El Cajon, CA — In spite of the myriad of stories over the years, in which police and governments across the United States have been exposed as tyrants, cities and their armed agents continue to persecute good people who help those less fortunate than them. The latest case of police oppressing those who'd dare to help the homeless comes out of El Cajon, California this week in which more than a dozen good Samaritans were arrested.
In October of last year, the El Cajon City Council unanimously voted to ban the act of sharing food on city-owned property. This ban was put in place for the ostensible purpose of preventing the spread of hepatitis A.
While the government held the fear of hep A over everyone's head as a reason to not share food, their hypocrisy was revealed in the details of the law.
If a group of people attempts to hand out food as a charitable act, they are in violation of the law and are subject to arrest. However, if a group of people hands out food for non-charitable acts—such as birthday parties, group events, etc.—then they are not in violation of the law and are not subject to arrest.
Naturally, the good citizens of El Cajon saw the law for what it is—as hep A certainly cannot differentiate between charitable and non-charitable food—and they moved to stop this war on the homeless.
A group called Break the Ban organized the event on Sunday knowing they were in violation of the law but also knowing that what they were doing was morally right.
“It was absolutely necessary to break this law until they were willing to enforce it, and, now that they have, we will continue this fight in court,” said another organizer, Shane Parmely.
Mark Lane, one of the organizers of the event told the San Diego Union-Tribune that more than a dozen people—including a 14-year-old child—were arrested at the Wells Park.
Showing the sheer hypocritical nature of the arrests, the group was also handing out toiletries which would actually help to prevent the spread of hep A, yet they were still arrested.
"This park is part of city property so you aren't allowed to food share," the officer in the video below says. “...If you guys continue to food share, then you guys are subject to arrest, all right?"
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Knowing that what they were doing was right, despite the police making their announcement, the group disobeyed and continued to hand out food and supplies to the homeless.
That is when the arrests began.
Most of the folks arrested were each charged with a misdemeanor for violating El Cajon municipal code 1.28.010, which prohibits "food sharing" in public spaces for charitable reasons.
In what was likely a PR move by police, none of the people who were arrested were actually taken to jail. Instead, they were given notices to appear in court for their charges.
Smugly speaking to NBC 7, Councilmember Ben Kalasho addressed the good Samaritans, telling them that if they really wanted to help “you can go out there, pick them up, take them back to your house and feed them and board them and room them and have them take a shower if you're really wanting to help."
However, this would most likely be against some other ordinance. As TFTP reported last week, cities have ordinances in places that prohibit property owners from providing temporary refuge to homeless people unless they meet rigorous industrial standards.
Greg Schiller, a good Samaritan in Chicago, learned the hard way about the police state who forced him to stop helping homeless people by threatening to condemn his home and charge him.
The good news is that the kind-hearted folks at Break the Ban have no intention of stopping what they are doing. They are going to continue to break the law because people need their help.
“Our goal is to get the ban overturned and sit down and figure out how to humanely deal with something that's not going away,” Lane said.
Change does not come from sitting idly by and rolling over. True change comes when good people decide it is time to break bad laws.