Springfield residents file class action lawsuit against Sheriff' - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Springfield residents file class action lawsuit against Sheriff's Department

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A class action lawsuit has been filed against the Hampden County Sheriff's Department by residents who won't allow a treatment center to be built in their neighborhood.

The Sheriff's office has remained tight-lipped about the lawsuit. But, residents say this is just the beginning and they will not give up the fight.

11 North End residents are suing Sheriff Michael Ashe, Wason Ave. Partners, Thomas Henshon, and The Division of Capital Management and Maintenance. They're "seeking declaratory judgment on illegal acts of Sheriff Michael Ashe and compensatory damages".

"He has chosen the poorest, most racially diverse community to put this jail in. To say I'm going to use the Dover Amendment and I'm going to put it in the North End of Springfield. Why hasn't he put it in Longmeadow? Why hasn't he put it in Wilbraham? Sheriff Ashe, I'd suggest, would never get away with what he's done thus far in those communities," said Attorney Shawn Allyn.

Attorney Allyn says the Dover Amendment is about non-profit organizations that have an educational purpose. He and residents argue that this is not the purpose of the treatment center. This will be the main focus in the courtroom.

"We're standing up for our people, for our residents, for our neighborhood," said Gloria Rivas. "I don't disagree with the program. I just don't like the place it's going to be at."

Gloria Rivas has been a North End resident for 30 years. She is also listed as one of the plaintiffs. She says she's upset with the lack of communication that has led to this point. 

"We have children. We walk here all the time. There's going to be strangers coming in and out of the neighborhood. I don't see why there? Why there? We refuse to have it there, and we are taxpayers were homeowners. And were going to fight this," said Juana Girona.

The amount of money the plaintiffs are seeking is still being discussed.

Sheriff Michael Ashe's office had no comment.

Other residents say they are in the process of adding their names as well. 

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