Activists in West Palm Beach Face Charges for Sharing Food with Homeless Community

Activists in West Palm Beach Face Charges for Sharing Food with Homeless Community

Three activists from the collective Food Not Bombs in West Palm Beach, Florida, are facing criminal charges for sharing food with the homeless community. The City Council implemented an ordinance in March that requires a permit for feeding people during large group events. Violating the permit can result in a $500 fine or 60 days in jail. Since the ordinance went into effect, at least 10 other activists have been cited. The activists have pleaded not guilty to the charges and are fighting the ordinance in court.

According to the activists, they reject the permit requirement based on a similar legal situation in nearby Fort Lauderdale. In the case of Food Not Bombs v. City of Fort Lauderdale, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that feeding the homeless is protected by the First Amendment as “expressive conduct.” The activists in West Palm Beach hope to challenge the ordinance based on this precedent.

Food Not Bombs has been providing meals to the homeless community in West Palm Beach for over 16 years. In addition to sharing food, the group also promotes anti-capitalist politics through literature. The activists argue that there is a growing homeless population in Florida, with the state having the third-largest homeless population in the country.

The trial for the three activists is set to take place in November. They plan to sue the city to have the ordinance removed after the trial concludes. Other Food Not Bombs groups across the country, including in Houston, Memphis, and Las Vegas, have also faced legal challenges to their food-sharing activities.

Author: CrimeDoor

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