Homeless campers return to Third Street minutes after city crews power wash area

Judge throws out homeless lawsuit

DOWNTOWN CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Homeless campers didn't stay gone for very long Friday after city officials forced dozens to move from their space along Third Street.

Those who have recently walked on Third between Walnut and Main may have noticed the camp.

In a federal courtroom Friday morning, an attorney for the camp argued the 72-hour deadline imposed by acting city manager Patrick Duhaney was only temporary. The judge refused to grant a restraining order against the city's deadline, however.

RELATED | Judge denies request for downtown homeless camps to remain

The homeless campers began packing up their gear and moving out of the way Friday afternoon, but they didn't go far.

City maintenance crews were called in to clean up the area and a police detail was on site to keep the peace.

"They're going to be right back and that's the part that's so disappointing," said Sgt. Dan Hils, president of Cincinnati's police union.

Fewer than 15 minutes after crews finished power washing and picking up garbage, some of the homeless campers picked up their houses and moved back to the same spot they were before.

"I ain't a scared to talk about what the real issue is," said Bison Evans, a homeless person who spoke with FOX19 on Friday. "You so worried about your damn money and all these big wigs, (expletive) them. There's people that are for real, for real (expletive) up and need help and all of us ain't heroin heads and crack heads and none of that."

Bennett Allen, the attorney for the homeless campers says he is challenging the Ohio Criminal Trespass statute. He says it's unconstitutional.

"Even though we have been denied our request for a restraining order we intend to pursue that matter," said Allen.

So the campers are back, for now, but the question remains -- do people have the right to live on the city's streets? City Council member Chris Seelbach believes they do.

"It is not illegal to live on the street as long as you're doing so in a sanitary way and you're not blocking the right of way and you're not breaking any other law," he said.

Both sides admit there is nothing keeping Duhaney from issuing another 72-hour notice to vacate now that this one has expired. The ball is back in City Hall's court.

Copyright 2018 WXIX. All rights reserved.