Earlier this month, in a case challenging the denial of permits to erect a homeless “tent city” in front of a former elementary school in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago, a federal magistrate judge dismissed the organizers’ First Amendment claim. While one count of the plaintiffs’ complaint will move forward, the order dismisses all of the plaintiffs’ federal claims.
Uptown Tent City Organizers and its leader, Andy Thayer, sought a permit from the City of Chicago to establish a tent city in the former elementary school site. In 2016, several homeless people had resided at the site, but the city fenced it off and the homeless people moved to various locations under viaducts along the city’s famed Lake Shore Drive. The plaintiff filed claims in state court challenging the city’s denial of the permit, and the city removed the case to federal court. The plaintiffs lost a motion for preliminary injunction, and subsequently amended their complaint to add First Amendment free speech and assembly, Eighth Amendment cruel and unusual punishment, Fourth Amendment illegal seizure, Fifth Amendment taking, and various state law claims. Continue Reading Homeless “Tent City” Is Not Expressive Conduct Protected by the First Amendment, Says Federal Court