Police showed up at the gathering in downtown Houston last Thursday afternoon where several people had agreed to hand out hot meals and other supplies to help the homeless through Christmas.
Along with several squad cars, the police brought with them a large waste management truck for the homeless to throw all the gifts into, including things such as blankets and pillows.
Several eyewitnesses recorded the footage and lambasted the police force for continuing to enforce the “feeding ordinance” law that says you need a permit to feed the homeless.
“I was just informed that a group of people came to pass out free food and other gifts to the homeless in downtown Houston,” ChaMira L. Keener wrote in a post that has been shared more than 20,000 times.
“Not only were the police called, but they brought a large waste management truck and are forcing the homeless to throw away their food, pillows and other items,” she added.
Local activist Shere Dore filmed her conversation with two police officers after they arrived on the scene – but before they had begun throwing away the gifts.
“I’m highly disturbed because lots of these items were not only given to the homeless by the community, but some of the blankets and jackets were literally purchased by homeless advocates like myself,” Dore told Anti-Media.
“HPD and the City of Houston are taking our cash and throwing it in the trash. At what point will our police stand up and say that this is wrong to do to people?”
The ordinance prohibiting the sharing of food with more than five people at a time, without fulfilling requirements set out by the city council, was passed in 2012. The ordinance requires persons to fill out an application form to feed someone on someone else’s private property or on public property.
While critics call the law “anti-food sharing,” the city argues it is put in place to stop the enabling of homeless and to protect them from food that might not have been cooked in a certified kitchen.
Some 75,000 activists signed a petition in November that was delivered to City Hall in the hope of eliminating the ordinance.