WASHINGTON — A group of homeless people, with the help of a team of attorneys, has filed a class-action lawsuit, claiming Washington, D.C. workers are improperly throwing out their belongings during sweeps of street encampments.

The Washington Post reports the lawsuit filed Wednesday claims the city government and the mayor are violating the 4th Amendment’s protections against unreasonable searches and seizures.

The lawsuit alleges government workers have ignored a city protocol requiring that possessions confiscated during the clearing of homeless encampments be stored for up to 60 days. Its claims the city has followed a practice of destroying unattended belongings whenever the owner is absent for some or all of a clearing.

Sean Barry with the city’s deputy mayor for health and human services says the district cleared encampments in a manner that’s respectful of the homeless and their belongings.

Information from: The Washington Post, http://www.washingtonpost.com