VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) - A federal judge in Tacoma has found Clark County liable for clearing out homeless encampments and seizing the residents' belongings.
In a ruling Friday, Judge Robert Bryan said the southwest Washington county's work crews violated the constitutional rights of at least a half-dozen homeless residents when it threw out their tents, stoves, medication, documents and photographs.
Some campers had left to eat meals at a local shelter, then returned to find the work crews seizing their property and refusing to give it back.
One homeless resident left a backpack at a bus stop while he offered to help a woman whose car had broken down. The work crew took it.
Inside the backpack were new clothes he had been given so he could apply for a job.
A trial will determine how much the county must pay in damages.