Submitted to It’s Going Down
Several Tampa Food Not Bombs members were arrested on January 7th, 2017 at Lykes Gaslight Park in downtown Tampa while holding their regular Saturday food share in defiance of an unjust city ordinance that criminalizes mutual aid.
On Tuesday, January 10th at 8 AM, members and supporters of Tampa Food Not Bombs will once again share food with the houseless and hungry in downtown Tampa. An action, following an announcement by Tampa Police Department officers on Saturday, January 8th at 4pm to cease and desist per Tampa City ordinance 16-43(c) or face arrest, law enforcement officers arrested seven members of the group, all of whom were later released with notices to appear in court.
Previously, Food Not Bombs organizer Dezeray Lyn was detained for 30 minutes during a regular food sharing on January 3rd and told to stop sharing food without a permit. Prior to this incident, Tampa Food Not Bombs had shared food since at least the Fall of 2011 without any attempted enforcement of the ordinance by the City of Tampa.
One member was arrested for the same ordinance in March of 2004. The city eventually dropped the charges, stopped enforcement, and agreed to change the ordinance. “Hunger and homelessness is everybody’s responsibility,” Jimmy Dunson says. “If the city will not address these problems, the least they can do is not get in the way and stop others from addressing these needs. Compassion should never be criminalized.”