The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Nevada is helping to defend five homeless advocates against charges levied in June by the Reno Police Department.
Five people, who were protesting what they said was the city’s aggressive sweeps of homeless encampments, set up tents across from City Hall and camped for days.
Though they repeatedly told police they were there protesting city leaders’ decisions to sweep camps, police instead treated them as if they were homeless. The advocates were demanding a meeting with the mayor and city leaders in an attempt to stop the sweeps.
But Reno police officers repeatedly told the group, which for days ranged from about a half dozen to 40 or more, they could not camp at City Plaza and referred the activists to get services at the then newly opened Nevada Cares Campus.
“The notice they issued was the same notice they issue before a sweep,” said Lily Baran, one of those cited in June. (Baran now works for the ACLU of Nevada.) “What’s particularly poetic about the situation is that we’re protesting the sweeps and that we’re going to get swept too.”
The group said their intentions were clear and that RPD’s response was laughable. They are now fighting the misdemeanor citations in court. The ACLU is providing legal support for their case.
This is an edited video of the body cam footage. Watch the full version here: https://youtu.be/rUD6Ha0fNQQ
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