St. Louis Chief Joe Mokwa is investigating how a private booster group obtained vehicle registration information on people giving food to homeless people downtown, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The information was used by the Downtown St. Louis Partnership, which monitored the park for three months and compiled a list of more than two dozen people and groups that passed out goods to the homeless. The list was given to city department that used it to convene a meeting with the groups. The Downtown Partnership and the police department have been named in a federal suit alleging homeless people were wrongfully jailed to clear the streets during a fair.
Some downtown residents have complained that people delivering food to the park contribute to the homeless population. An official of the partnership said that the license plate numbers were provided to the police, who told the partnership who the cars were registered to and their addresses. Under the federal Driver’s Privacy Protection Act, personal information on vehicle registration is not accessible to the general public. “As I’m reprimanding the people involved, I’ll know they meant well,” Mokwa said. “That doesn’t excuse their mistake though.”