Homeless Men Fighting for Right to Continue Sleeping on Public Property

By on October 21, 2013

by Ali Papademetriou

A group of homeless men – Antonio Wilson, Brandon Booker, Gary Hudson, and Shafter Jinks are suing Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Neil to guarantee they’ll be free to use the County Courthouse in Cincinnati as their sleeping grounds.

Last week, the men filed suit with a US District court, reports Cincinnati.com. They’re claiming that Sheriff Neil is working to prohibit them from sleeping at the courthouse, which has in turn rattled their tempers. Of course, disallowing the men from sleeping at the courthouse would be a violation of Ohio’s First, Fourth, Eighth, and Eighteenth Constitutional Amendments.

This campaign includes ‘no trespass’ signs on the exterior plazas of the Hamilton County Courthouse and the Hamilton County Justice Center, two quintessential and traditional public forums that cannot be closed to the public, and then threatening to arrest any individuals who sleep or otherwise seek repose on the steps, benches, and sidewalks surrounding these facilities,” reads the suit.

It was reported that the “no trespassing” sign was posted two weeks ago.

Among the claims is also mention of the men having a right to maintain their freedom from cruel and unusual punishment, including freedom from being criminally punished for being homeless.

Sheriff’s Major Charmaine McGuffey made clear that “nobody dislikes the homeless” but also said that deputies would be starting to evict the homeless men last week. “I’m compassionate, I talk to them, I even buy them coffee. But this if a public health issue,” noted McGuffey.

Image Reference

Wally Skalij / Los Angeles

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