Denver police conduct another round of homeless sweeps

DENVER — Police are helping the city conduct another sweep of areas where homeless people gather despite a pending lawsuit over their legality.

Officers were at 25th and Arapahoe streets on Monday afternoon. People were told to leave with whatever they could carry. Items left behind will be put in storage to be claimed later.

The city started conducting the sweeps in March after businesses and residents complained, upset over littering, fights and drug use.

This was the second time this month officers have been sent to clear out homeless camps downtown. On Nov. 15, police cleared people from an area near Lawrence Street and Park Avenue West.

The city faces a class-action lawsuit for sweeps at the same location in March. The homeless say the sweeps violated their constitutional rights.

The lawsuit said the city threw away belongings, including tents, blankets, family photos and military records. The city denies that, saying everything was put in storage.

The homeless camps continued to pop back up in certain areas — on Park Avenue, along the South Platte River and in Cheesman Park — leading some to say the sweeps aren’t working.

Some of the homeless who were banned from the area near Park Avenue West and Lawrence Street moved to the City and County Building on Tuesday morning.

Some were calling for an end to “criminalizing survival” and were seeking alternate housing options.