SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Officers moved in to disband the protesters who have been camped out outside Sacramento City Hall since early December.
Police say they’ve given the group multiple warnings that their encampment was violating a city ordinance that bans these camps within the city.
The midnight raid reportedly involved more than fifty officers.
Of the approximately two dozen campers on scene, four protesters were arrested and three others were cited for refusing to leave.
In a statement from the city manager’s office, city leaders cite the need to “ensure public access to City Hall” as the reason behind the police action.
“The City of Sacramento acknowledges and recognizes the right of all citizens to exercise their right to free speech under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. However, the City also has an obligation to enforce laws involving the protection of public health and safety, including provisions of the Sacramento City Code that prohibit camping and the storage of camping items on public property,” the statement reads.
Advocates say their protest started to stop these types of actions against the homeless. Protesters have been outside city hall since Dec. 8.
Last February, a state appeals court ruled the city’s camping ordinance was constitutional.
The court did say the ordinance must be evenly enforced under the equal protection clause of the Constitution.