Seven homeless individuals who were evicted from their homes in city parks and saw their property destroyed filed a class action lawsuit in federal district court.
The complaint against Hennepin County, the City of Minneapolis, the heads of local law enforcement and the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board alleges that the city and county violated the constitutional rights of the plaintiffs and others living in the parks by destroying encampments. Giving little or no notice, law enforcement bulldozed people’s shelters, throwing away personal belongings including keepsakes, identification cards, clothing and blankets.
“Clearing the encampments damages thousands of dollars in property - those tents are $100 apiece -and people's important documents, family photos and medication get destroyed,” said plaintiff Patrick Berry, who lost his tent, mattress and sleeping bag. He saw friends arrested and pepper sprayed. “People are already suffering so much. It is really cruel what the city is doing.”
The lawsuit filed by Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid and the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota asks the federal court to halt these unlawful sweeps unless and until safe and adequate shelter is found. The individual plaintiffs are joined in the lawsuit by ZACAH, a nonprofit that supports Minnesotans facing poverty and displacement from their homes.