Sacramento Homeless Union Tells Campers They Can Return to City Hall After City Violated Court Order by Tossing Them Out – Legal Fight with City, Battle of Words with DA Continue

Possessions of a homeless person on Capital Mall Drive in Sacramento on Saturday, September 11, 2021.(Photo by Robert J Hansen)

By Crescenzo Vellucci

The Vanguard Sacramento Bureau Chief

SACRAMENTO, CA – The Sacramento Homeless Union—embroiled in a legal fight with city of Sacramento and war of words with the Sacramento County District Attorney—Monday began circulating notices citywide to the unhoused and public charging “the city violated” a federal court order stopping sweeps in the city until at least Aug. 17.

The union has asked a federal judge to find the city in contempt of court for disobeying his order.

“As you know, last week the City violated (U.S. District Court) Judge (Troy) Nunley’s Temporary Restraining Order when police and security guards kicked campers out of City Hall Plaza. As a result, many unhoused persons are scared to return to the shade of City Hall Plaza…the Union is circulating the attached notice to those who have returned to City Hall and those who were pushed into the nearby streets and Cesar Chavez Park,” the message read in part.

The message, signed by union legal counsel Anthony Prince and union organizer Crystal Sanchez, added, “While we await further orders from Judge Nunley, we ask you all to help us spread the word that the homeless have a right to return and camp both day and night at City Hall.”

The notice read: 


“On August 3, 2023, Federal District Judge Troy L. Nunley ordered the City of Sacramento to STOP THE SWEEPS CITYWIDE. This means YOU HAVE THE RIGHT to stay at City Hall night and day until at least this Thursday, August 17. 

“The City violated that Order when it cleared the City Hall encampment last week and may now be held in contempt of court.

“This is to advise all unhoused persons that under Judge Nunley’s Order, for the next four days August 14 – August 17, you have the RIGHT TO RETURN TO CITY HALL RIGHT NOW and REMAIN THERE ALL DAY AND ALL NIGHT.

“Judge Nunley is expected to issue a New Order this week. The Sacramento Homeless Union has urged Judge Nunley to extend the Temporary Restraining Order so that the homeless can escape the intense heat and have the protection of the shade at City Hall Plaza.

“If the Sacramento Police or City Hall security guards try to prevent you from returning to City Hall or threaten or try to remove you, immediately contact the Homeless Union. We will let you know if Judge Nunley will permit you to camp during the day at City Hall after Thursday, August 17.”

The union has also informed California Attorney General Rob Bonta Sacramento County’s District Attorney has been “encouraging” the city of Sacramento to break a federal court order that banned sweeping homeless camps because of expected super-heated temperatures that could cause “death” to those unhoused.

For instance, temperatures have hovered near 100 degrees—the city says 90 degrees is hot—for the past few days and are expected to top 102-107 degrees most of this coming week.

And, said the union to the attorney general, to California’s top cop, Sacramento County District Attorney Thien Ho is playing a major role in encouraging the city to violate the court order.

The union last week asked a federal judge to find the city in contempt of the court’s Aug. 3 order when several homeless camps were swept in apparent violation of the federal court order.

In a brief note to AG Bonta, Prince said, “We wanted to make you aware of the situation described in the message as we believe Mr. Ho has dangerously overstepped his authority as a County District Attorney and is misusing his office to gain a political advantage by demanding that the City act in such a manner tantamount to willful disobedience by the City of Sacramento of a Temporary Restraining Order issued by District Judge Troy L. Nunley (Aug. 3).”

Prince added, “We are in the process of further researching this matter and intend to file a formal complaint with the State Bar against Mr. Ho and will follow up this message with a formal communication to your office regarding this matter.”

Characterizing Ho’s actions to Bonta as “increasingly strident…rhetoric and threats coming from the Sacramento District Attorney to pressure the City of Sacramento to resume currently-enjoined enforcement of its anti-camping ordinances, this is an urgent matter for the Sacramento Homeless Union and its 2,700 members.”

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Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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