The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit on Dec. 23, 2008 against the City of Laguna Beach, its council members and police department on behalf of the homeless people of Laguna Beach. The suit claims that the city’s anti-sleeping ordinances result in an unconstitutional harassment of homeless people. The city’s police illegally conduct ‘sweeps’, picking up homeless people from the streets and subjecting them to interrogations in the middle of the night.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana, claims the town is engaged in a campaign of harassment against the homeless while providing no year-round city-sponsored shelters. The 21-page complaint focuses on an ordinance that criminalizes sleeping on the street, which ACLU attorneys said is unconstitutional and discriminatory.