North Coast
North Coast
From the Open-Publishing Calendar
From the Open-Publishing Newswire
Indybay Feature
Related Categories: North Coast | Police State & Prisons
Humboldt County DA to be sued by homeless camp participants
by ok
Monday Jun 8th, 2009 11:59 PM
Humboldt county district attorney Paul Gallegos and the office of the HumCo DA have been added to the complaint filed by the People Project participants demanding accountability for the violation of human rights occuring in the raid on a homeless encampment in Arcata, CA. by police. The plaintiffs are demanding that the day and night harrassment of homeless people by police be stopped immediatly.
...for the entire complaint go to the people project website at:

DA have been added to the complaint filed by the People Project participants demanding accountability for the violation of human rights
occuring in the raid on a homeless encampment in Arcata, CA. by police. The plaintiffs are demanding that the day and night harrassment of homeless people by police be stopped immediatly.

The DA's office is being sued because they participated in the raid and continue to perpetuate the criminalizing of poor people, including those who live without housing.

ARCATA, CA (September 2, 2008) A lawsuit regarding ongoing civil rights violations against homeless people on the North Coast of California has been brought against employees and police of City and County government and California Highway Patrol in Humboldt County. Actual and punitive damages, as well as declaratory and injunctive relief, arising from State and Federal claims are demanded by PEOPLE PROJECT Plaintiffs in the lawsuit filed in San Francisco’s Federal Court. People Project, a cooperation of community members who are focused on human rights and building dignified community spaces as, with, and for houseless people hopes to prohibit the City of Arcata and other governments throughout Humboldt County from continuing their persistent harassment, abuse, and extra-judicial punishment of houseless people.

The lawsuit arises from the false arrests and other wrongs against Hans K. Ashbaucher, Johnie C. Miller, Kimberly L. Starr, Kristofer Johnson, and Michelle Hernandez – while they were exercising their constitutional rights participating in a well organized, publicized, and community supported encampment. Organized by People Project, the encampment demonstrated the plight of Northern Humboldt County’s houseless population and the ritual discrimination it endures from local ‘law enforcement’ officials. The People Project encampment was established on city property to provide a temporary safe place to sleep and to publicly draw attention to the situation that, in the City of Arcata, there is no “legal” place for the hundreds of houseless people to sleep. The camp was established also to generate dialogue and build support for a free, people run, ecologically-sustainable campground.

The People Project lawsuit points out: “Though the Defendant City of Arcata fails to offer any ‘legal’ housing facilities for people who have no house of their own … City of Arcata persists in criminalizing homeless people who attempt to sleep anywhere outside or even in their own vehicles, and no free campground safe zone exists for the 300 plus homeless people who reside in Arcata (population 17, 000) at any given time. The Defendant City of Arcata forbade churches from allowing people to sleep in cars in their parking lots. The Defendant City of Arcata has not only failed to provide any shelter or safe space for homeless people to rest, but has been heavy-handed in discouraging and punishing any groups or individuals who attempt to provide or create such spaces.” It is these policies that People Project is attempting to change in Arcata and throughout the county.

Several law enforcement agencies were involved in dismantling the People Project encampment in the April 25, 2007 raid (and are thereby subjects of this lawsuit): Arcata Police Department, Humboldt State University Police, Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department, Eureka Police Department, California Highway Patrol, and Fortuna Police Department. The combined interagency force dismantled the protest camp using violent tactics on the primarily houseless and entirely non-violent demonstrators. After the police raid, the City of Arcata held the participants’ property, including medications and survival gear, of more than 50 homeless individuals. The City destroyed some items and waited 10 days after the raid to release many un-catalogued items and in some cases, returned property to the wrong people. The Arcata and HSU police harassed encampment demonstrators throughout the next 7 nights; demonstrators had relocated to another Arcata City property after the raid.

The Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office (present at the raid) and the City of Arcata declined to bring criminal charges against the Plaintiffs and the 14 other people who were falsely arrested for participating in the public encampment protest, suggesting the wrongful nature of the raid tactic.

In addition to claims of false arrest, wrongful confiscation, and destruction of personal property and vital medication, the People Project lawsuit states that “Arcata has proven itself to be deaf to all urgings by community to respect homeless peoples’ rights and to cease from day and night harassment, intimidation, and punishment of homeless people for performing or needing to perform life-sustaining activities..” It continues, “…whereas the Defendants exhibit no intention of voluntarily changing such unconstitutional pattern and practice, and [we] can exhaust no other options, [we] appeal to th[e] Court to provide declaratory and injunctive relief regarding such discriminatory and inhumane actions by Defendants.”.

Recently, the City of Fresno, California agreed to a $2.35 million dollar settlement to several homeless people after city employees seized and destroyed their property.

Rob Hepburn, a Veteran for Peace and People Project encampment supporter alluded to the UN Declaration of Human Rights and asserted, “Not allowing a person to sleep is tantamount to torture.”

Listed below are the latest comments about this post.
These comments are submitted anonymously by website visitors.
Still HappeningAndrew StephensWednesday Oct 14th, 2015 12:39 PM

We are 100% volunteer and depend on your participation to sustain our efforts!


donate now

$ 97.00 donated
in the past month

Get Involved

If you'd like to help with maintaining or developing the website, contact us.


Publish your stories and upcoming events on Indybay.

IMC Network