Judge “streamlines” case that aims to “depose the mayor” for homeless sweeps

Attorney Jason Flores-WIlliams outside the Alfred Arraj federal courthouse. Oct. 12, 2016. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)homeless sweeps; jason flores-williams; court; lawsuit; denver; colorado; denverite; kevinjbeaty; camping ban; right to rest;
Attorney Jason Flores-WIlliams outside the Alfred Arraj federal courthouse. Oct. 12, 2016. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) homeless sweeps; jason flores-williams; court; lawsuit; denver; colorado; denverite; kevinjbeaty;
Attorney Jason Flores-Williams outside the Alfred A. Arraj U.S. Courthouse. Oct. 12, 2016. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Attorney Jason Flores-Williams and a slew of plaintiffs walked into the federal courthouse in downtown Denver this morning to begin the process of suing the city to cease so-called “sweeps” of homeless people and their belongings from Denver streets.

The hearing was short, just under two hours, and set the boundaries and the stage for a legal process that may unwind for months ahead.

Plaintiff Jerry Burton smokes outside before entering the courthouse. heOct. 12, 2016. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) homeless sweeps; jason flores-williams; court; lawsuit; denver; colorado; denverite; kevinjbeaty;
Plaintiff Jerry Burton smokes outside before entering the courthouse. Oct. 12, 2016. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Flores-Williams said the initial filing went for “wide ranging discovery,” going after Hancock both in his personal and professional capacities because, he said, “I want to depose the mayor.”

Afterward, Flores-Williams told Denverite that the judge recommended his team simplify their case, specifically to drop the case against Mayor Michael Hancock’s person.

Garry Anderson, AKA "Styx," speaks to a crowd before entering the courthouse. Oct. 12, 2016. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) homeless sweeps; jason flores-williams; court; lawsuit; denver; colorado; denverite; kevinjbeaty;
Garry Anderson, AKA “Styx,” speaks to a crowd before entering the courthouse. Oct. 12, 2016. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Flores-Williams said he agreed with the judge’s request. “Let’s get these issues off the table so that we can streamline this in the best way.” He thinks the case involving Hancock’s professional duties is a “slam dunk.”

Jones, who was relocated during the "sweeps," waits in line to enter the courthouse without an ID. Oct. 12, 2016. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) homeless sweeps; jason flores-williams; court; lawsuit; denver; colorado; denverite; kevinjbeaty;
Jones, who was relocated during the “sweeps,” waits in line to enter the courthouse without an ID. Oct. 12, 2016. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

The streamlining reflected the judge’s “understanding,” he said, that “this has to move fast, which is pretty rare for federal court.”

The judge, U.S. District Judge Craig Shaffer, also made concessions last week to allow the homeless plaintiffs to enter the federal courthouse without identification.

 “I think it’s a good day,” said Flores-Williams.

Next Thursday, the attorneys and the judge will continue to plot the course of the suit. They’ll decide, among other things, how much testimony will be allowed on the stand.

Kevin Beaty

Author: Kevin Beaty

Kevin Beaty is a media producer with experience in a variety of settings spanning Hollywood film sets to international backpack journalism expeditions. He is on a never-ending quest to meld artful imagery, functional design and intimate storytelling. His biggest struggle in any given moment is whether to shoot stills or video.