Judge Clark County liable for clearing out homeless camps

first_imgTACOMA — A federal judge in Tacoma has found Clark County liable for seizing the residents’ belongings when it cleared out homeless encampments.In a ruling Friday, Judge Robert Bryan said the county’s inmate work crews violated the constitutional rights of at least a half-dozen homeless residents by throwing out their tents, stoves, medication, documents and photographs during sweeps from 2012 to 2014. A trial is set for Oct. 3 to determine how much the county must pay in damages, but settlement talks are also planned.“The only evidence in the record is that the county’s employees took all unattended property and then immediately destroyed the property, regardless of whether the property was abandoned,” the judge wrote.He declined to immediately rule on the merits of claims by two other campers, saying it wasn’t clear who took their property.One hour’s noticeIn March 2012, the Clark County Department of Corrections adopted a policy that work crews should clean up camps immediately if they’d been abandoned. If they hadn’t been abandoned, it said, the workers were to give one hour’s notice that the residents had to vacate the area and take their belongings with them.last_img read more