Mayor: Police won't take blankets but sweeps will continue

Posted at 11:36 AM, Dec 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-12 20:14:52-05
DENVER -- Denver Police will no longer confiscate blankets or tents from the city's homeless during sweeps, but the sweeps and enforcement will continue according to Denver's Mayor.
Mayor Hancock clarified details from a letter he sent over the weekend in response to a cell phone video showing officers seizing blankets from people on a downtown sidewalk.
According to the Mayor, after several warnings, the people in the video were being cited for breaking the city's urban camping ban. Police were gathering blankets as evidence.
While that practice will change, the practice of the sweeps themselves will not. 

"Our execution and implementation of the ordinances has not changed. Except for when police come in contact with individuals who don't move along, we will not confiscate their blankets or tents, we will simply take pictures of them. They still have to comply with the lawful order," Hancock said.

During sweeps where people have set up camps, in some cases their belongings will be taken to a warehouse for pickup at a later date. Some belongings may be thrown away. 
But why sweep people off of sidewalks in the cold winter months?
"Our goal is to move you to a safer, healthier, more sanitized condition and that's what we're ultimately trying to do. It's when you don't move and you're encumbering the sidewalk, that's when we have a violation of city ordinance" the Mayor said. 


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