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Denver asks federal appeals court to stop ruling on homeless sweeps

The city is appealing Monday's ruling requiring them to give a week's notice before clearing illegal encampments.

City of Denver workers and Denver Police prepare to sweep the tent camp at St. John's Cathedral in Denver on May 20, 2020. The camp had grown to dozens of tents spanning the entire city block and as many as 80 people before the pre-announced sweep. (Eric Lubbers, The Colorado Sun)

The city of Denver is asking a federal appeals court to block a judge’s ruling that requires officials to give seven days’ notice before clearing illegal homeless encampments.

Lawyers for the city made the request to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals Tuesday and also filed notice that they will appeal Monday’s ruling by U.S. District Judge William Martinez, The Denver Post reported.

A lawsuit brought by homeless people and an advocacy group sought to stop the camps from being cleared. Instead, Martinez ruled the city must give a week’s notice before each sweep, regardless of the size of the encampments, after finding out that city officials had not done so before several high-profile sweeps last year to avoid growing protests.

Martinez said officials can clear out an encampment with a warning no less than two days in advance in certain emergencies with approval from the state health department and written justification from the city.

The city’s emergency filing in the appeals court said the ruling prevents the city “from quickly addressing the unpredictable but unquestionably significant public health risks presented by encampments.”

“This places all Denver residents — including those experiencing homelessness — at grave risk of irreparable harm,” it said.


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