According to reports, John Harris was at Lake Merritt on Friday when he saw Henry Sintay AKA “Joe Jogger” throwing stuff, so he decided to turn his camera to the lake, which showed items like blankets floating on top.
The items belonged to a homeless man named Drew (pictured above), who is well-known to locals and has been living in the same spot for years. And it was the locals who tried to defend Drew when Henry stumbled upon his space and decided to throw everything away, per The Daily Mail.
“It’s his stuff,” one person can be heard telling the jogger. “He’s been living there for a long time.”
“It’s disgusting, it smells like p**s, it’s nasty,” the jogger replies as he continues to throw the man’s stuff around.
“I’m not taking any of it, he can pick it up,” Sintay says as he continues to kick the man’s stuff and spread it all over the gazebo.
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“Sir, I think you should stop,” one person says.
“I’m picking up the trash,” the jogger replies.
“Now it’s worse than it was before,” one person says, as locals watch Drew’s items floating in the lake. “Just leave it! You just spread it everywhere, you put it in the lake.”
The jogger then tried to claim that the items got into the lake by “accident,” but the woman responds that she saw him drag them over and toss them into the water.
Later in the day, Henry returned to the lake to remove the items and he told local Matt Nelson that he is always throwing away trash and considered what he threw away before to also be trash.
“I was trying to do the right f*****g thing, I pick up trash all over the place. His s**t, anyone’s s**t, it’s trash.”
He admitted to knowing that the homeless man had lived in the area “for a long time.” But when Henry realized Nelson was filming him, Matt claims Sintay not only stole his phone but assaulted him and hit him in the head multiple times. He suffered a ‘minor concussion’ and some cuts and bruises from the altercation.
Sintay was arrested Tuesday afternoon, June 11, on charges of first-degree robbery, related to his alleged attack on Matt Nelson.
John Harris, who shot one of the videos that appeared online, told KNTV that police said after the lake incident the jogger could also be fined for littering because Drew’s belongings are legally considered debris.
“This is ridiculous that these are the kind of people who are living in Oakland now,” Harris wrote on Facebook, where he posted his video. “Please share. This bro needs to go down.
“I think it’s morally reprehensible and straight-up cruel what this guy is doing,” Kristin Gallup, who also caught part of the incident on video, told The San Francisco Chronicle.
“This whole incident is a pretty succinct manifestation of so many of Oakland’s current issues — racism, gentrification, white privilege, male privilege, hatred towards poor and homeless people, lack of resources due to funds not being allocated properly, lack of consequences for unjustifiably bullying of homeless people, and sheer apathy towards their predicaments,” she told the publication.
Mayor Libby Schaaf of Oakland told KPIX that the jogger’s actions were “not appropriate.”
“It’s not appropriate to take someone’s belongings, it’s not appropriate to trash our beautiful Lake Merritt,” Schaaf told the station.
Some residents are trying to help the homeless man by replacing many of his lost belongings.
“Since I posted the video, it’s gotten a really positive response from the community,” Harris told the Chronicle. “You know, the community is really stepping up to help this guy out….It’s kind of reviving my hope in the goodness of the people in my community.”
Harris has since joined forces with Kenzie Smith, who made national headlines after Jennifer Schult called police on his barbeque at an Oakland park, to help Drew via a GoFundMe to replace everything he lost, including clothes, shoes, food, bedding, and other essential items.