OAKLAND (CBS SF) — A homeless man was injured when city of Oakland workers used a tractor-style vehicle called a “Dingo” to dismantle and clean up an encampment in West Oakland a month ago, a city official said Friday.
Assistant City Administrator Joe DeVries said the incident occurred at about 10 a.m. on May 5 when city workers were removing tents at an encampment in the vicinity of 35th and Peralta streets, under Interstate Highway 580, several days after a fire at the site burned 12 tents and a sanitation station.
DeVries said city workers had posted abandonment notices at the encampment and warned the people there to move away so they didn’t think anyone was in one of the tents when the Dingo vehicle pushed it a few feet.
But he said a man, who was later identified as 51-year-old Daryll Barker, ran out of the tent, jumped over a barrier and fell over the side and injured his knee and had to be taken by ambulance to a local hospital for treatment.
“It was a huge surprise that he was still there,” DeVries said, describing the incident as “unfortunate.”
Barker has hired attorney Jeff Wozniak to represent him and is seeking to be compensated for his injuries and medical expenses.
But DeVries said he believes Barker was injured by his fall, not by the Dingo moving his tent.
Wozniak couldn’t be reached for comment Friday.
DeVries said the city is using Dingos and even larger vehicles to clean up trash at 25 to 30 major encampments in Oakland.
He said that on May 25 city workers removed “a mountain of garbage” from an encampment on Northgate Avenue underneath a highway underpass there.
DeVries said the city will conduct similar cleanup operations in the near future.
He said homeless people who are living at the encampments should take the 72-hour abandonment notices that the city posts “seriously” and leave before workers clean up the sites.
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