The city of Denver cleared the belongings of dozens of people from the sidewalks around Park Avenue West and Broadway on Wednesday, Nov. 15. Our photographer, Kevin Beaty, was on the scene.
The city contends that these sweeps are necessary to keep the sidewalks accessible and sanitary. Social-service workers canvass the area ahead of time and during the sweeps in an effort to help people find services that may help them, according to the city. The city has said belongings will be stored for 30 days at 2100 31st St., available for pickup from 12 to 2 p.m. on weekdays.
Attorney Jason Flores-Williams has organized a class-action lawsuit to stop the sweeps, arguing that they violate the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable search and seizure without a warrant, the Eighth Amendment, which prohibits cruel and unusual punishment, and the Fourteenth Amendment, which guarantees equal protection under the law and due process.
People living on the sidewalk report a wide variety of reasons to be there as opposed to shelters. For some, it’s simply easier than shuttling between shelters and other services. Others dislike the rules and constrained environment of shelters, which some say are too densely packed with people.
The city already swept this area earlier this year. When it happens, groups of people may move to other neighborhoods around downtown, to Cherry Creek or to the South Platte River.