Advocate claims police are moving in on homeless to remove them before Comic-Con begins

SAN DIEGO - As the start of Comic-Con approaches, a well-known advocate for the homeless contacted 10News, accusing police of moving in on the homeless to remove them before the convention begins.

James Loften, who is homeless, pointed out to 10News reporter Rielle Creighton the spot near 15th Street and Island Avenue where he was arrested days ago. Loften was pointing because he says he is not allowed to be on that street anymore.

"Officers came and woke me up at about six in the morning and told me I was under arrest for illegal lodging and encroachment," he said. "I'm like, 'But all I did was go to sleep.'"

Loften showed 10News the ticket along with the stay-away order for the street he received from San Diego police, right before he says he was carted off to jail.

He was not the only homeless person complaining they have been to lockup recently.

"People on these streets are unsightly to the public, to the general public and certainly to visitors coming in from out of town," said David Ross.

Ross, who is better known as "Waterman," is a well-known outspoken advocate for the homeless. He is often seen downtown handing out water bottles and blankets to transients.

Ross says San Diego police are rounding up people to make way for the biggest city event in the city, Comic-Con.

10News called San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer's office to see if this was true. A spokesman told 10News he spoke to San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman and called the claims untrue, saying "Comic Con is nearly a week away" and why would they "crack down this early?"

The spokesman added the only thing police are doing now is homeless outreach and getting beds and meals to those in the worst condition.

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