By Joe Johnson
A homeless man on Sunday was barred Sunday from the county-funded First Step homeless encampment on Barber Street after he reportedly was “going berserk,“ according to an Athens-Clarke County Police Department incident report.
It is stated in the report that a security guard at the encampment called police at about 8:50 a.m. to report a disorderly person at the encampment, located at 1000 Barber St.
When an officer arrived, the guard described the 47-year-old man as having gone “berserk”by “throwing everything, yelling, and cursing,” according to the police report.
When an officer located the man, he was carrying a sleeping bag and cellphone, and he told the officer,” I don’t need you here. All they have to do is open the gate and let me out,” according to the report.
When the officer told the nan he was barred from First Step, the man reportedly responded by saying, “I don’t care”and that the security guard had been “on his ass all morning“cause I ate my cereal out of my bowl,” according to the report. He also complained that the guard kept following him around.
When police were informed that Charles Hardy, the encampment's director, indicated to police that he wanted to have the man barred from the property for two years, they relay that to the man, who reportedly responded, “I don’t care. I don’t want to come back here. They’re supposed to help people. All they do is cut people down.”
The incident occurred a week after a former resident of the First Step encampment reportedly threatened to stab staff members there.
According to an Athens-Clarke County police report, officers responded the morning of April 4 to the First Step encampment to investigate a report by Charles Hardy, president of Athens Alliance Coalition, a nonprofit that is contracted to run the encampment, that a 42-year-old former resident was threatening to stab staff members.
The suspect had left the scene by the time officers arrived.
However, according to the incident report, officers met with Hardy and security personnel who told them that the suspect had been acting out in previous days and he was no longer a resident.
After being kicked out of the encampment, the suspect reportedly made attempts to climb the fence to gain reentry and was told by staffers that he had to leave.
“Security advised that she heard (the suspect) making threats to beat and stab the others if they go outside the gate,” according to the police report.
Hardy reportedly told police that if they made contact with the suspect, he only wanted to have the man barred from the property.