The city of Phoenix will go to court to prove it met a deadline to clear a large homeless encampment, an action that has been met with opposition from civil rights advocates.
PHOENIX — The city of Phoenix will go to court on Monday to prove it met a deadline to clear a large homeless encampment, an action that has been met with opposition from civil rights advocates.
As part of the civil action, city officials will have a three-day trial to prove that they complied with the judge’s order and cleared the area known as the “Zone.”
Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Scott Blaney sided with business owners and residents in June and declared the tent city south of Phoenix a public nuisance.
He also discovered that while the city was following a law against criminalizing public camping, it was arbitrarily coercing others despite health and safety risks. The plaintiffs describe having to witness drug activity, lewd behavior and other criminal activity on their doorstep or a few feet from their property.
Like several other large cities, Phoenix had to balance employer and landlord concerns with respecting the rights of the homeless.
The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in 2019 that homeless people cannot be found guilty of sleeping outside without an alternative.
This civil lawsuit is one of two that Phoenix faces.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona has argued in a federal lawsuit that the city is violating the constitutional rights of homeless residents by slowly clearing the area.
However, U.S. District Court Judge G. Murray Snow denied the ACLU’s request in May to declare Phoenix disregarding a ruling he issued in December. Snow said he would not ban the city. Street clean up at campsite pending another hearing.
In a ruling in December, Snow ordered the city not to enforce the camping and sleeping bans on people who were unable to obtain shelter, nor confiscate their property.