Homeless File Suit Against City of Manteca

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A group of homeless men have filed a complaint against the City of Manteca.

The suit claims the municipal codes against sleeping and camping are violating their civil rights.

On an 8-foot-wide sidewalk at Yosemite and Commerce in Manteca is where Robert Schuknect and Mario Acosta consider home. It's where they sleep, eat and cook at a makeshift mobile home, which they claim has been taken away by the Manteca Police Department because of the city’s no camping ordinance.

"They’ve impounded my property, they’ve tried to impound my dog. and I’m standing up here on the sidewalk because I know the sidewalk is public property,” Schuknect told FOX40.

Schuknect and Acosta, along with two other homeless men, have taken action. They’ve filed a complaint agains the City of Manteca.

"That’s what I’m doing right here, is I’m trying to teach people. That just because they pass a muni code does not mean it’s constitutional,” Schuknect said.

The suit takes issue with the city’s no camping and sleeping in public and private places ordinance. They claim it’s a rule that targets the homeless and that their civil rights have been violated.

"That’s what I’m upset about. We need a rest, too. We’re human beings. We need a rest,” Acosta said.

Some business owners we spoke with off-camera said they’re happy with the city’s ordinance. They said the aggressive solicitation and sanitation issues that come with some of the homeless has been curbed since it went into affect last year.

A representative with the Manteca Police Department told us they could not go on camera but said, "We want to be fair to everyone and we want to take care of all of our residents and visitors."

We also spoke with the Chief of Police Nick Obligacion who said, "We currently have attorneys looking at the complaint. We can’t comment on pending litigation. Our next step is to speak with our attorneys then go from there. The city had to respond to the complaint by Monday."