ARIZONA NEWS

Federal judge orders Phoenix to stop sweeps of downtown homeless encampment

Dec 16, 2022, 11:03 AM | Updated: 2:46 pm
A large homeless encampment is shown in Phoenix, Aug. 5, 2020. On Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2022, the ACL...

A large homeless encampment is shown in Phoenix, Aug. 5, 2020. On Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2022, the ACLU of Arizona filed a complaint against the city of Phoenix to block the planned resumption of cleanup sweeps it says have displaced people and destroyed identification documents, prescription medications and other meager belongings at a huge homeless encampment downtown. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

PHOENIX (AP) — A federal judge has temporarily halted the city of Phoenix from conducting sweeps of a huge homeless encampment downtown.

Judge Murray Snow issued an emergency injunction Thursday in response to a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court by the ACLU of Arizona.

The order prohibits authorities from enforcing sleeping and camping bans on anyone who cannot obtain a bed in a shelter. They also cannot seize property unless it is contraband or somehow a threat.

However, the judge says the injunction does not stop the city from carrying out “enhanced cleanup plans” in “the Zone,” the name given for the area where homeless often camp out.

In its complaint, the ACLU says the sweeps have displaced people and destroyed important belongings such as identification documents and prescription medications.

Previously, the city of Phoenix conducted sweeps three times a week, dispatching city workers accompanied by police officers, often in the predawn hours without warning.

“Today’s ruling affirms the city must do more to protect the constitutional rights of the unsheltered community,” said Benjamin Rundall, an ACLU of Arizona attorney. “Because of this injunction, unsheltered people won’t be at risk of losing essential belongings, receiving unconstitutional citations, and experiencing further trauma at the hands of the city and Phoenix PD. ”

City officials did not immediately respond Friday to a message seeking comment.

The sweeps were paused at the beginning of this year. But officials previously have said they have taken strategies to combat homelessness, including dedicating nearly $50 million during the last fiscal year to shelters and other services. The city added 592 new beds to homeless shelters this year.

The federal complaint is the latest move in an ongoing tug-of-war between advocates and cities in Western states over how best to tackle the problem of homelessness.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(L-R) Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) and Sen. Todd Youg (R-IN) sit together du...
KTAR.com

Arizona politicians react to Joe Biden’s State of the Union speech

Joe Biden wrapped up his State of the Union address on Tuesday night, and politicians from Arizona responded predominantly along party lines.
23 hours ago
U.S. President Joe Biden delivers the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress as ...
KTAR.com

Joe Biden urges Congress to pass comprehensive border reform during State of the Union

President Joe Biden during his State of the Union address urged Republicans and Democrats to work together on border legislature. 
23 hours ago
Francisco Gurrola (Department of Public Safety Photo)...
KTAR.com

Silver Alert issued for 41-year-old man last seen in Phoenix

A silver alert was issued on Tuesday evening for a 41-year-old man last seen in the area of Campbell and 63rd avenues in Phoenix.
23 hours ago
President Biden gives his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress at the U.S....
KTAR.com

Watch: President Joe Biden gives 2nd State of Union address

President Joe Biden gave his second State of the Union address in office to a joint session of Congress at the Capitol on Tuesday night.
23 hours ago
From left, Kendall Schmidt, Carlos Pena Jr., Logan Henderson and James Maslow, members of Big Time ...
Wills Rice

Big Time Rush’s ‘Can’t Get Enough Tour’ comes to Phoenix in August

For those that grew up with the Nickelodeon television show Big Time Rush, you are in for a big treat when their tour comes to town.
23 hours ago
U.S. Department of 
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas addresses the media during a ...
KTAR.com

Homeland Sec. Mayorkas says there is no credible threat against Super Bowl in Arizona

An increased security presence will be deployed at the Super Bowl, with every person, piece of merchandise and equipment screened.
23 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Company looking for oldest air conditioner and wants to reward homeowner with new one

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.
...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet edges out cable for everyday use

In a world where technology drives so much of our daily lives, a lack of high-speed internet can be a major issue.
(Desert Institute for Spine Care photo)...
DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Why DISC is world renowned for back and neck pain treatments

Fifty percent of Americans and 90% of people at least 50 years old have some level of degenerative disc disease.
Federal judge orders Phoenix to stop sweeps of downtown homeless encampment