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Attorney group says Denver's homeless sweeps violates settlement

Homeless camp in Denver
Posted at 3:59 PM, Sep 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-22 00:19:38-04

DENVER — A Denver-based attorney group is accusing the city of violating a recent settlement regarding the city’s homeless sweeps.

On Wednesday, lawyers from Kilmore, Lane, and Newman, submitted a letter to the City of Denver, accusing the city of failing to give those living in homeless encampments seven days’ notice before clearing the camps.

“The letter lists 12 sweeps that have taken place in the last 6 months without the required 7 day notice. It also lists 17 instances where individuals’ property was trashed in sweeps instead of the required storage,” a news release from Kilmore, Lane, and Newman said.

The attorneys also accuse the city of harassing those who live in the encampments.

“Once a posted sweep is completed, the crew involved in that sweep will roam the city seeking out other encampments (that have not been posted for a sweep) to harass the encampment,” the letter said.

The attorneys cite violations of the Lyall settlement agreement, which stems from a 2016 federal court case that was finalized in 2019.

However, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in May that the city didn’t have to give notice, but the city said it will continue to do so.

In a statement, the Mayor's Office denies the claims made by the Denver attorneys and said city employees are expected “to treat everyone with respect.”

“We have always respected and will continue to abide by the terms of the Lyall settlement and how 7-day posted large-encumbrance cleanups are conducted, including notifications and storage of belongings,” Mayor Hancock's press secretary Jennie Castor said in a statement.

“Outside of the Lyall settlement, there are other city ordinances we continue to enforce, such as unlawful camping and trespassing. Other public safety issues and hazards are also routinely addressed, such as when fire hazards or other public safety, public health or environmental risks are present,” the statement continues.