Crime & Justice

ACLU sues Santa Monica over treatment of chronically homeless

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit against the city of Santa Monica. The lawsuit accuses the city of harassing chronically homeless people without providing enough shelter space where they can sleep.

ACLU Attorney Mark Rosenbaum says the treatment violates people’s constitutional rights.

Mark Rosenbaum: "In America, to be poor and homeless and mentally disabled is not a crime, but in Santa Monica, police routinely cite, arrest, handcuff, and jail city’s mentally ill homeless residents."

To change similar conditions in Laguna Beach and Santa Barbara, the ACLU has taken legal action against those cities. The manager of Santa Monica’s human services division wouldn’t comment on the specifics of the lawsuit. She did say that the city is doing a lot to combat homelessness, but that it can’t solve the problem alone.