Police in one of the nation’s troubled cities may be combating homelessness by kicking people out of the city and stranding them miles away.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) wrote a letter to the Detroit police and filed a complaint with the Department of Justice last week accusing Detroit officers of picking up, driving, and then “dumping” people they perceive to be homeless outside the city limits.
Michael Steinberg, the legal director of the Michigan ACLU spoke on Sunday’s Melissa Harris-Perry Sunday about the ACLU’s year-long investigation into the practice, which has been described by officers as taking homeless people “for a ride.”
“Essentially what the police were doing were kidnapping” people from Greektown, one of Detroit’s tourist-friendly neighborhoods, Steinberg said. The Detroit police department had no comment on the complaint when asked by a local TV station.
A number of laws have been passed that increasingly criminalize homelessness, which leave men, women and children with fewer options for help. Detroit is far from the only city to do this; Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani was harshly criticized for incarcerating homeless individuals for infractions such as loitering.
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