Lawsuit: Minneapolis effectively took over private property to build violent homeless camp

There have been at least two strangulations and three stabbings in an unofficial homeless camp that a lawsuit says the city wrongly supports.

Kyle Hooten/Alpha News

A collection of Minneapolis businesses say the city and county “have affected unconstitutional regulatory takings” of their property, aiding the maintenance of a “dangerous and disruptive” government-supported homeless camp.

Triangle Warehouse, Benchmark Logistics and Cue Properties all operate facilities near 37th Avenue Northeast and Technology Drive in northeast Minneapolis. These businesses say that a row of homeless encampments set up near their premises endanger their employees and prevent normal access to their buildings. What’s more, they allege that the city and Hennepin County have provided material support to the encampment that has taken over their property.

The businesses filed a civil suit in federal court earlier this month to remedy this issue.

The suit describes “open fire pits containing burning garbage,” intimidation and harassment of employees, and claims the vagrants are “preventing ingress and egress” from the properties.

The plaintiffs also report a slew of crimes that have occurred at the city-assisted homeless camp, including two strangulations, three stabbings and apparently continuous drug activity that has been repeatedly reported to the police.

Not only has the city failed to address this problem, the lawsuit says, it has accelerated it. “Indeed, the City and/or County have gone so far as to set up facilities to accommodate the encampments such as installing restroom facilities and wash stations,” according to the businesses.

“Instead of directing their resources at establishing appropriate public housing capacity and accommodation, including homeless shelters and alternate accommodations for the unhoused, the City and County have instead directed resources to support and maintain the Encampment, thereby encouraging and contributing to its growth,” the businesses say.

“By converting the area around 36th and 37th Avenues in Minneapolis’ northeast, including parts of surrounding private property, into a government-sanctioned homeless encampment … the City and County have affected a regulatory taking of the Property without paying any compensation,” the lawsuit concludes.

Ultimately, the businesses want the city to reestablish law and order in the area, pay “damages in excess of $50,000 suffered as a consequence of the City’s and County’s unlawful taking and violation of the United States Constitution,” and provide “other and further relief as the Court deems just and equitable.”

Read the entire lawsuit here:

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