Santa Ana Attorney Arrested for Protesting Displacement of Homeless in Riverbed

Yelling out, “This has to stop,” attorney and Orange County Poverty Alleviation Coalition director Mohammad Aly was forcefully removed by three sheriff deputies yesterday from the Santa Ana River trail as they tried to clear homeless encampments. Aly had been on the riverbed the past few days attempting to stop OC Public Works from coming into the area and confiscating the belongings of the residents there. The agency has begun to stockpile heavy boulders and material for flood control along the river trail—material for a flood control project, they say, but also a blatant attempt to push out Santa Ana riverbed residents.

After minutes of pacing back and fourth through an enclosed gate, Aly attempted to pass through the sheriffs and eld onto a gate and fence. He was arrested on suspicion of obstructing officers and trespassing—misdemeanors each.

On Wednesday morning, Aly had predicted his fate on Facebook:

See a video of Aly’s arrest here.

Others tried to get through to the blocked-off area, some to take video and others to help the homeless pack and move their possessions. But deputies made no exception, saying the riverbed is private property.

“We are dedicated to incremental progress, the project is set to run February through June” says Carrie Braun the Orange County Public Information Officer. When asked what the penalty would be for the homeless who are reluctant to move, Braun explains that they are hopeful that the homeless will comply.

However, many homeless have stated that they are unwilling to comply and predict to face the same consequence as Aly.

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