Detroit police are ushering homeless people out of a tourist area and leaving them miles away—in some cases outside the city itself, the ACLU alleges in a federal complaint. Officers are "approaching individuals who appear to be homeless in the Greektown area, forcing them into police vans, and deserting them miles away," the group says in a press release, citing a yearlong probe into the practice. The ACLU contends those subject to such treatment are having constitutional rights like due process violated. Police say they'll investigate, but opted not to comment further, the Detroit Free Press reports.
The ACLU is calling on the Justice Department to get involved and wants the city to explicitly direct police that such practices are illegal. "Often (people are) being dropped off late at night in neighborhoods that they don’t know. Police often take any money they have out of their pockets and force them to walk back to Detroit, with no guarantee of any safety," an ACLU attorney tells WWJ Newsradio 950. An ACLU rep says the organization learned of the practice from one of the city's warming centers. CBS Detroit has the stories of five people who the ACLU says were "taken for a ride": among them, a 37-year-old who says he was once dropped off eight miles from where he was picked up.