Medford, local police facing suits after homeless camp sweep

MEDFORD, Ore. (AP) — Eight people arrested by the Medford Police Department during a recent homeless camp sweep say they plan to sue the city, its police department and Jackson County.

Attorney Justin Rosas, who represents the arrestees, called the arrests unconstitutional, disputing the park was ever closed to the public to justify trespassing charges.

In a statement, and in tort claims obtained by Oregon Public Broadcasting, Rosas said arrestees were denied medication, harassed and held for hours after posting bail at the Jackson County Jail. The Associated Press has emailed county Sheriff Nathan Sickler seeking comment.

Rosas said the lawsuit’s goal is to provoke better treatment of people living outside in southern Oregon.

Around 8 a.m. on Sept. 22, about two dozen Medford police officers evicted people who had set up camp at the city’s Hawthorne Park.

Police arrested 11 people, including Jefferson Public Radio reporter April Ehrlich. Most were cited for trespassing, except two who were arrested on outstanding warrants and Ehrlich, who also faces charges of interfering with a police officer and resisting arrest.

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