Homeless Say L.A. Sneers at Court Orders

LOS ANGELES (CN) – In defiance of repeated court orders, the Los Angeles Downtown Industrial District Business Improvement District and the city continue to seize and destroy homeless people’s property, the Los Angeles Catholic Worker claims in court.
     Los Angeles Catholic Worker in an unincorporated lay Catholic group that provides meals, hospice care, a dental clinic and other services to homeless people on Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles.
     It claims that the city has been restrained three times in the page 30 years from seizing homeless people’s property on Skid Row.
     The latest, nearly identical lawsuit , with different plaintiffs and some different defendants, was filed in April 2013. The Business Improvement District was not a defendant in that case.
     The Business Improvement District is a special assessment district of the City of Los Angeles. A third defendant, the Central City East Association, acts as its agent.
     “Despite clear language from the court that such behavior is unconstitutional,” the complaint states, the defendants continue their “long-running campaign to seize homeless people’s unattended property. BID officers take property they have no reason to believe is abandoned or creating a health and safety risk. They do so with no notice of any kind to individuals that their property will be taken. By design, the seizures serve no purpose other than to make life even harder for homeless residents in the BID, and individuals who live on the street cannot reasonably predict when their property will be taken or prevent it from happening. These actions are in clear violation of individuals’ rights under the United States Constitution.
     “In the face of these violations, yet another group of plaintiffs is forced to come before a court to seek protection against these violations and the conditions created by defendants because of the seizure of their possessions.”
     Plaintiffs include Cangress aka the Los Angeles Community Action Network, and four homeless people.
     They seek a restraining order, injunction and damages for violations of the 4th, 5th and 14th Amendments, civil rights violations: “interference by threat, intimidation or coercion,” conversion, and trespass to personal property.
     They are represented by Fernando Gaytan with the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, and Paul Hoffman with Schonbrun, DeSimon, Seplow, Harris & Hoffman, of Venice.

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