Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva gave a strong message to the homeless population living in Venice Beach, CA telling them it’s time to pack up and either go back to their home states or risk being cleared out by the police department. The popular beachfront tourist destination has become a major destination for homeless persons across the states and country after Democrat leaders halted part of a law guiding encampment sweeps, citing the coronavirus pandemic last year.
The remarks come after Villanueva deployed the Sheriff’s Homeless Outreach Services Team to the boardwalk earlier this week to evaluate the situation and implement an incremental plan to clear transients from the area. During an Instagram Live broadcast, Villanueva described the department’s efforts as a “humanitarian mission” and said he is forced to take action because “lives are at stake.” He condemned the progressive Democrats elected to represent Venice “who fail to do their job” and allow homeless encampments to take over the neighborhood. In addition, Villanueva accused city leaders of preventing the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), which patrols Venice, from enforcing the rule of law and regulating public space.
Villanueva said the Sheriff’s Department developed a five-step process that will take a minimum of two weeks to complete, depending on the situation’s complexity. The Los Angeles Times reported, “For a few weeks at least, sheriff’s deputies will not be making arrests or taking other enforcement measures on the boardwalk.” Instead, deputies will be working with mental health clinicians “assessing the needs of people living in sprawling encampments along the beachfront promenade and helping to get them services,” according to the Times.
“As we move people out, we’re going to hold ground. We’re not going to let anybody move back in,” said Villanueva during an Instagram Live broadcast on Wednesday. “And then we’re going to shift that responsibility to the local law enforcement.”
“We’re coming for you,” Villanueva said, talking to the camera. “You do not belong here in L.A. County. All you’re doing is harming the economy of L.A., you’re harming the communities, and you’re harming the people that can least afford to have an extra burden on them, which is more homeless competing for a limited amount of resources.”
Villanueva was stern with his message, especially with out-of-state homeless migrating to the area. The sheriff hopes to have the boardwalk cleared by July 4th.