Hancock administration will resume enforcement of the camping ban Friday evening

The city attorney’s office believes the ban is constitutional, though a judge ruled it is not.

A tent encampment in Denver's Civic Center Park in front of the Colorado Supreme Court building on Friday Jan. 10, 2020.

A tent encampment in Denver's Civic Center Park in front of the Colorado Supreme Court building on Friday Jan. 10, 2020.

(Hart Van Denburg/CPR News)
Donna Bryson. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Denver police will resume enforcement Friday evening of a measure banning people from sheltering themselves in public even though a judge has deemed the “urban camping ban” unconstitutional.

The Denver City Attorney’s Office had said Monday that it had determined police can resume enforcement, suspended since a judge issued his ruling on Dec. 27, pending an appeal. It was not clear Monday when enforcement would begin. Ryan Luby, spokesman for the City Attorney’s Office, said the city wanted to first determine that all its actions were in compliance with the constitution.

“We believe we are,” he said Friday, adding enforcement would resume in the evening.

Denver County Judge Johnny Barajas ruled that because of evidence that Denver’s shelters are inadequate, the ban violates constitutional protections against cruel and unusual punishment. The city immediately announced its intent to appeal.

The ban, adopted by the Denver City Council in 2012 and signed into law by Mayor Michael Hancock, outlaws on public property such activities as eating, sleeping or storing belongings while sheltering with tents, tarps or blankets.

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