Denver Fines Local Business Owner for Refusing to Remove Homeless People’s Feces

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 18: Homeless people sleep on a sidewalk on October 18, 2018 in
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Jawaid Bazyar is fighting a decision by the City of Denver to fine his business for refusing to clean poop from an adjacent alley.

The local internet service provider CEO is taking the city to court after being fined for not cleaning up the leavings of the local homeless population from his property. “If the city’s not going to enforce laws against trespassing, or camping, or public defecation and just make me bear the cost of these problems, that’s just not right,” Bazyar told CBS Denver.

“There’s food, trash, drug deals,” Bazyar said. “In the alley, we get the defecation, drug needles.” Bazyar is concerned about the health and safety of both him and his employees. “It’s a bio-hazard. It could be infectious. I didn’t hire these people to clean poop off the ground. I can’t, as an employer, just say, ‘Go and clean up the feces,’” he explained.

While the Denver Public Health Department claims to “empathize” with Bazyar’s plight, it refuses to clean the alley because it is on his private property. If only private property meant as much to the police as it does to the health department: Bazyar said he has to call police — sometimes several times a day — to remove the homeless from his property.

Even that might be tolerable, if the police responded to the calls. Bazyar claims they “rarely” do, making it difficult to prevent the problem, and making the area dangerous to his employees. One of them, Tamara Chapman, said she has been “chased with a 2-by-4, a knife, a pipe.” A man even allegedly “bashed in [Chapman’s] windshield with a rock.”

Bazyar will appear in court on December 18. In the meantime, he may be fined for every day he does not comply. At this point, he feels cornered. “I don’t even know what I’m supposed to do,” Bazyar said. “The government’s primary job is public safety. I think a lot of politicians don’t want to be seen as anti-homeless or heartless.”

“I’m going to go to court and do my best to argue that the City’s treatment of this unfair. This is a public crime issue, and a public health issue, and the city is the organization that’s responsible for that,” he said.


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