December 13, 2016

Civil rights activists have made moves to take a stand against the illegal harassment of the Bay Area’s homeless community. The East Bay Community Law Center, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, and American Civil Liberties Union along with law firm Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP filed a lawsuit against the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) on Tuesday, December 13th.

The lawsuit comes after a series of encampment raids. Caltrans’ raids are infamous for their raids with little to no warning; many have reported that they were unable to move their belongings before Caltrans showed up and lost all of their belongings as a result. Some even reported Caltrans workers throwing their possessions in a trash compactor as they watched. Groups are now calling on Caltrans to put an immediate end to this practice, citing it as unconstitutional.

Elisa Della-Piana, Legal Director at Lawyers’ Committee, says, “[They] have a right to the Fourth Amendment’s protections against unreasonable seizure of property, and the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections against the deprivation of property without due process of law,”

Civil Rights Groups Sue Caltrans to Stop Illegal Raids Against California’s Homeless
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Organizations mentioned/involved: Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area (LCCRSF), East Bay Community Law Center (EBCLC)