Homeless plaintiffs suing Denver over sweeps will get to enter federal court without IDs

Some of the plaintiffs don’t have ID because theirs was stored in the belongings that the city took.


In a small victory for the homeless men and women suing the city of Denver for taking their possessions in a series of sweeps, they’ll be able to enter the federal courthouse where their case will be decided.

Normal court procedures require everyone entering the building to pass through security and provide photo identification. Not providing ID “shall be grounds for removal or exclusion from the building.”

U.S. District Judge Craig Shaffer ruled this week that both the plaintiffs named in the lawsuit and others who might end up being included in the case — attorney Jason Flores-Williams is seeking class-action status — will be able to pass through security without ID as long as an attorney vouches for them.

The plaintiffs are suing over the way the city handled their belongings. They allege Denver violated their Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure, their Eighth Amendment rights against cruel and unusual punishment and their Fourteenth Amendment rights to due process and equal protection under the law.

In an email, Flores-Williams said some of the plaintiffs don’t have ID because theirs was stored in the belongings that the city took in the sweeps.

The first hearing in the case is Wednesday.


Erica Meltzer

Author: Erica Meltzer

Erica Meltzer covers government and politics. She's worked for newspapers in Colorado, Arizona and Illinois and once won a First Amendment Award by showing up in the wrong place at the wrong time. She served in the Peace Corps in Paraguay and can swear fluently in Guarani. She gets emotional about public libraries. Contact Erica Meltzer at 303-502-2802, emeltzer@denverite.com or @meltzere.