CHP Removes People Illegally Living in Abandoned Homes in El Sereno

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Squatters were evicted and some were detained this morning by authorities after being removed from abandoned Caltrans-owned homes in the El Sereno area as dozens of protesters surrounded officers as they took the illegal tenants into custody.

Video from the scene showed dozens of protesters surrounding California Highway Patrol officers near Sheffield Avenue and Poplar Boulevard as officers went into the homes to remove people who had broken in. An unlawful assembly was declared by the CHP at 8:45 p.m. Wednesday.

The homes were previously scheduled to be demolished to make way for an extension of the Long Beach (710) Freeway. That plan was canceled due to backlash from residents.

A video posted on YouTube purported to be from the group Reclaim and Rebuild Our Community includes a message to Gov. Gavin Newsom telling him that families have moved into several of the homes, claiming the families have been living in cars and are now “sheltering in place'' inside the homes.

“We feel that amid the global pandemic it is irresponsible and inhumane for our state to be hoarding over 170 homes,'' Claudia Lara of Reclaim and Rebuild Our Community told NBC4 Wednesday evening.

Caltrans spokesman Marc Rocco told NBC4 in a statement the CHP was requested to “remove trespassers so that properties can be re-secured and boarded up.''

The statement went on to say “Caltrans has been working with local governments to lease several of its available properties for use as temporary emergency shelters.''

Before 11 p.m., officers formed a skirmish line along Sheffield Avenue as protesters stood nearby, some yelling at officers and some approaching the line before being pushed back by authorities.

It was unclear how many people were removed from the homes or detained.

Photo: Getty Images

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