Hearing Set Next Week for Class Action Suit Against Denver for Homeless Sweeps

The first hearing in a class action lawsuit filed against the City of Denver that challenges the city's treatment of the homeless during routine sweeps is set for 9 a.m. Wednesday, October 12, at the Alfred A. Arraj Courthouse at 901 19th Street. 

Today, the judge presiding over the case also ordered that homeless individuals are to be allowed into the courtroom, even if they do not have government-issued identification on them.

“[This] is exactly what Thomas Jefferson had in mind,” says the plaintiffs' attorney, Jason Flores-Williams, about the order.

Normally, Flores-Williams says, not having identification could bar someone from entering court. 

"But thousands of homeless people in Denver who are a part of this class action have been disseized of their identifications...so this hearing – this action – is perhaps the only time in many of their lives that their rights and dignity have been seriously addressed," he adds. "It is an important moment, even a sacred one for many of them. In an age when exclusion is the rule – especially with regard to access to powerful institutions –  this court deserves real credit for making an effort to be inclusive. Next Wednesday, the twelfth, will be a hearing of the people."

Flores-Williams expects many of the city's homeless to attend the hearing. There will also be a press conference at 8:15 a.m. on the public sidewalk at 20th and Champa streets.

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Chris Walker is a freelancer and former staff writer at Westword. Before moving to the Mile High City he spent two years bicycling across Eurasia, during which he wrote feature stories for VICE, NPR, Forbes, and The Atlantic. Read more of Chris's feature work and view his portfolio here.
Contact: Chris Walker