CITIZENS ARRESTED FOR GIVING AWAY FOOD
|January 9, 2007||Posted by Staff under Progress Report, The Progress Report|
Police Priorities are Ridiculous
TWO CITIZENS ARRESTED FOR GIVING AWAY FOOD TO NEEDY
(Publisher’s note — So they’re arresting people who serve food to the hungry. Does this mean that the police have already solved all the violent crimes and are running out of things to do? Alas, no. It means that someone powerful is telling the police that serving food is more troublesome than selling drugs or committing a robbery.)
San Francisco — Police arrested two Food Not Bombs activists, Oct. 20th at 6pm in United Nations Plaza. FNB volunteers were distributing free food to low-income and no-income people in the plaza when the police arrived. The police surrounded the food and prevented homeless people from getting bread and hot soup.
Food Not Bombs is a nonviolent organization that shares free food with poor and hungry people around the world. FNB groups collect donated food and prepare meals in volunteers’ kitchens. The meals are shared in public spaces to draw attention to the crisis of homelessness while an enormous amount of taxpayer money goes to military investment.
In San Francisco, Food Not Bombs has experienced police harassment and political repression from the City government. FNB has shared hundreds of thousands of vegetarian meals with poor and hungry people since 1988. In the last elections, the current administration of Mayor Willie Brown promised voters that he would cease arresting FNB members. Homelessness is the central issue in the upcoming mayoral elections; with this increasing harassment, Mayor Brown is demonstrating his approach.
FNB volunteers Jeff and Sasha were handcuffed together and arrested for serving food to hungry people after Officer Banta told them to stop serving and they continued. The large amount of soup and bread still remaining was also carted off by the police. People who were there to eat questioned the police on why the servers were being arrested, and the police said “for serving food without a permit.” (The permit in question is no longer issued by the city, and has been used for years as a political tool for selective enforcement.) As legal observers, they took down the officers’ names in order to contact their supervisors and file complaints about the ridiculousness of arresting people for serving free food.
FNB members were able to serve food for ten minutes before police officers came to arrest them. The police confiscated and photographed the soup and bread as evidence after arresting the servers.
“Food Not Bombs is continuing to build community support to end the political harassment of those who support the homeless community, and to make the criminalization of poverty unacceptable. FNB will not reduce or restrict our servings, and we will not compromise our advocacy of the people who are under constant attack by the government of San Francisco.”
You can find more information on Food Not Bombs at their web site, http://www.foodnotbombs.org
How about that? What are your law enforcement priorities? Tell your opinion to The Progress Report!