Public hearing set for repeal of Minneapolis’s Lurking Ordinance

Affiliate: ACLU of Minnesota
May 20, 2008 12:00 am

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MINNEAPOLIS – A controversial city ordinance may soon be repealed with the help of a number of organizations who claim that the law is used in a manner that is discriminatory towards racial minorities and the homeless.

The Minneapolis Lurking Ordinance states “No person, in any public or private place, shall lurk, lie in wait or be concealed with intent to commit any crime or unlawful act.” Council member Cam Gordon introduced a motion to repeal the ordinance. He has been backed by the Coalition to Repeal the Lurking Ordinance, comprised of dozens of local, state, and national groups who hope that a repeal of the ordinance will be a step in the right direction towards greater civil rights in the city. The date for the public hearing has been set for May 21 at 1:00 p.m. during Minneapolis City Council’s Public Safety and Regulatory Service Committee meeting.

In an independent study of arrest data spanning from 2003 to 2007, the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota, a member of the Coalition, has found that an African American is eight times more likely to be arrested for lurking than a Caucasian, and a homeless person is twenty times more likely than a non-homeless person to be arrested under the ordinance.

There are currently nearly thirty organizations that belong to the Coalition to Repeal the Lurking Ordinance including: American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota, Right to Housing Committee, Jewish Community Action, Legal Rights Center, Minneapolis Urban League, National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, and St. Stephen’s Human Services.

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