After handing out food, clothes, shoes and toiletries to homeless people at Wells Park in El Cajon, California on Sunday, 12 people were cited and face misdemeanor charges.
All 12 of them said they plan to take legal action against the city of El Cajon, reported NBC 7 San Diego.
The generous people don’t mind being punished for doing the right thing.
“If I’m going to be arrested for something, let it be for feeding the homeless,” said Matthew Schneck, who was cited Sunday. “I’m not going to apologize for doing the right thing.”
Even 14-year-old Ever Parmley was not exempt from the citations handed out by El Cajon police.
All 12 helpers were charged with a misdemeanor for violating El Cajon municipal code 1.28.010, which started in October 2017, during the height of the Hepatitis A outbreak.
Charles Marks told the news station, “I’ve been given a court date under the impression this represents being arrested on a misdemeanor, but it’s just a citation.”
The ordinance was passed to try to stop the spread of the virus, and prohibits “food sharing” in all public spaces.
In November, Councilmember Ben Kalasho told NBC 7, “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.”
An attorney representing all 12 people said he believes the actual motive behind the ban is to get homeless people out of the city.
“It was really a disguise,” said attorney Scott Dreher. “People were complaining homeless people will come to the park if you give them free stuff.”
Dreher plans to file motions to dismiss the misdemeanor charges and file an injunction against the city. At their court dates, each person could face jail time and a $1,000 fine.