Nine individuals have been arrested on misdemeanor charges after handing out food and supplies to homeless individuals in a local park. The California city created an ordinance against handing out food and supplies to homeless individuals after an outbreak of Hepatitis A. After the release of the ordinance, a community group was formed to support feeding the homeless, and now some members of this group may be contemplating their criminal defense.
The city of El Cajon has dealt with some issues related to homeless individuals sleeping in a park. While most people's reactions include feelings of empathy and generosity toward these people, the city has also had to contend with diseases related to the housing issue. The ordinance against food sharing in public spaces was a result of an attempt to stop the outbreak. Unfortunately, it also limited the ability for the homeless to access food support from aid groups.
Some community members responded to what they felt was an unfair restriction by forming a group that handed out food, supplies and toiletries to individuals in city spaces. Nine volunteers were recently arrested after handing out goods in the park. Each was charged with a misdemeanor but was not led away from the park in handcuffs.
City officials defend the ordinance as good hygiene. The group members hope to change the California policy. Each person will likely be building a criminal defense as they await their day in court. Many individuals, including activists, choose to rely on the services of a criminal defense attorney for help in defending against criminal charges.
Source: Newsweek, "Nine Slapped With Criminal Charges After Handing Out Food to Homeless in El Cajon, California", Tom Porter, Jan. 15, 2018