ACLU of Texas Puts Dallas Police Chief on Notice: Officers Must Respect Civil Rights of Homeless

Affiliate: ACLU of Texas
April 18, 2016 12:00 pm

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DALLAS – Dallas Police officers must respect the civil rights of homeless residents, warned the ACLU of Texas in a letter issued today to Dallas Police Chief David Brown.

City of Dallas Council Members recently instituted a final plan to close Tent City, a homeless encampment. The city has posted “No Trespassing” signs within the Tent City area and advised some residents of the impending closure.

“While Dallas’s policymakers are understandably concerned about the sanitation and public safety conditions in Tent City, any plan for improving those conditions must respect the dignity, property and civil rights of the homeless,” said Trisha Trigilio, staff attorney for the ACLU of Texas. “Homelessness is a complex problem and the easiest solutions are fraught with potential for abuse. While Dallas is a city that already criminalizes sleeping in public and asking for food and water — in other words, criminalizes poverty — we are hopeful the Tent City closure will proceed fairly and respectfully.”

The ACLU of Texas is partnering with caseworkers on the ground to distribute know your rights pamphlets in advance of the first phase of the closure. The pamphlets make clear that homeless residents retain the right to be free from unreasonable searches, basic property rights and the right to disengage from police encounters.

ACLU of Texas Letter to Dallas Police Chief David Brown:

Know Your Rights, Dallas Homeless Camp Removals:

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