Denver, CO – A Denver business owner said he is in trouble with the city’s Public Health Department because he has refused to continue cleaning up the human feces that keeps piling up outside his property.
Jawaid Bazyar, who operates an internet service business in the Five Points neighborhood, said that the area has been overridden by criminals, addicts, and the homeless, and that they have turned an area outside his business into a public bathroom, KDVR reported.
"The wall is a bathroom stall. They lean up against it and let it rip," Bazyar said. "In downtown Denver, that's nonstop now – just piles of poop."
And feces are just part of the problem. Bazyar said that he recently recorded a drug deal that was taking place outside his office, and that syringes frequently litter the ground outside.
“There’s food, trash, drug deals,” he told KCNC. “In the alley, we get the defecation, drug needles, prostitution.”
“Every day – two to three times a day – we’re running people off,” the business owner explained to KDVR. “There have been periods where we literally call [the police] 10 times a day.”
At least one of his employees has been attacked by criminals loitering in the area.
"I've been chased with a 2-by-4, a knife, a pipe,” employee Tamara Chapman told KDVR. “A man bashed in my windshield with a rock.”
Bazyar said that the city issued him a citation after he stopped cleaning up the human waste outside his business, KDVR reported.
“It's a bio-hazard. It could be infectious,” he told the news outlet. “I didn't hire these people to clean poop off the ground. I can't, as an employer, just say, 'Go and clean up the feces.’”
Bazyar said he is not equipped to handle the magnitude of the problem on his own, KCNC reported.
“If the city’s not going to enforce laws against trespassing, or camping, or public defecation and just make me bare the cost of these problems that’s just not right,” he said.
Bazyar noted that he isn’t the one causing the chaotic problems plaguing the neighborhood.
"Like I’m the bad guy? I'm not the one doing this, and they won't do anything about the people committing the crimes, but I'm the one who's easy to find and easy to punish,” he told KDVR. "I don't even know what I'm supposed to do. The government's primary job is public safety. I think it's a lot of politicians don't want to be seen as anti-homeless or heartless.”
The Denver Public Health Department said it understands Bazyar’s frustration, but that they are not responsible for removing human feces from private property.
The city suggested that Bazyar hire a company to remove the needles and debris for him, KCNC reported.
They also warned that the business owner could receive additional citations for each day he refuses to remove the feces and other debris dumped on his property.
But Bazyar argued that the city seems to have a double-standard about how involved they get.
“They’ll come by and paint over the graffiti – that’s a city program,” he pointed out to KDVR. “But they won’t do the stuff that’s literally a health hazard.”
Bazyar said he will fight the citation at his court hearing on Dec. 19, KCNC reported.
“I’m going to go to court and do my best to argue that the city’s treatment of this unfair,” he said. “This is a public crime issue and a public health issue and the city is the organization that’s responsible for that.”