Hours after the latest inspection by city workers and police, the Occupy ICE camp is working to shrink its Seventh Street footprint to comply with what the city alleges are violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act and other laws.
LMPD officers led by Lt. Ron Heady, head of the force’s Downtown Area Patrol, and a cadre of public works employees conducted an inspection of the camp Tuesday morning to gauge its compliance with the ADA and other accessibility laws. City workers spray-painted white demarcating lines four feet from the street in accordance with the city’s interpretation of the ADA requirement to create curb-side access, in addition to access from cars parked directly in front of the camp along Seventh Street near Broadway.
The occupation site, dubbed Camp Compasión, was previously inspected Sunday evening.
A spokeswoman for the group, Chanelle Helm, told Insider on Tuesday that the protesters at the occupation site in front of Louisville’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement offices are “consolidating” the camp to create a four-foot pathway so that disabled persons can easily use the sidewalk and avoid further action by the law enforcement.
Jeffrey Brown, assistant director of Louisville Metro Public Works, was present for the inspection and told the Courier Journal that the camp was in compliance with the ADA “for the most part.”
“It’s now clear that the city will keep finding an excuse to say we’re not complying,” Jesús Ibáñez, also a spokesperson for the Occupy ICE group, told Insider. He added that the protesters voluntarily removed the tents for now.
The group maintains that the city is selectively enforcing the ADA in order to manufacture a legal pretense to override their First Amendment rights and ultimately evict them. On Twitter, @occupyicelou and supporting groups are asking Louisvillians to tweet photos of sidewalks throughout the city that are not ADA compliant.
— occupyicelou (@occupyicelou) July 10, 2018
In 94-degree heat, about 15 protesters labored late Tuesday morning to reach compliance, as various materials including box fans were being loaded into cars or relocated onto the roughly four feet of space now allotted to them on the sidewalk. Some areas of sidewalk along Seventh Street near Magazine Street appear to have enough city-designated room for some personal tents to be replaced, but the increased enforcement measures by the city will effectively reduce the future size of the camp.
The Louisville Metro Police Department slapped the encampment with a second written notice on Monday demanding that they comply with what the city says are multiple violations of local, state and federal law. The second written notice — the first to feature an official city letterhead and the first to be signed by a city official — accuses the camp of new violations, including alleged violations of city law governing the blocking of parking spaces. LMPD Chief Steve Conrad signed the second notice.
Questions to the LMPD and the mayor’s office about the schedule of inspections and their outcomes, as well as possible legal action against the camp, were not immediately returned.
This post may be updated.