A shirtless jogger upended a homeless man's encampment at a lake in Oakland, California, on Friday, allegedly throwing his belongings into the lake.
Footage of the jogger dismantling the camp in a lakeside shelter went viral after being published on a neighborhood Facebook group, sparking outcry from residents and condemnation from Oakland's mayor. It also prompted support for the homeless man, an unwitting face of the city's housing dilemma.
"He's taking a homeless man's stuff and he's throwing it in the lake," said Oakland resident JJ Harris as he filmed the jogger stomping through the encampment and carrying armfuls of it away. Clothing and blankets can be seen floating in the waters of Lake Merritt.
"It's worse than it was before," an onlooker says off camera.
As bystanders plead for the jogger to stop, he claims he's "picking up trash" and that the items ended up in the lake by "accident." The video ends with the jogger having walked off in the distance.
"He ignored everyone and then put his headphones back on and ran off to the north part of the park," said Kristin Gallup, a resident who posted Harris' video to Facebook, according to SFGate. The man who lived in the park, identified by local station KPIX 5 as Greg Markson, had always kept his camp "tidy" and out of the way, she said.
Markson came back to find his encampment destroyed, the station reported, but supporters dropped off new blankets and clothing for him over the weekend.
"I'm still smiling," Markson, who's lived at the park "off and on" for one-and-a-half years, said in an interview with KPIX 5.
Last month at the same lake, a woman called police on a black family having a cookout at the park — a video of which also went viral and sparked nationwide discussion.
The homeless population in Oakland's Alameda County rose 39 percent between 2015 and 2017, according to a survey reported by the East Bay Times. At the time, half of those 5,600 without homes were living in Oakland.
Most lived in the area before becoming homeless, and more than half — 57 percent — cited housing costs as the reason they became homeless. Bay area housing prices have skyrocketed along with the rise of tech companies in Silicon Valley.
The increased visibility of the homeless has Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf feeling "the frustration of both sides," she told KPIX 5. She stressed that the jogger's actions were "not appropriate."
Follow Josh Hafner on Twitter: @joshhafner