'Jogger Joe' charged as community struggles with increasing homeless population

The video of the jogger throwing a homeless man's belongings into Oakland's Lake Merritt has gone viral on social media.

The jogger, identified as Henry Sintay, is now in jail. He's accused of taking a cell phone during a second confrontation at the lake.

KTVU spoke with the owner of the phone and others who have strong feelings about what took place. 

Their emotions include anger, frustration, sadness and even understanding about what happened and  the darker side of human nature

On a warm Wednesday evening in June, people basked in the beauty of Lake Merritt. But some neighbors say there is an ugliness that has reared its head here, perhaps a symptom of the growing disparity between the have's and have-not's. 

"I've seen an increase in pettiness, many newcomers to the area with a pretty entitled attitude," said Michael Hoffman who lives near the lake.

It's not known what caused Sintay, the jogger, to toss a homeless man's belongings, some of them spilling into the lake last Friday. The incident was captured on video and lead to the nickname, "Jogger Joe" on social media. 

The next night, a neighbor said he was bicycling home when he saw Sintay in the lake and started recording video of him with his cell phone. 

"Initially he tried to push me into the lake," said Matt Nelson who says Sintay attacked him.  He says he is now recovering from a slight concussion, cuts and bruises.  

Nelson says he was unaware of the jogger's behavior towards the homeless man at the time,  but now considers it an example of the growing mistreatment of homeless people. 

"The mentality is that people who are unhoused...their possessions are not belongings. They're not their possessions. They're seen as garbage," said Nelson.  

Other neighbors showed a pile of blankets and other items at the pergola at the lake that belong to the homeless man targeted by the jogger. 

They say he's been a fixture here for years. Nelson says the jogger's lack of civility is disturbing. 

"He is an example of behavior that happens more often than we see.  For sure,  more often than what's caught on video," said Nelson.  

"I see both sides because as a business owner, They've come into my shop and caused disturbances," said a merchant who says she owns two businesses near the lake. . 

The shop owner asked KTVU not to identify her. 

She says the jogger was wrong in the way he treated the homeless man, but she's also witnessed a growing frustration with the increasing number of homeless, the garbage. and the disruptions some cause.

"They've actually intimidated my customers. They've shoplifted items from my store," said the shop owner.  

Still, she and others agree that throwing someone's belongings in the lake is unacceptable.  With  social media at the ready, it won't go unnoticed.

"I think it would be wise for people to think twice before they carry themselves that way.  People are noticing.  As technology gets better, they're more likely to pull out a camera and expose you," said Hoffman. 

Jogger Henry Sintay made his first court appearance Wednesday afternoon.  He is charged with second degree robbery and is being held on $55,000 bail.

Everyone KTVU spoke with say the key is respect for those around you and that  some good has come out of this incident.

Neighbors say people have rallied around the homeless man and provided him with items such as blankets and other donations to a gofundme account set up for him.