Elkton will pay eight homeless people $7,500 apiece after settling a lawsuit over the bulldozing of their campsite and the loss of their personal belongings, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.
The suit was filed in federal court on behalf of nine homeless men and women who lost their possessions - including a family Bible, a grandfather's watch, a birth certificate and other items - during an August 2006 raid. The ninth person involved in the suit has died, according to the ACLU.
Kevin Karpinski, a lawyer for Elkton, said the expense of litigation, which might have run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, was the major reason why the city offered to settle.
"The town is not admitting it did anything wrong, but the reality is, given what would be very substantial expense going forward, it made economic sense to get this resolved sooner than later," he said. The ACLU accused town officials and police of harassing and intimidating residents by seizing their property and forcing them off public land.