Sacramento Police Illegally Seize Homeless People’s Property; Taxpayers Forced to Pay $796,050 for Their Actions

The following, submitted by Joe, was originally written by Cynthia Hubert at The Sacremento Bee.

Sacramento, CA – Homeless men and women had lots of ideas Tuesday for how they might spend the windfalls they are receiving this week for property that Sacramento police officers have seized and destroyed during raids on illegal campsites since 2005.

Residents of shelters, streets and cheap motels began collecting checks ranging from $400 to $750 Monday at the Loaves & Fishes homeless services complex on North C Street and other locations around town, while those with permanent addresses are getting their money in the mail.

The payments resolve an unusual class-action lawsuit charging that Sacramento police stomped on the constitutional rights of homeless people by grabbing their belongings and throwing them away without giving the owners a chance to get them back.

The resolution will cost the city $796,050 in payments to 1,143 people who lost personal property including tents, lanterns, prescription medications and family photographs, said civil rights attorney Mark Merin, who represented the winning plaintiffs. The city also will be responsible for “substantial” legal fees, he said.

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