Cheyenne, WY -- A heartening trend is growing on social media showing that people are waking up to the state persecuting individuals over victimless crimes. The latest example of this trend comes from the Cheyenne Police Department who posted a photo of money they seized from a homeless man and then attempted to justify and brag about it. When people read the department's post, they lashed out — peacefully — to let them know what they were doing is wrong.
The department's post has since gone viral, prompting both praise and scorn for their ridiculous image bragging about stealing money from a homeless man because he was drunk.
The image was posted with the following statement:
Yesterday, July 22, we arrested a transient for public intoxication. This is a person we frequently deal with, but we want to illustrate that there are better ways to help the transient population than to give them money for panhandling. This person collected $234.94 in just a few hours of asking for money. Rather than feeding someone's alcohol addiction, you can donate directly to local charities such as the Comea Shelter where your money will assist the homeless in a much more effective way.
Aside from the sheer lack of humanity of this post, the police department's choice to lay out the money and the sign they took from this homeless man highlights a much deeper problem among police and the homeless.
One person in the comments explained it succinctly.
Who did this person harm? What damage did he cause? Is there a victim? If the answer to these questions is no, you had no authority to touch this person.
Beat downs and arrests by police are, unfortunately, becoming a larger and larger part of the homeless culture.
Whether the dehumanization is to make way for the up and coming comic book festival or just a run of the mill sadistic police gang murder, homeless folks in the US are finding themselves in an increasingly hostile police state.
Cops in Saginaw, Michigan, who shot and killed homeless Saginaw resident Milton Hall, in firing squad fashion, during a confrontation in a shopping plaza parking lot were told that they won't be facing any charges. Who cares about one dead homeless guy, right?
Not only are police attacking the homeless, but they are also attacking people for helping the homeless.
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In a disgusting display of totalitarianism, Daytona Police descended upon a group of Good Samaritans who were feeding homeless people in a public park. They were told that if they tried to come back in the park, they would be arrested.
In this post, they also tell people not to help the homeless. Who gets to decide how much money a homeless man can have? Is $234.94 too much? If he had $100, would they have laid it out and made a Facebook post about it? If he wasn't homeless, would they have made a Facebook post at all?
Another Facebook user pointed this out too.
So if I get arrested for public intoxication you're gonna count how much money I have in my wallet?
When apologists attempted to answer this person's question by claiming that police inventory everything a person gets arrested with, he weighed back in again and made the point entirely clear.
You're missing the point of the post. No, they wouldn't count, and post the amount of money in my wallet. They are only pushing the stigma that homeless people are drunks and are undeserving of money that people choose to give to them.
With an increase in unemployment and skyrocketing foreclosures stoking homelessness in the US, the government is making it harder than ever to be homeless. It is becoming a crime.
Legislative measures that criminalize the terrible situation of being down on your luck are steadily increasing in the US and this Facebook post illustrates it perfectly. As one Facebook user pointed out:
Arresting someone strictly for intoxication undermines American freedom so much. That's letting the state dictate what people choose to do with their own bodies and lives. Once again, mainly so he state can further extort money from said person after their rights are violated. Don't pretend you care about addicts. The state has shown time and time again it isn't compassionate for drug addicts.
As the laws to make homelessness illegal are increasing, the government facilities to help the homeless have been decreasing. However, that didn't stop the Cheyenne police from telling people to stop voluntarily giving spare change to beggars. Fortunately, however, people saw through it.
Just when I think this place can't get any more backward. I will give MY money to whoever I please. You're seriously telling us, like we're children, how we should treat people? If someone stands on a corner and collects what we consider to be "too much" money, more power to them. It's OUR money to give or keep as we please. Because of this post, I'm going, right now, to each exit, where they usually hang out, and each one is getting $20.
Thank you, Cheyenne Police Department for making this post and allowing people to call you out for it. Every one of the comments in opposition to arresting a man for a victimless crime and bragging about it on Facebook give us that much more faith in humanity.