The Honorable Philip S. Gutierrez, United States District Judge, Issues Order to Stop LAPD’s Ongoing Practice of Taking Property from Homeless People, Finding the City’s Argument Lacked Credibility
For Immediate release
Law Offices of Carol Sobel
310 393-3055 [o]/ 310-922-7001[c]
A federal district judge in Los Angeles issued an injunction today against the City of Los Angeles to halt the seizure and destruction of the personal possessions of homeless residents of Skid Row. This follows a temporary restraining order the court issued against the City on April 22, 2011.
The court’s order rejected the City’s claim that the property was abandoned or created a public hazard. The judge ruled that homeless individuals have an expectation of privacy in their property, even when they leave it unattended on public sidewalks for short periods of time. The court also rejected the claim that signs posted by the City advising that property on the sidewalks would be disposed of was proper justification that anything on the sidewalk was abandoned and could be taken and destroyed.
Jeff Dietrech of the Catholic Worker/Hippie Kitchen located in Skid Row stated, “Homeless people have now had their inalienable rights of person and property validated by the court—LAPD hands off!”
In its ruling the court also noted that significant evidence submitted by the City in opposition to the claims of the homeless individuals was not credible and conflicted with other evidence the City submitted. The opinion recognized the City’s initiative to revitalize the downtown area, but found that the homeless population will suffer greater injury without the court’s intervention on behalf of their rights.
LA CAN Organizer and Skid Row resident Steve Richardson, better known as General Dogon, worked diligently to collect documentation presented in the lawsuit. When informed about Judge Gutierrez’s ruling, he stated, “Thankfully this is one judge that saw through the City of Los Angeles’ lies—this is more than just a lawsuit. It is about dignity, respect, and property rights for all people.”
Click HERE to read Judge Gutierrez’ Preliminary Injunction Ruling (Highlights added by LA CAN).