Lewis Brown shortly after his encounter with Fresno police officers. Photo by Dez Martinez

Police Brutality Will Be Put on Trial in Fresno

Fresno police officers brutalized Lewis Brown while he was living in a homeless encampment near Highway 180 and West Avenue. After being released by the hospital, he was charged with a variety of crimes and spent months defending himself in court. In the end, all but one of the charges were dropped and a jury found Brown not guilty of resisting or obstructing a police officer.

Kevin Little, Brown’s attorney, has filed a class-action lawsuit that will attempt to stop the City of Fresno’s longstanding and continuing hostility toward the homeless community. Little says that “in a class-action lawsuit, the court has to certify the class proposed in the lawsuit, and that process can take several months at least.”

{To see video of this incident, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mRgClorldKc&t=366s ]

The proposed class is all homeless persons in the City of Fresno since Feb. 21, 2020, who have had or will have laws or initiatives enforced against them based on their homeless status, or who have had or will have their belongings seized and destroyed in a manner that is contrary to the Kincaid v. City of Fresno decision and/or in violation of their personal property rights.

 Anyone who believes they are part of the class should contact Little’s office, which is located at 1225 E. Divisadero St. in Fresno.

This legal action was filed in late February 2022, shortly before the Community Alliance went to press. A more detailed account will appear in the April issue.

Read the complete legal document filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, Fresno Division, on the Community Alliance website (fresnoalliance.com).

The proposed class is as follows:

All homeless persons in the City of Fresno since February 21, 2020 who have had or will have laws or initiatives enforced against them based on their homeless status, or who have had or will have their belongings seized and destroyed in a manner that is contrary to Kincaid and/or in violation of their personal property rights.

  • Mike Rhodes

    Mike Rhodes is the executive director of theCommunity Alliance newspaper and author of the book Dispatches from the War Zone, about homelessness in Fresno. www.mikerhodes.us is his website. Contact him at mikerhodes@comcast.net.

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