INDIANAPOLIS — A federal judge has ordered the East Chicago Housing Authority and the city’s police department to stop searching public housing property without warrants or residents’ consent, calling such action unconstitutional.

The (Northwest Indiana) Times reports ( ) that Wednesday’s ruling was in response to a class action lawsuit that the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana filed on behalf of all tenants of East Chicago Housing Authority units.

The ruling also applies to the use of drug-sniffing dogs in the halls and units of apartment buildings without a warrant or voluntary consent — something the housing authority and the police did at least once a year.

ACLU attorney Jan Mensz says “indigent citizens cannot be asked to forgo their Fourth Amendment rights as a condition for living in subsidized housing.”

Information from: The Times,