Detroit Police Picking Up Homeless and Dumping Them Outside of City

In a complaint filed with the U.S. Justice Department, the Michigan ACLU says that Detroit police have been picking up homeless people from the popular Greektown neighborhood and dropping them off miles away, sometimes even outside of city limits. Homeless people have termed the practice being "taken for a ride," after police officers have repeatedly approached members of the homeless population and told them to get into vans. They are then deserted by the police, often far from any assistance, and told to never return to Greektown.

Sarah Mehta, ACLU of Michigan staff attorney, told Detroit's WWJ Newsradio 950 that the homeless were "being approached and harassed by police, not necessarily for anything they're doing, but just because of the way that they look. Often they're 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."

The complaint was filed after a year-long investigation by the ACLU. Detroit Police Chief Chester Logan said he would look into the complaint but would not release any further comment.

Andrew Sheehan, 37, reported to the ACLU that he had been picked up multiple times by the Detroit police, who one time told him that they would take him to a shelter, but instead just dropped him off at the boundary between Detroit and River Rouge, over 8 miles away from where they had picked him up.