Camp Nenookaasi residents sue Minneapolis mayor over planned eviction
As the city of Minneapolis prepares to clear out a large homeless encampment in south Minneapolis later this week, some of the residents of that encampment are suing the mayor in an effort to stop the plan.
Two people who say they’re residents of the encampment — known as Camp Nenookaasi — filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court on Tuesday, claiming that the eviction planned for Thursday, as ordered by Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, would violate their rights against unreasonable searches and seizures, cruel and unusual punishment, and destruction of property, as well as their right to due process.
The lawsuit is filed not only on behalf of the two residents but all others at the encampment.
It asks a judge to stop Frey and the city from going forward with the eviction.
“Plaintiffs have suffered, will continue to suffer, and will face imminent and increased suffering as a result of Defendant Frey’s unlawful behavior,” the lawsuit states.
The city had previously planned to close the encampment, located at 13th Avenue South and 23rd Street, on Dec. 14 and Dec. 19 but postponed those plans to continue efforts to find housing options for the camp’s residents. Those efforts have been going on for months already, according to city officials, and a city spokesperson said on Friday that 104 people at the encampment had been connected with housing or shelter options, 31 of whom have already left the encampment for housing options, and 14 more are scheduled to move into housing “soon.”
It’s unclear how many others haven’t yet connected with staff and are still seeking housing options. 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS inquired with the city but a city spokesperson on Friday only said that “everyone will have the ability to connect to shelter.”
Some neighbors have voiced frustration at the hazards the encampment has posed in the neighborhood, and police reported being called to the area around 20 times in recent months, including for a deadly shooting last month.
The land is the site where the Indigenous Peoples Task Force (IPTF) planned to build its Mikwanedun Audisookon Art and Wellness Center. That purchase agreement has been pushed to February amid the delays in clearing the encampment but IPTF will do predevelopment work to make sure it can break ground right after the sale is complete, the city says.
In response to the lawsuit, a city spokesperson said plans to clear the encampment on Thursday are still on and again highlighted the efforts taken to help those at the encampment. The statement also said the city “must address the ongoing public health and safety issues” at the encampment. Click here to read the city’s full statement.