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Jogger Arrested After Lake Merritt Confrontation Over Homeless Encampment

OAKLAND (CBS SF) -- A 30-year-old man has been arrested after he was confronted by bystanders while tossing a homeless man's belongings into Lake Merritt, an act captured on cellphone video, authorities said.

Henry William Sintay
Henry William Sintay (Alameda County Sheriff's Office)

Oakland police said Henry William Sintay was arrested Monday afternoon on first degree robbery charges and was to appear before a judge on Wednesday.

Sintay was videotaped by at least two people on Friday night, tossing a homeless man's belonging from a waterside encampment into Oakland's Lake Merritt. On both videos posted on Facebook, voices can be heard asking Sintay what he was doing and asking him to stop.

Another video posted using Facebook Live later shows Sintay back at the site and being questioned by passersby about his alleged actions, before Sintay appears to assault the man taking the video and running off with his phone.

Emotions ran high on social media over the incident that took place at about 6:30 p.m. Friday when witnesses say Sintay began scooping up a homeless man's blankets and clothes and tossing them into the water.

Once Sintay realized others were watching, he began to toss the belongings into a trash can. All of it was caught on video.

"The audacity, the lack of compassion for another human being, the greater context of where we are as a society," said JJ Harris who recorded the incident.

Harris and others can be heard on the video asking the man to stop, but he continued.

The jogger can be heard saying to the witnesses -- "I'm just picking up trash. What do you want me to do? It's all over the place, if you want to help, help."

There is growing anger toward the homeless in the neighborhood.

"People are generally fed up on both sides of the equation," Harris said.

Harris posted the video on social media where some people supported and praised the jogger while others were critical of his actions.

When asked about the incident Saturday, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said it was "not appropriate."

"I feel the frustration of both sides, now I will say clearly that was not appropriate," she said. "It's not appropriate to take someone's belongings, it's not appropriate to trash our beautiful Lake Merritt.

The homeless man -- Greg Markson -- was not there when the incident took place. But since the video was posted, people have come by to drop off clothes and blankets to replace those destroyed by the jogger.

"I'm appreciative," he told KPIX 5. "I'm happy."

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