ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - The battle between reverend Larry Rice and St. Louis city officials over homeless camps could wind up in court. City officials closed the latest camp in South City and arrested Rice earlier this week.
Now, the ACLU has entered the fight and says what the city did was illegal.
Reverend Rice himself says he`s considering suing the city.
We caught up with Rice yesterday after he was released from jail and returned to his New Life Evangelistic Center downtown.
Rice and three others were arrested Wednesday while they were setting up a camp on property they leased along I-44 and Vandeventer near the Botanical Gardens.
That camp was dubbed 'Integrity Village.'
City building inspectors condemned the camp because rice never got a permit.
This came after the city shut down the homeless encampments that Rice had developed along the riverfront including 'Hopeville.'
Now Rice and the ACLU are speaking out against what the city did at 'Integrity Village.'
"Well I`m going to be talking to my attorney quite closely about this. We're also going to be examining the fact that, you know, hey, we've leased a lot, the grass has to be mowed there. Are they going to arrest me if I mow the grass? If I don't, can they site us for that? I mean there's lots of issues on this whole thing,' said reverend Rice.
John Chasnoff, the ACLU Program Director, added, "If the city has a legitimate reason to break up the camp, then it should state what that reason is, and should have some legal basis for what the reason, and then it can act on the law. But our concern here is that um, no real clear reasons were given.'
Kara Bowlin, Mayor Francis Slay's press secretary, released a statement last night saying, "The city acted legally, in the best interest of the neighborhood, and most importantly, in the best interest of the homeless people. Encampments are not humane places to live."
Rice says he`s meeting in a week with up to 100 ministers on the homeless camp issue.
Rice tells us if he files a lawsuit, it would likely be in federal court within 30 days.