A homeless man poured a bucket of steaming diarrhea on a Los Angeles woman earlier this year, the victim revealed this week in an interview with a local news station.
“I didn’t want it to be in my mouth, but it was running down my eyes,” Heidi Van Tassel told NBC 4 News in an interview aired Monday.
According to an Instagram post shared by Van Tassel, the attack took place in March.
“I was walking to my car and as I unlocked it I heard shuffling towards me and saw a man running at me full speed. He pushed me into my car twice and pulled me out by my shirt & then proceeded to pour what seemed to be a never ending cup of his sh-t & piss all over me and my car,” Van Tassel wrote in the post.
“At first I had no idea what it was, I thought ‘it’s acid!!’ because it was hot & it burned. I was now in the middle of the road on Hollywood Blvd unable to see or move with SH-T all over my body, pouring down my face,” she added.
Van Tassel told NBC 4 News that paramedics said the sheer volume of excrement covering her body made it look “like the man was saving it up for a month.”
“It was all inside my car because it was so much. He just kept pouring it and splattering it all over me,” she said.
The incident was immensely traumatizing to Van Tassel.
“The PTSD that I’m dealing with is beyond anything that I’ve ever felt,” Van Tassel said. “There needs to be some kind of help for the victims of these crimes.”
Still, it appears as though Van Tassel, whose Twitter activity shows an affinity for liberal causes and criticism of President Donald Trump, doesn’t blame the man who attacked her.
“He doesn’t need jail time. He needs mental health care,” Van Tassel told NBC News 4. “I have empathy for him. Because he needs help.”
According to court records, the assailant, Jere Blessings, was booked on battery charges and sent to a residential facility for people with mental health issues.
Blessings was released in August.
Van Tassel’s experience is part of a worrying trend
Crimes committed by homeless people have spiked in recent years in and around Los Angeles, according to NBC 4 News.
Los Angeles Police Department data shows the amount of arrests of homeless individuals has increased dramatically in the past two years.
In 2017, the LAPD made 1,763 arrests of homeless people for assault. That figure climbed to 2,496 in 2019.
Nor is Los Angeles the only city to struggle with a homelessness problem.
While federal statistics show homelessness trending downward nationwide, a number of American cities have struggled with vagrancy ― and the attendant toll of human waste.
Every city is different, and diagnoses of the problem vary by ideology. Liberal wonks tend to blame rising costs of living, slow wage growth and lack of affordable housing. Conservatives point to over-generous welfare programs, cultural decay and liberals’ reluctance to crackdown on people they view as victims.
In September, business owners in one Seattle neighborhood told local media that a single homeless woman staying in a nearby illegal encampment has been terrorizing their block with her feces for months.
“It’s a health hazard,” grocer Mike Sandberg said to KOMO News. “It’s just something I can’t believe is allowed to happen. It seems like there is no law.”
Meanwhile, Portland police acknowledged earlier this year that they’re powerless to stop homeless people from relieving themselves in public, even if it happens right in front of them.
- Heidi Van Tassel.: Screen grab