Not everyone happy with MPD plan to move homeless off the streets - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Not everyone happy with MPD plan to move homeless off the streets

By Jamel Major - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Memphis police are gearing up for a new push to move people without homes off the streets, but some people say that's a violation of their civil rights.

The plan could affect people like Larry Anderson, who fought the frigid temperatures to stay warm Friday night. 

Anderson, who has been homeless for more than a year, has definitely seen his share of hard times.  After being hit by a drunk driver, life on the streets of downtown Memphis has been anything but easy.

"Broke my arm and foot.  I was laid up and couldn't work.  I couldn't pay my bills," he said. "I lost my home."

Anderson said the Memphis Police Department's plan to get the homeless off the street is not going to work.

Monday, officers began handing out cards telling the homeless where to go to get help.  But that's not all.  After December 9th any homeless person caught breaking the law can be thrown in jail.

"Is there any trespassing issues?  Any health code violation that may exist? We'll also check warrants," said Colonel Billy Garrett of the Union Avenue Station.

Brad Watkins of the Mid South Peace and Justice Center says the sweep is illegal and immoral.

"We going to throw people in jail at a substantial cost to taxpayers, a burden to law enforcement and criminal justice resource, and for what?  Only to push those people out of affluent areas to areas of even greater poverty," Watkins said.

"I have no where to go," Anderson said. "I'll just go downtown and let them hold me for however long they hold me and when they kick me out do the same thing over and over until they give up."

Police plan to target the homeless in at least 17 areas of the city.

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