings, it’s not appropriate to trash our beautiful Lake Merritt,” she said.

Lake Merritt, a popular Bay Area park, grabbed headlines last month after a white woman called police on a black family because they were barbecuing.

Video footage of the unidentified woman was widely shared after she reported the al fresco diners – ostensibly because they were using a charcoal grill in a non-charcoal area.

A friend of the family – Michelle Snider, who is white – recorded the ordeal. She accuses the woman of harassing the barbecuers because they are black.

The woman, who became known as “BBQ Becky”, was the latest in a slew of examples of white people calling police on African Americans going about their daily lives.

Supporters have raised nearly $2,000 for the homeless man since the ordeal. Lifelong Oakland resident Kenzie Smith, one of the men barbecuing in last month’s incident, has been coordinating fundraising.

Oakland is home to sky-rocketing housing prices and is faced with accelerating gentrification, and displacement, and a chronic housing crisis. 

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