By Evan Harmon
Police officers from the Kansas City Police Department showed up at the Occupy KC camp in Penn Valley Park to inform the Occupiers that all structures, including tents, will no longer be tolerated. The cordial cops showed up at the park early Tuesday evening and politely warned members of Occupy KC that if they do not immediately remove all structures from the park they could be confiscated and trashed, including their personal belongings.
Facebook, Twitter, and email lists lit up soon after the police officers’ warning, eliciting support, confusion, and clarifying reports of the incident. “It seems to some of us that tonight is the night. 5 local officers showed, while 3 other cars and an suv stood on, the 5 officers left camp without giving detail as to when,” Occupier Shaun Lee reported on Facebook.
Officer Greg Williams, who led a ten minute discussion with the park’s Occupiers, clarified that structures such as tents are against city code, but sleeping bags are acceptable. “You have a right to be here. The tents do not. … Enjoy the park. It’s open 24/7,” Williams said.
Occupy KC has received similar warnings in the past, and confusion remains when, if, and how this latest warning will be enforced. When asked for a specific timetable, Williams said, “It can be enforced at any time. It could be five minutes.”
As of now, the structures that Occupy KC has put up at Penn Valley Park are considered abandoned property, according to Williams.
When asked what would happen if someone were to refuse to take down their structure, Officer Williams said they would be subject to arrest.
Occupy KC is currently deliberating how to respond to this turn of events.