‘Operation Clean Sweep’ causes concern in Boston

BOSTON (WHDH) - “Operation Clean Sweep” aimed at clearing out an area of Boston known as “Methadone Mile” following a dramatic brawl involving a corrections officer is drawing criticism from families who live in the area.

Some of those families are left wondering what took law enforcement so long and others are left questioning their tactics.

Dinah Applewhite is a doctor who specializes in addiction medicine and was able to take a photo that appears to show clean up crews trashing wheelchairs

“I watched a trash compactor slowly kind of crunch the wheelchairs,” Applewhite said. “I mean, it was so incredibly shocking.”

Credit: Dinah Applewhite

Applewhite recalled the scene saying, “there was somebody there just in tears, crying, saying, ‘That is all that I have what are you doing? Those are wheelchairs.”

At a community meeting in the South End, Wednesday afternoon city representative Buddy Christopher claimed those chairs were left along the street and covered in feces.

“It is loaded with urine, feces, needles and blood that was intentionally thrown away. It was a hazardous issue,” the special advisor to Mayor Martin J. Walsh said. “We have been working with BMC to come around and pick up any vacant wheelchairs.”

Christopher said they have never and will never kick anyone out of a wheelchair regardless of how it is used.

“Operation Clean Sweep” began after someone near the jail struck a corrections officer through the window of his car, inciting a fight.

Some families say they are glad there is a spotlight on the area they say is known for homelessness and drug addiction. However, they are upset it is taking so long to come up with solutions to these complicated problems.

“There has been people shooting up in front of the children. There have been people having inappropriate actions right in front of the students,” one woman said. “So that is a form of abuse as well.”

In the meantime, city leaders are asking the public to call 311 if they see a needle on the ground and 911 if they believe someone’s life is in danger.

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