A county in Washington State will pay $250,000 in a homeless sweeps lawsuit

(Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

staff photo

City officials in Clark County, Washington have agreed to pay $85,000 to six people whose belongings were cleared out and trashed during sweeps of homeless encampments, plus $165,000 in attorney’s fees, as The Stranger reports.

Earlier this year, the city of Los Angeles agreed to pay $822,000 to settle its own sweeps lawsuit. In Denver, a similar case is set to get underway next week.

What happened in Clark County:

A federal judge found earlier in September that that Clark County work crews had thrown out “tents, stoves, medication, documents and photographs during sweeps from 2012 to 2014,” according to the Associated Press.

“The only evidence in the record is that the County’s employees took all unattended property and then immediately destroyed the property, regardless of whether the property was abandoned,” the judge reportedly wrote.

Some people reportedly said that they left their sites for an hour, only to return and find that the county crews had taken their possessions and would not return them.

Following the judge’s ruling, Clark County leaders agreed to pay out the settlement, The Columbian reported. A new policy would have the government give more warning and do more to preserve people’s belongings

And in Denver:

The plaintiffs in Denver make similar claims – namely, that the city seized goods without due process.

The city contends that it has stored belongings for two months for later retrieval, but Jason Flores-Williams, the attorney bringing the lawsuit, said that he doubts that is true – and that the city hasn’t done enough to provide fair notice and make those goods accessible anyway.

The rulings in the other cases do not directly affect the Denver lawsuit. Read more details of the Denver case in our previous coverage.

 

 

Hi! You’re like us!

Looks like you’re the type of person who reads to the ends of articles! Well, true believer, you might really like our morning newsletter. It’s quick, free and gets you up to speed on the important and delightful things happening right here in Denver.

Thanks for reading another Denverite story

Does Denverite help you feel more connected to what’s up in your area? Do you want to be a part of it?

Member donations are critical to our continued existence and growth.

You’re our superpower

Denverite supporters have made the decision to financially support local journalism that matters to you. Ready to tell your networks why? Sharing our “About” page with your own personal comments could really help us out.

You’re our superpower

Denverite members have made the decision to financially support local journalism that matters to you. Ready to tell your networks why? Sharing our “About” page with your own personal comments could really help us out.