St. Louis, MO (KSDK) - Reverend Larry Rice will file suit against the City of St. Louis over the city's recent decision to shut down a homeless camp in the Botanical Heights neighborhood.
Rice and three other individuals were arrested last month for refusing to leave the campsite, located at Interstate 44 and S. Vandeventer Avenue, called "Integrity Village." City leaders shut down five homeless camps in the month prior, three of them located near the Mississippi Riverfront in downtown St. Louis.
The city said it closed the camps due to health and safety concerns. Larry Rice called the city's actions a misuse of power.
Following his arrest and subsequent release from jail, Rice was given an opportunity to address the St. Louis Board of Aldermen regarding Integrity Village. He claimed tent cities can be an effective way to care for the homeless if the camps are regulated. He said the one that the city shutdown in the Botanical Heights neighborhood was being regulated because he was leasing the land. Some of the rules at that particular homeless camp included no alcohol and no panhandling.
Rev. Larry Rice went on to ask the aldermen to pass legislation for a homeless camp on a one acre plot of city land. Alderman Stephen Conway accused Rice of extortion tactics, saying if the city didn't give land for the homeless, than camps would try to open in residential neighborhoods, like it did in the Botanical Heights neighborhood.
In addition to the City of St. Louis, Larry Rice is filing suit against public safety director Eddie Roth.