A man who has been dubbed “Jogger Joe” or “Jogger John” has drawn angry attention from the Internet after a video was taken showing him throwing a homeless man’s belongings into the garbage and a nearby lake. Now people are beginning to share the video, helping to find the person’s identity. Meanwhile, others on the Internet are defending the man’s actions. You can see the video below showing what happened. Warning: There is profanity in this video.
The incident happened at a Lake Merritt encampment in Oakland on Friday night, June 8, around 6:30 p.m.. The video was first shared on the Lake Neighbors Facebook group. The man found the homeless person’s belongings and decided to throw them away. First he took them to a nearby trashcan, but he also appeared to throw some of the belongings in the lake. He claimed it was an accident when one onlooker pointed out what he had done, but the person disputed it. “No, it wasn’t (an accident),” they said. “I saw you drag and throw it in.”
The video was recorded by J.J. Harris and then shared to the Lake Neighbors group by Kristin Gallup, where it quickly gained traction. Harris also shared the video on his own Facebook page, where it currently has 27,000 views and more than 700 shares, and wrote: “I am still stunned that yesterday I captured this video of some guy throwing a homeless man’s belongings into Lake Merritt and around the area. The police showed up soon after as the guy ran away to continue his workout. They said they couldn’t do anything because the homeless man’s possessions are considered ‘debris.’ Only possibility is he ‘may’ get a fine for littering. This is ridiculous that these are the kind of people who are living in Oakland now. Please share. This bro needs to go down.”
Gallup told SFGate that the homeless man who lived there was always tidy and kept his belongings away from foot traffic. She said to SFGate: “I think it’s morally reprehensible and straight-up cruel what this guy is doing. This whole incident is a pretty succinct manifestation of so many of Oakland’s current issues—racism, gentrification, white privilege, male privilege, hatred towards poor and homeless people, lack of resources due to funds not being allocated properly, lack of consequences for unjustifiably bullying of homeless people, and sheer apathy towards their predicaments.”
Refugio Cuco commented on Harris’ original video, saying that he knew the man who lost his belongings. “He has been trying really hard to get his life together after dealing with complicated MEDICAL problems,” he wrote.
One person wrote in the Facebook neighborhood discussion about the video: “Can we BBQ Becky his *** and run him out of town?” However, others in the group defended the man’s actions, including a resident who wrote that he wanted to thank the guy for “cleaning up the trash these homeless are leaving behind.”
Lynette Gibson McElhaney, a City Council member in Oakland, responded to Harris’ video and said she was sending the video to the City Administration and would reply once she learned what the local laws were regarding unsheltered people’s belongings.
Meanwhile, people who see the video are wondering how they can help the man who lost his belongings. Anastasia Kuba wrote: “If you live in Oakland, you’ve seen this homeless man. He is sweet and kind and friendly. You know where his spot is. Stop by today with some clothing, sleeping bag, blanket, sandwich or/and cash. This man deserves better and we should stick up for him.”
Jennifer Ramos commented that she went to the location later to check on the man whose belongings were thrown away, but couldn’t find him. Gallup explained that the man wasn’t even there when his belongings were tossed.
One resident suggested supporting the Homeless Advocacy Working Group’s request for funding to help find transitional housing for unsheltered people in the region. If you want to help, you can also participate in a drive to help feed the homeless in the region here.
Another resident, Keith Hernandez, noted that Oakland offers a reward program for anyone who witnesses and identifies illegal dumpers.
This is a developing story.