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Local ACLU Chapter Establishes Committee to End the Criminalization

of Homelessness in Daytona Beach


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE December 07, 2015
CONTACT:
ACLU of Florida Media Office,
media@aclufl.org
, (786) 363-2737
Daytona Beach, FL
The Volusia Flagler Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida has
established the Justice for Homeless Committee, a committee of members of the organization committed to
ending the criminalization of homelessness in Daytona Beach and the surrounding areas.
Just because a person is living without the means to afford a permanent home doesnt mean they are any less
protected by the Constitution, stated Cary Ragsdale, a member of the committee. Not every issue a community
faces can be solved by the criminal justice system. This committee was established to assess the issues faced by
homeless persons in our community and work with community leaders to ensure that everyone in our community
has the rights guaranteed by the United States and Florida State Constitution respected and protected.
The committee, whose membership includes individuals who are homeless and work directly with the homeless
in the area, has begun its work by collecting information about how the Daytona Beach Police Department
interacts with homeless individuals.
The committee has sent a public records request to the Daytona Beach Police Department seeking
documentation regarding enforcement of trespass ordinances that are often used to charge homeless individuals
in public places. The committee has also begun collecting interviews with members of the homeless community
regarding interactions with the police.
The ACLU of Florida and its local volunteer chapters have challenged policies throughout the state that seek to
address homelessness through the criminal justice system and which often lead to violations of the constitutional
rights of homeless people. These include the high profile Pottinger v. City of Miami case, which resulted in a
consent agreement that has become a national standard for how police interact with homeless individuals, and
most recently, a lawsuit filed in October 2015 challenging persistent efforts by the City of Sarasota to criminalize
the status of those who are homeless.
Members of the public who are interested in learning more about the committee and homeless individuals who
wish to share information about encounters with police are encouraged to contact the ACLU of Floridas Volusia
Flagler Chapter. More information about the chapter is available here:
https://volusiaflagler.aclufl.org/
About the ACLU of Florida
: The ACLU of Florida is freedom's watchdog, working daily in the courts, legislatures and communities
to defend individual rights and personal freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. For additional information,
visit our web site at:
www.aclufl.org