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Volunteers charged for feeding homeless

Posted at 3:39 AM, Jan 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-16 03:39:18-05

EL CAJON, CA (KUSI/CNN) – In what a group of activists called an intentional act of civil disobedience, at least one dozen people now face misdemeanor charges for feeding the homeless in a public park.

Volunteers and groups showed up Sunday to the park in El Cajon, CA, to hand out food, clothes, shoes and toiletries, according to KNTV.

But a new law in the city makes it illegal to share food in public places. The ordinance is necessary to prevent the spread of hepatitis A, the city says.

Police wrote up citations for each person of the activist group who were seen handing out food, including a 14-year-old, KNTV reports.

The 12 violators were charged with a misdemeanor and now face court dates.

The activists say it shouldn’t be a crime to feed the homeless and the ordinance is discriminatory because it allows people at a birthday party or wedding to share food.

A lawyer for the 12 charged plans to file motions to dismiss the misdemeanor charges and file an injunction against the city, according to KNTV.

Each person could face a $1,000 fine and jail time.

The group’s intentional act of civil disobedience was in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., one violator said Monday.

Copyright 2018 KUSI via CNN. All rights reserved.