On the evening of October 1st, as the temperature dipped into the 50s and a steady rain began to fall, Floyd Parks and a few other homeless men and women sought shelter under the overhang at Choir Academy, a public school in East Harlem. The rain was still falling at 5:00 a.m., when the group was rousted by police and Parks Department employees in white hazmat suits. The authorities told them they were no longer welcome underneath the overhang, and began to toss their possessions into a waiting sanitation truck.
“They said ‘Get up we’re taking your carts,'” 61-year-old Parks wrote in his Civil Complaint Review Board report filed later that morning. A former ambulette driver from Long Island, he’s been homeless for about five years. Speaking with us a few days after the incident he recalled, “There were some people they grabbed [items] from, tossed them around, skinned their knees.”
By Emma Whitford | October 13, 2015