ACLU: Detroit police remove homeless, dump them outside city
The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan has filed a complaint with the U.S. Justice Department and sent a letter to Detroit police demanding they end the “disturbing practice” of removing homeless people from downtown and dropping them off miles away.
“DPD’s practice of essentially kidnapping homeless people and abandoning them miles away from the neighborhoods they know — with no means for a safe return — is inhumane, callous and illegal,” said Sarah Mehta, ACLU of Michigan staff attorney, CBS Detroit reports. “The city’s desire to hide painful reminders of our economic struggles cannot justify discriminating against the poor, banishing them from their city, and endangering their lives. A person who has lost his home has not lost his right to be treated with dignity.”
The homeless people are reportedly being removed from a popular visitor’s area in the downtown district of Greektown. The ACLU says law enforcement are herding them up and deserting them outside of the city.
“They’re being approached and harassed by police, not necessarily for anything they’re doing, but just because of the way that they look,” Ms. Mehta told WWJ Newsradio 950 “Often they’re being dropped off late at night in neighborhoods that they don’t know. Police often take any money they have out of their pockets and force them to walk back to Detroit, with no guarantee of any safety.”
Andrew Sheehan told CBS Detroit it has happened to him at least four times since December 2011. Another man told the ACLU he was picked up several times by police and was left on the city’s east side. Another said he was dumped in Dearborn, west of Detroit, the ACLU reports.
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