Hancock tells Denver police not to take camping equipment from homeless

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DENVER -- Mayor Michael Hancock announced he is adjusting the enforcement of the city’s unauthorized camping ordinance for the cold weather.

The mayor announced the change Saturday, saying police should not take camping equipment such as tents and blankets while enforcing the camping law.

“Every step we take is intended to connect people with safe and warm places and critical supportive services. We never intended to take the belongings that people need to keep warm,” Hancock said.

“Therefore, I have directed Denver police to cease taking camping equipment, like tents and blankets, when enforcing the unauthorized camping ordinance through the end of April.”

This comes after the ACLU sent a letter to police and the mayor asking them to stop taking blankets from homeless people.

Video surfaced online of police taking the items from individuals when temperatures were below freezing.

“It is not an inherent crime to sleep outside, and many people right now have no other viable option,” ACLU of Colorado executive director Nathan Woodliff-Stanley said in the letter. “Denver’s shelters are simply unable to serve all people in the Denver area experiencing homelessness.

RELATED: ACLU letter sent to mayor, police

“Until real solutions become Denver’s priority, the city’s ongoing policing-first approach to homelessness is a cruel waste of funds, curtailing fundamental constitutional rights, causing deep human suffering, and endangering lives,” the letter added.

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