Lawsuit claims St. Pete harasses the homeless

05/22/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Friday | Listen to this entire show:

The National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty filed a lawsuit this week which claims that the city of St. Petersburg is using local ordinances to target and harass the homeless.

In the past few years, the city has passed several different ordinances that affect the homeless, such as where they can sleep and what they can keep with them

St. Petersburg activist G.W. Rolle has been collecting depositions on behalf of the homeless for the Southern Legal Counsel based in Gainesville over the past 15 months. He says thousands of people have been accused of trespassing or leaving their belongings on public property in and around the Williams Park Area of downtown St. Petersburg.

Rolle says the infamous January 2007 incident in which St. Pete Police slashed the tents of the homeless spurred the actions that led to this week’s lawsuit.

The lawsuit says 3,789 homeless people were arrested from 2005 to 2008.

WMNF called the St. Petersburg’s Attorney’s office late this afternoon, but did not hear back before airtime.

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