Residents file federal lawsuit for removal of McMicken barriers - 19 Action News|Cleveland, OH|News, Weather, Sports

Residents file lawsuit to remove McMicken prostitution barriers

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The barriers were put up in April to reduce prostitution in the area. FOX19/Mike Buckingham The barriers were put up in April to reduce prostitution in the area. FOX19/Mike Buckingham
As of Thursday morning, the barriers were moved to the side of the road. FOX19/Mike Buckingham As of Thursday morning, the barriers were moved to the side of the road. FOX19/Mike Buckingham
CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -

Residents are taking action after their street was barricaded in an effort to reduce prostitution along McMicken Avenue.

A federal lawsuit was filed against the city of Cincinnati this week by six McMicken residents, asking for damages caused by the barriers. Erected in April, the barriers were an attempt by the city to stop a rash of prostitution in the Mohawk Area of West McMicken. 

One of the residents said in the lawsuit that she has physical disabilities and has been adversely affected by the barriers because public transportation is no longer accessible near her house.

Another resident with asthma said that emergency response times have slower because of the barricades.

Some of the other complaints include residents having to walk long distances in the dark, being unable to invite visitors over without subjecting them to police search and interrogation, and being treated differently just because of where they live.

While the case is being heard, the residents filed a temporary restraining order for the city to have the barriers removed. They also ask the city to notify Queen City Metro that they can restore bus service, to have law enforcement stop detaining motorists and to stop searching vehicles that pass through the area.

As of Thursday morning, the barriers were moved to the side of the road and the street appeared accessible to vehicles. But according to city spokesman Rocky Merz, the removal of the barriers had nothing to do with the lawsuit.

Merz says the placement of the barriers was part of a temporary 90-day program set forth by city council. The 90 days expired on July 29, which is why the barriers were moved.

Now City Council will have to decide if they want to put the barriers back up. Council is in recess right now so the earliest they could vote is next week.

As far as the lawsuit goes, Merz says the city solicitor doesn't believe there is any merit to the lawsuit. He says businesses and other community members in the West McMicken Improvement Association support the use of the barriers.

Related content:

Barricades aim to reduce prostitution along McMicken Street corridor

City installs prostitution 'barricades'

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