Venice Beach has gone viral again amid its surge in homelessness.
A TikTok video shared widely across social media on Tuesday shows Los Angeles Police Department officers with assault rifles detaining a group of homeless people after responding to reports of a man with a gun at Venice Beach.
The clip shows at least two police officers pointing long guns at an encampment where a group of homeless people are on their knees. Some have their hands up.
The video gained traction when it appeared on the Reddit page r/ABoringDystopia, but has since been removed and flagged as ‘inaccurate/misleading’ for the headline reading, ‘Cops bringing assault rifles to evict the homeless off of Venice Beach.’
It turns out the cops weren’t there to evict anybody. Police told TMZ that the incident was videotaped July 25 after officers were called about a man brandishing a gun and threatening someone. They eventually found a BB gun, but no gunman or victims.
No arrests were made and none of the people in the video was removed from the encampment.
A TikTok video shows LAPD officers with assault rifles appearing to detain a group of homeless people at Venice Beach
The video was flagged as misleading on social media for captions claiming the cops were forcibly evicting the homeless
The officers were responding to calls about a man brandishing a gun and threatening someone. They eventually found a BB gun, but no gunman or victims
However, the clip was shared multiple times with the same misconstrued caption across Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, including by former professional basketball player Rex Chapman and New York rapper Awkword. Many expressed outrage at the armed evictions, with some calling it police brutality and others saying it looks like the extermination of homeless people.
The misinterpretation of the video only adds to the hysteria over Venice Beach’s uptick in homelessness and crime, and the contentious debate over how to address it.
Venice Beach’s homeless encampments have become a virtual tent city with violent crime and rampant drug use pushing tourists and families out. City workers began the process of tearing down homeless camps along Venice Beach ahead of the July 4 weekend this year.
During another round of clearing tents on July 16, police were told that a woman was being held against her will in a beach tunnel in the 13700 block of Way, KCBS-TV reported.
LAPD officers found skeletal remains near Venice Beach and identified them as belonging to Kolby Story, 32, who had been missing since December
During an investigation, LAPD officers found the skeletal remains of Kolby Story, 32, missing since December.
An LAPD spokesperson confirmed to DailyMail.com that a ‘good Samaritan’ found personal belongings belonging to Story and turned them in to police. According to KCBS-TV, cops recovered her checkbook and driver’s license.
Cops said that detectives, along with members of the California Office of Emergency Management, then conducted a search for Story in the nearby Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve and Ballona Creek, and found the remains.
The cause and circumstances surrounding her death are still unknown.
The cause and circumstances surrounding Story’s death are still unknown.
The discovery only furthered actions to crack down on homelessness and crime at Venice Beach. Camping was banned in the area starting July 30; around that time, a dead homeless man was found in his tent on the boardwalk, according to Fox News. Another homeless man was arrested in connection with the killing.
The same week, Venice Beach went viral for a separate violent incident involving its homeless population. Cellphone video captured a Venice Beach homeless man with his face painted screaming as he attacked a rival with a stick during a three-man brawl with passersby looking on.
The week prior, a naked homeless man was seen in a video holding his penis while smoking a cigarette at 9am as groups of children walked nearby, witnesses told DailyMail.com.
That week, Venice Beach went viral for a separate violent incident involving its homeless population. Cellphone video captured the moment a Venice Beach homeless man with his face painted screamed as he attacked a rival with a stick during a three-man brawl
The two shirtless men in the photo appeared to be allies in the fight
Over the last decade, Los Angeles County has seen the number of homeless double from about 40,000 to about 80,000, according to the Los Angeles County Homeless Count.
According to the Greater L.A. Homeless Count, there were 66,433 homeless people living on the streets of LA County in 2020, a 12.7 percent increase from the previous year.
Fox News reported that Venice Beach had a 132 percent increase in assaults in which a homeless person was a suspect in 2021 and a 126 percent increase in cases in which a homeless person was a victim as of the end of May.
Meanwhile, robberies in which a homeless person was the victim increased by 1,100 percent while robberies in which homeless person was a suspect increased by 160 percent. Felony arrests have increased by 81 percent so far this year, the outlet reported.
The homeless encampments have become a virtual tent city with violent crime and rampant drug use, pushing tourists and families out
There were 66,433 homeless people living on the streets of LA County in 2020, a 12.7 percent increase from the previous year
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on July 29 approved an ordinance that criminalizes homelessness in most parts of the city, drawing intense reactions both in favor and opposed.
The ordinance makes it illegal to sit, lie, sleep or set up encampments within 500 feet from ‘sensitive use’ properties, which include schools, parks, libraries, overpasses, underpasses, freeway ramps, tunnels, bridges, pedestrian bridges, subways, washes, spreading grounds and active railways.
The ordinance also makes it a crime to sit, lie, sleep, or set up encampments within 1,000 feet of or on a ‘street, sidewalk, or other public right-of-way.’
The mayor signed the law following a 13-2 vote in favor by the Los Angeles City Council and it will go into effect 30 days from July 29.
Individuals who violate the law will be issued a citation from the City’s Administrative Citation Enforcement Program.
However, individuals who refuse to comply or obstruct a city employee from enforcing the law will either face a misdemeanor charge, imprisonment for up to six months in the LA County jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000, as laid out in Section 11 of the Los Angeles Municipal Code.
Garcetti and other proponents of the law said that its intentions are not to punish unhoused individuals, but to promote public safety and cleanliness.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti recently signed into law an ordinance that criminalizes homelessness in most parts of the city
‘The homeless crisis has reached epic proportions across the City of Los Angeles,’ the ordinance reads. ‘It is the obligation of the City to keep its public rights of way clean and available for public use, and to protect the public health, safety, and access by City constituents.’
Mike Bonnin, one of two city council members who voted against the ordinance, said at last Wednesday’s city council meeting, ‘There are far more people who want housing than we have sufficient resources for.
He added that the city only has enough shelter beds for 39 percent of the unhoused population, but, ‘what about the other 61%? Where can they go? Where can they sleep?’
Ricci Sergienco, of the LA People’s City Council, also spoke at the meeting against the ordinance. ‘It’s ‘basically saying that poor people just existing will be criminalized.’
A statement the mayor’s office sent to The Independent describes the city’s attempt to find a balance between public safety and the homeless crisis.
It reads, ‘We don’t need to choose between keeping our public spaces clean and safe, and connecting Angelenos experiencing homelessness with the housing and services they so desperately need.
‘We can and will do both, and I support the council action because it will help achieve that goal in a way that is humane, compassionate, and responsive to the urgent needs in our communities.’