ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office is officially supporting the City of Albuquerque in its efforts to prevent homeless encampments from assembling in public spaces. District Attorney Sam Bregman has filed an amicus brief, which formally states that the office is taking the city’s side and calls for the New Mexico Supreme Court to take action.
In September, the City of Albuquerque was barred from conducting encampment sweeps when a judge ruled in favor of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The group argued that removing unhoused individuals from public spaces was unconstitutional.
On Thursday, September 21, a district court judge ordered an injunction against the city. With that order, the city can no longer remove the property of homeless people unless it is blocking sidewalks, driveways, alleys, or is on school grounds; The order is set to take effect on November 1, 2023.
The city quickly spoke out on the ruling, stating, “This dangerous ruling would severely limit our ability to keep our city clean and safe while getting people connected to the help they need. We intend to challenge the decision and protect our ability to enforce necessary public safety measures.”
On October 10, the District Attorney’s Office submitted its amicus brief, focusing primarily on safety issues with the encampments. The DA emphasized that encampments can pose a danger to the unhoused, often becoming magnets for violent crime.
District Attorney Bregman stated that, since 2022, four homeless people have been victims of homicide in Albuquerque’s public spaces. The office is asking for flexibility in the way the city “manages and provides services to” homeless people in public places.
“We are fighting crime in the streets of Albuquerque and in the courtroom. The homeless are often the victims of that crime. I will challenge any decision that limits our ability to fully use all of our law enforcement tools to make our community safe.”Bernalillo County District Attorney Sam Bregman