Lawsuit: City, County Officials Violated Rights of Homeless
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A lawsuit accuses officials in Minneapolis and Hennepin County of violating the civil rights of people in homeless encampments when they conducted sweeps that displaced them and put their health at risk.
The federal complaint filed Monday by the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota and Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid is asking a judge to declare class-action status and seeks monetary damages and the end to sweeps of homeless encampments.
The suit said one of the seven named plaintiffs, Henrietta Brown, woke up around 4 a.m. on a rainy morning to police officers shaking her tent and shining a bright light in her face. They told her she had 30 minutes to get out.
Brown said she never received an eviction notice and was not prepared to leave. She was able to grab a blanket and her purse but didn’t have time to get the rest of her belongings, including identification and family photos. Brown couldn’t get a spot at a shelter without her ID, the complaint said.
The city attorney’s office released a statement saying the lawsuit is “misguided” and is asking the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota and Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid to refocus efforts on finding solutions to homelessness.