The Homeless

Police stop ordering homeless people sleeping outside City Hall to move

Sacramento police have stopped enforcing a controversial city ordinance they were using to tell homeless people sleeping outside City Hall overnight to move.

As of Friday, police are not enforcing the ordinance, said Sgt. Vance Chandler, police spokesman. He declined to say why the decision was made or when officers might resume enforcing the ordinance.

The change followed two Sacramento Bee stories last week. Mayor Darrell Steinberg Tuesday apologized for an incident in which officers told homeless people to move from City Hall’s overhangs during a bad rainstorm. The next two nights after Steinberg’s apology, officers continued to tell homeless people to leave the grounds. They cited three people for violating the ordinance and arrested one, the Bee reported Friday.

Steinberg does not want homeless people roused from City Hall “in the middle of the night” regardless of weather, he told the Bee on Thursday.

The city ordinance says nobody can be present at the City Hall plaza between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. unless attending a city hearing or meeting.

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Theresa Clift covers Sacramento City Hall. Before joining The Bee in 2018, she worked as a local government reporter for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the Daily Press in Virginia and the Wausau Daily Herald in Wisconsin. She grew up in Michigan and graduated from Central Michigan University.