NYC homeless man assaults New York Post reporter, as agencies ramp up efforts to clear encampments: officials

Just Monday, a homeless man said to have been living in a tree within a Manhattan park for months attacked a New York Post reporter with a stick

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New York City Mayor Eric Adams says his administration plans to "rid the encampments" off Big Apple streets, according to a report, as a City Hall spokesperson tells Fox News Digital they’re in the midst of a two-week push toward cleaning up the five boroughs and getting willing participants into social service programs. 

Adams recently told the New York Times he is urging city agencies "to do an analysis block by block, district by district, identify where the encampments are … then execute a plan to give services to the people who are in the encampments, then to dismantle those encampments."

His goal, he said, is to move those individuals into healthier living condition, and to carry out the plan over the course of two weeks, according to The Times. 

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"We can’t stop an individual from sleeping on the street based on law, and we’re not going to violate that law," he also said during the brief interview with The Times. "But you can’t build a miniature house made out of cardboard on the streets. That’s inhumane."

A spokesperson for Adams’ office told Fox News Digital on Monday that the "two week blitz" – the first phase of the plan – had already begun, with public notices being posted on March 17 and encampment visits beginning the next day. The effort was carried out by a task force made up of members of the New York Police Department, the Department of Sanitation, the Department of Public Works and the Parks Department. 

According to The Associated Press, the city estimated that at least 1,100 people were living on the New York City streets or in local parks. 

Just Monday, a homeless man said to have been living in a tree within a Manhattan park for months attacked a New York Post reporter with a stick while other city employees were trying to clean up his living quarters, according to the Post

Rewell Altunaga, 44, was reportedly living within Riverbank State Park – an area targeted for the mayor’s clean-up efforts – when he struck the reporter in the head with a large stick just before 9:45 a.m., police said. He then allegedly knocked a camera out of a Post photographer’s hands. 

A video captured by Juliet Papa 1010WINS shows police handcuffing the hooded man and placing him in the back of a police car. 

Police said Altunga was charged with assault and criminal mischief.  

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The city has its sights set on at least 150 encampments citywide for its first phase, with the hope of cleaning up public areas and connecting individuals living in encampments with potential options for services or alternate housing, a spokesperson said.

"This effort is about taking care of our people and our public spaces because no New Yorker deserves to live on the street. We are breaking down silos and working together across government to keep New Yorkers safe and our streets clean," Adams said in a statement to Fox News Digital. "These are basic expectations we have for our city, and we are going to deliver."

Any NYPD personnel involved will have their body cameras activated while interacting with any individuals, the spokesperson said. The second phase of the plan will entail reinspecting the areas and canvassing for any new encampments.