How many cops does it take to give a one-legged homeless man the boot? Apparently about 20!
A contingent of NYPD officers spent two hours Wednesday morning kicking out Thomas Harris, 61, from the Brooklyn plaza where he’d been camped out for weeks.
Cops tore down the hovel Harris built from shopping carts and plastic sheeting outside the subway station at Parkside and Ocean avenues, and hauled away about half of his possessions, including some of the hand drums he peddles on the street.
The ordeal also involved a pair of FDNY ambulances staffed with EMTs, and several outreach workers from the Department of Homeless Services and Breaking Ground, a non-profit city contractor.
Harris’ extended expulsion came after the DHS on Friday served him with a formal “eviction” notice, copies of which were taped up around his rent-free home and warned of Wednesday’s deadline.
Harris, who lost part of his left leg when he was hit by a subway train in 2012, was slapped with a civil summons for storing property on the sidewalk, which is punishable by a maximum $100 fine.
But he was allowed to keep more than a dozen carts full of stuff, and as of Wednesday evening, he was heading north along Ocean Avenue in a heavily laden, motorized wheelchair.
Two fellow homeless men were helping him haul the rest of his belongings, but their progress was torturously slow.
“I am going to end up anywhere I want to go,” Harris vowed.
“The plan is to try to make a living as usual. The plan of [the city] is to bring me down wherever I go.”
Around 6 p.m., he appeared to be preparing to spend the night on the sidewalk outside Prospect Park, just about four blocks from his former spot.
During his ouster from the plaza, Harris broke into tears several times and repeatedly maintained that he wasn’t homeless.
“I am a soldier in the war on poverty,” he claimed at one point.
He also yelled out that he didn’t need help and insisted, “I’m not blocking any pedestrians. That’s the main thing. I want you to stop with the homeless s–t.”
Harris has said that cops evicted him from another spot near the plaza and put him into the “crazy house” last year.
Several neighborhood residents said they were glad to see Harris rousted — but didn’t think it would last.
“I can’t believe they can’t do anything more for him than just move him along,” one man said.
“He’s probably going to head right back to where he’s been.”
A spokeswoman for Mayor de Blasio, Jaclyn Rosenberg, said: “We offered him services and tried to convince him to come inside. Our teams across city agencies remain committed to building on those efforts every day.”
Additional reporting by Rich Calder
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