ACLU says Sarasota authorities harass homeless

Liberties Union says authorities try to bully homeless out of Sarasota

Published On: Jan 18 2013 07:36:59 AM EST
SARASOTA, Fla. -

The American Civil Liberties Union and others say authorities are trying to harass the homeless into leaving a Florida coastal city best known for its beautiful beaches nearby.

They contend that newer, wealthy residents are buying expensive downtown Sarasota condos so they can live an urban lifestyle -- but don't want the problems associated with a city.

Recently, the ACLU has uncovered a surveillance video showing an officer throwing a homeless man against a metal grate and received public records that show police sent messages to each other about "bum hunting."

Police Chief Bernadette DiPino says his department is conducting an internal investigation.

A task force of city officials and homeless advocates was recently formed to address the situation.