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Florida man faces trial for feeding homeless

Defies Orlando ban on nosh for dossers

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A Florida man who deliberately defied an Orlando ordinance which prohibits feeding the city's homeless will become the first person to face trial for the offence when he's hauled before a judge and jury.

According to wftv.com, 22-year-old Eric Montanez was in April this year caught on video camera providing nourishment to a group of the less fortunate in Lake Eola Park in contravention of the ban on "mass feeding in one area". He was duly cuffed for his trouble.

Montanez is a member of campaigning group Food Not Bombs, which on Monday morning returned to Lake Eola Park and "served breakfast to about 100 Montanez supporters, most of them homeless" at the start of a defiant, three-day "ladle fest".

Montanez said: "The law itself should be illegal. Feeding people should not be criminalised. Being poor should not be criminalised." He added: "We're ready to take this on."

The prosecution will present the video footage as proof of the charitable perp's guilt. The defence will argue he "did nothing wrong, because every feeding that he participated in was done at a public park".

Homeless man Lamont Robinson offered: "Me personally, I think that's discriminating for one." Fellow street dweller Melvin Moore chipped in with: "We're out here trying to survive from day to day life and this gentleman over here is helping us."

George Crossley of the American Civil Liberties Union summed up the whole affair with: "There are a lot better things for law enforcement to be doing in this town, but this was an outrage."

The penalty for illicit mass feeding in Orlando is not noted, although Montanez should be aware that Florida's most hardened criminals may face the electric chair or lethal injection gurney. ®

Bootnote

The usual ta very much to regular Chris Winpenny for the heads-up.

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