Society

Miami Wants to Arrest Homeless People Who Refuse Shelters, Cook in Public

| by Michael Allen
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Miami's city commissioners are asking the courts to change a settlement known as "Pottinger v. City of Miami" in which the city agreed not to arrest homeless Americans for sleeping, eating and congregating in public.

The city, which was sued by the ACLU in the case, also agreed not to confiscate and destroy homeless people's personal belongings.

In the case, the court ruled that Miami had violated homeless people's rights under the Fourth, Eighth and 14th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.

According to Watchdog.org, Miami city commissioners want to outlaw homeless people from using fires to cook meals in public areas, blocking sidewalks, littering, and urinating or defecating in public (which is already against the law for all citizens).

Miami also wants police officers to arrest homeless people who refuse to go to a homeless shelter three times in three months, and to confiscate their personal belongings.

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However, the Miami Herald reports, "Most local shelters are at capacity, meaning police can do little to punish the homeless who urinate in the street or light cooking fires in public parks.”

The city also wants to exclude sexual predators from the settlement, but did not mention any other types of criminals.

However, the ACLU, which beat the city 15 years ago, is ready to fight again for the rights of Americans without homes.

“We are here to explain to people what the Pottinger lawsuit is about and why this settlement is important for protecting the underprivileged,” said Benjamin Waxman of the Miami ACLU.

“I think what bothers them [the city] is their presence, because they are trying to project the image of Miami as a center of international travel and business, and they see the homeless as interfering with their intentions."

Source: Watchdog.org and Miami Herald