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Press Release

ACLU files injunction against city’s houseless sweeps

New evidence, new legal action asking court to halt city’s immediate destruction of property

in Houselessness
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Citing new evidence that the City and County of Honolulu is using ‘sweeps’ of homeless individuals to continue bypassing Hawaii laws and violate the state Constitution, the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawai‘i Foundation (ACLU) and the law firm of Alston Hunt Floyd & Ing, filed a new request in federal court for a preliminary injunction.

The new documents show that city officials are continuing an illegal practice of immediately destroying property instead of—as required by the City’s own ordinances—first taking then storing items for recovery by the owner.

The added evidence includes sworn testimony by city officials contradicting earlier city assertions that the government is following the law in taking individuals’ possessions.

“The Constitution requires that, regardless of whether you are rich or poor, everyone is entitled to equal treatment under the law,” said Daniel M. Gluck, Legal Director for the ACLU of Hawaii. “The ACLU is committed to making sure the city follows its own laws and treats everyone fairly, and will continue to fight on behalf of Hawaii’s most vulnerable residents.”

Nick Kacprowski of Alston Hunt Floyd & Ing added, “We have supplied the court with a mountain of evidence—including City officials’ own sworn testimony and many videos and photographs of recent sweeps—proving that, contrary to the city’s earlier claims, and consistent with what we told the court at the earlier hearing, the city routinely and consistently destroys property belonging to homeless individuals, rather than storing that property as required by law. The city refuses to follow the law, [has] misrepresented its activities to avoid a temporary restraining order, and now we are renewing our clients’ request for an injunction to stop ongoing civil rights violations by the city.”

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