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Originally posted by djzombie
Activist Arrested For Feeding Homeless At Lake Eola
(visit the link for the full news article)
ORLANDO, Fla. -- A man was thrown in jail for trying to help the homeless and, he said, he's willing to do it again. Eric Montanez bonded out of jail, Thursday.
Montanez was charged with violating Orlando's new city ordinance that bans feeding homeless people gathered in a large group. The arrested activist told Eyewitness News he'll keep fighting.
Police said Montanez, 21, with the group Food Not Bombs, broke the law by feeding more than 25 people, as Orlando's ordinance allows, inside Lake Eola's park on Wednesday. But Montanez is insistent he did nothing wrong.
"It is not against the law to feed people as much as they want to criminalize the help of the homelessness," he told Eyewitness News.
Undercover officers worked surveillance and counted how many people Montanez fed, 30. Police even took some stew served, as evidence.
Montanez said the city reversed its position after saying it wouldn't try to enforce the ordinance until the ACLU lawsuit worked its way through the courts.
An affidavit said Montanez was only arrested because he attempted to conceal his identity and threw his ID.
"I had it in my hand. They cuffed me and they dragged me off. I can't hold onto things with handcuffs on my hands," he said.
"There are a lot better things for law enforcement to be doing in this town. This was an outrage," said George Crossley, Central Florida ACLU.
The mayor's office did not respond to calls from Eyewitness News on Thursday. Orlando police said they are simply enforcing the laws. But the ACLU claims it's just another example of the harassment it endures, as its group and several others try to help those in need.
The ACLU believes the ordinance itself is unconstitutional. Homeless supporters had gotten around the law by having several groups present, with each not feeding more than 25 people.
Montanez said he won't be scared off.
"You'll see me out there," he said.
Montanez faces a misdemeanor charge for feeding a large group in a city-owned park. According to police, no organization had obtained the required permit for Wednesday's group feeding.
[edit on 23-3-2009 by djzombie]
Originally posted by nixie_nox
ok, gonna have to play devils advocate here. Is it wonderful this man wants to help the homeless? Absolutely.
Does it suck he is arrested? yes.
basically feeding homeless people in large groups is like running a business or a restaurant or a soup kitchen. Most likely he doesn't have a permit... nothing.
So do you really want an untrained person feeding large groups of people who knows what?
What if the food is contaminated? Then you have 200 sick homeless people flooding the emergency room. Who is gonna foot the bill?
If he really wants to help.. volunteer, make donations, get the proper license.
Orlando police arrested five more activists from behind a makeshift buffet table at Lake Eola Park on Wednesday evening, bringing to a dozen the number charged in the past week with violating city restrictions on feeding the homeless.
The members of the group "Food Not Bombs" were ladling out corn on the cob, rice, beans and watermelon to about 35 people when they were handcuffed. About two dozen activists and homeless people booed and chanted "Food is a right, not a privilege" as they were loaded into a waiting police van.
Originally posted by kyred
Wow, Jesus is said to have fed 5000 people once. I guess he would get life in prison in Florida for this supposed act. What the hell kind of law is this those folks down there have created? In Lexington, KY there are groups of homeless much higher in number than this who meet in a city park in the evening and people come by and feed them.