DelDOT Admits Wrongdoing in Removing Homeless From Under Bridge - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

DelDOT Admits Wrongdoing in Removing Homeless From Under Bridge

Posted: Updated:
DelDOT issued a statement about their handling of the clean-up under a Rte. 13 bridge in Dover. DelDOT issued a statement about their handling of the clean-up under a Rte. 13 bridge in Dover.
The area under the Douglas L. Harris Bridge on Rte. 13 in Dover. Advocates for the homeless say there were 20 people living there. (Photo: WBOC) The area under the Douglas L. Harris Bridge on Rte. 13 in Dover. Advocates for the homeless say there were 20 people living there. (Photo: WBOC)

DOVER, Del.- On May 4, without warning, all of their belongings were taken after they had gone to work. The belongings ranged from birth certificates to medication, shoes and tents.

The Delaware Department of Transportation led the clean-up of the area under the Douglas L. Harris Bridge on Route 13 that spans the St. Jones River in Dover. It was populated by about 20 homeless people, according to Cathi Kopera who works with them.

WBOC reported the incident when Kopera shared it with the public.

DelDOT secretary Jennifer Cohan said, "In reviewing the situation, it is evident to me that DelDOT did not conduct the necessary removal in a sensitive way."

The statement said the sweep happened at 8:30 a.m. on May 4. It went on to say, "The work, which was conducted with the participation of local law enforcement and state environmental officials, was necessary because maintenance had to be performed on the structure."

DelDOT says it has changed its policy regarding the clean-ups like this in the future. Cohan said the department will request assistance from the Department of Health and Human Services' Crisis Intervention Unit and PAT Outreach Group before undertaking any future work of this type.

Cathi Kopera is known to most homeless people in Dover as their advocate. She says she is glad to see DelDOT is admitting wrongdoing, but what happened still does not make sense.

"And all of a sudden they're doing some kind of structure repair," she said. "Well, my thing has been, if the bridge is too dangerous to be under, why are we driving over it?"

The ACLU of Delaware has gotten involved and is representing the men who were forced out from under the bridge. The group says there are legal issues beyond just reaching out for help in the future. According to Ryan Tack-Hooper, who is representing the men, he wants the state to right this wrong, and he is not ruling out a lawsuit.

Kopera says this entire situation could have been avoided if DelDOT had just provided notice to the people living there that they needed to leave. She says the conversation now needs to be about ways to give these people homes.

"I'm thinking if there was an area that they could go and set up their tents," she said. "But everybody's like 'Not in my backyard.' Well, who's backyard?"

She's looking forward to bringing homes to the homeless through a tiny home community to be build on the outskirts of Dover.

It's in the planning phases, but they just got started Monday on building a model, 200-square-foot home.

  • Delmarvawide NewsDelmarvawide NewsMore>>

  • Three Victims Sent to Hospital After Shooting at Royals Farms in Salisbury

    Three Victims Sent to Hospital After Shooting at Royals Farms in Salisbury

    10/22/2017 15:05:00 -04:002017-10-22 19:05:00 GMT
    Sunday, October 22 2017 3:05 PM EDT2017-10-22 19:05:35 GMT
    (Image: MGN)(Image: MGN)
    At 2:34 am Sunday morning deputies were called to the Royal Farms Store, at 7900 Royalty Way, in Salisbury in response to a shooting.When deputies arrived, they learned that a physical altercation took place that led to one person producing a hMore
    At 2:34 am Sunday morning deputies were called to the Royal Farms Store, at 7900 Royalty Way, in Salisbury in response to a shooting.When deputies arrived, they learned that a physical altercation took place that led to one person producing a hMore
  • Shooting in Salisbury Leaves Man in Critical Condition

    Shooting in Salisbury Leaves Man in Critical Condition

    10/22/2017 07:46:00 -04:002017-10-22 11:46:00 GMT
    Sunday, October 22 2017 2:43 PM EDT2017-10-22 18:43:34 GMT
    Salisbury Police are investigating a shooting that took place early Saturday morning that sent one man to the hospital in critical condition.More
    Salisbury Police are investigating a shooting that took place early Saturday morning that sent one man to the hospital in critical condition.More
  • Fatal Crash on Coastal Highway in Dewey Beach

    Fatal Crash on Coastal Highway in Dewey Beach

    10/21/2017 21:09:00 -04:002017-10-22 01:09:00 GMT
    Sunday, October 22 2017 7:38 AM EDT2017-10-22 11:38:52 GMT
    Dewey Beach, DE- The Delaware State Police Collision Reconstruction Unit is working with the Dewey Beach Police Department with an investigation of a fatal motor vehicle crash on Coastal Highway in the area of Salisbury and New Orleans St.Traffic inMore
    Delaware State Police say the investigation is still ongoing following a fatal accident Saturday afternoon in Dewey Beach that killed two men from Washington, D.C.More
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Fatal Crash on Coastal Highway in Dewey Beach

    Fatal Crash on Coastal Highway in Dewey Beach

    10/21/2017 21:09:00 -04:002017-10-22 01:09:00 GMT
    Sunday, October 22 2017 7:38 AM EDT2017-10-22 11:38:52 GMT
    Dewey Beach, DE- The Delaware State Police Collision Reconstruction Unit is working with the Dewey Beach Police Department with an investigation of a fatal motor vehicle crash on Coastal Highway in the area of Salisbury and New Orleans St.Traffic inMore
    Delaware State Police say the investigation is still ongoing following a fatal accident Saturday afternoon in Dewey Beach that killed two men from Washington, D.C.More
  • Shooting in Salisbury Leaves Man in Critical Condition

    Shooting in Salisbury Leaves Man in Critical Condition

    10/22/2017 07:46:00 -04:002017-10-22 11:46:00 GMT
    Sunday, October 22 2017 2:43 PM EDT2017-10-22 18:43:34 GMT
    Salisbury Police are investigating a shooting that took place early Saturday morning that sent one man to the hospital in critical condition.More
    Salisbury Police are investigating a shooting that took place early Saturday morning that sent one man to the hospital in critical condition.More
  • Traumatic Car Crash Reported in Rehoboth Beach

    Traumatic Car Crash Reported in Rehoboth Beach

    10/21/2017 18:22:00 -04:002017-10-21 22:22:00 GMT
    Saturday, October 21 2017 6:23 PM EDT2017-10-21 22:23:02 GMT
    A traumatic and possibly deadly car crash was reported at around 6 p.m in Sussex CountyMore
    A traumatic and possibly deadly car crash was reported at around 6 p.m in Sussex CountyMore
  • Most Popular VideosMost Popular VideosMore>>

  • Fatal Crash on Coastal Highway in Dewey Beach

    Fatal Crash on Coastal Highway in Dewey Beach

    The Delaware State Police Collision Reconstruction Unit is working with the Dewey Beach Police Department with an investigation of a fatal motor vehicle crash on Coastal Highway in the area of Salisbury and New Orleans St. Saturday night.

    More

    The Delaware State Police Collision Reconstruction Unit is working with the Dewey Beach Police Department with an investigation of a fatal motor vehicle crash on Coastal Highway in the area of Salisbury and New Orleans St. Saturday night.

    More
  • Police Activity at Royal Farms

    Police Activity at Royal Farms

    An unspecified incident took place at the Royal Farms off Route 50, near Hebron. Police were in the parking lot, deputies were inside investigating, and it appeared that the glass from one of the front doors had been shattered. It is unclear exactly what took place, although there are unconfirmed reports of a possible shooting around 2:45 this morning. We will be sure to update you with more information as it becomes available.

    More

    An unspecified incident took place at the Royal Farms off Route 50, near Hebron. Police were in the parking lot, deputies were inside investigating, and it appeared that the glass from one of the front doors had been shattered. It is unclear exactly what took place, although there are unconfirmed reports of a possible shooting around 2:45 this morning. We will be sure to update you with more information as it becomes available.

    More
  • Police Arrest A Baltimore Man for Unsolved Murder of UMES Student

    Police Arrest A Baltimore Man for Unsolved Murder of UMES Student

    Maryland State Police arrested 25-year-old Davonta M. Braxton, of Baltimore, Md.

    Officers say Braxton is charged in connection to the murder of 21-year-old Edmond St. Clair, who was a student at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES). Braxton has been a student at the university, but is not currently enrolled, according to school records.

    More

    Maryland State Police arrested 25-year-old Davonta M. Braxton, of Baltimore, Md.

    Officers say Braxton is charged in connection to the murder of 21-year-old Edmond St. Clair, who was a student at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES). Braxton has been a student at the university, but is not currently enrolled, according to school records.

    More
Powered by Frankly

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2017 WBOC. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices