One day after the residents of Anarchy Row stood their ground against an attempted homeless encampment removal, the NYPD returned in force early Wednesday morning, leading to arrests.
Johnny Grima, an individual living with homelessness and a rising undomiciled activist has been fighting for his home—a small row of tents—against a revolving door of sweeps for weeks, with the latest battle being the third removal in less than seven days.
On April 19, Grima, fellow rough sleeper Sinthia Veev, and advocates rebelled against the NYPD, DSS-DHS, and DSNY who arrived at 9th Street and Avenue B to dismantle the encampment.
Following a brief standoff, the attempted sweep ended without incident with homeless outreach merely posting an updated removal notice.
On April 20th, the NYPD were not taking any chances. Arriving in a police van at around 8am, the department and sanitation demanded the sweep be undertaken, something the unhoused East Village residents didn’t take too kindly.
Grima, like so many times before, stood in defiance of the sweep, refusing to leave his tent to the snapping maw of a garbage truck. With Grima standing in prevention of the New City Police, members of NYPD’s strategic response unit moved in. Wrestling with Grima who desperately clung to his tent, four officers lugged the homeless man by his elbows and ankles and placed him in the rear of an awaiting van, allowing sanitation workers to dismantle and ultimately dispose of the camp.
Another arrest was also made. An advocate and friend to Grima was also led away in cuffs for allegedly attempting to prevent the sweep.
According to Grima and Veer, by continuing to camp in the area they are attempting to show defiance against what they feel are inhumane sweeps and demand permanent housing.