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Homeless file lawsuit against Indianapolis over order requiring them to leave certain sidewalks

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INDIANAPOLIS — The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a federal lawsuit against Indianapolis on behalf of the city’s homeless population over an order that required them to vacate certain sidewalks downtown.

The Indianapolis Star reports that the city’s Department of Homeland Security and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department made an emergency declaration Aug. 4. It said people weren’t allowed to congregate underneath multiple overpasses starting Aug. 8 because blocking the sidewalk was a public safety risk, and it ordered the immediate removal of homeless people who were camping out under overpasses from South College to South West Street.

The ACLU says the declaration targets homeless people and exempts people who aren’t homeless. The lawsuit also says homeless people never blocked the public’s ability to walk on the sidewalks.

The lawsuit requests that the city’s order be declared a violation of due process and equal protection. It also seeks an injunction to lift the ban.