Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Recent Media Coverage,
Food Not Bombs & Feeding the Hungry,
Eric Montanez, Not Guilty

October 9, 2007

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Jury Delivers Verdict In Homeless Feeding Trial

The first man arrested in Orlando's crackdown on food sharing in public parks was found not guilty by a jury on Tuesday afternoon.

Eric Montanez admitted he opposes the ordinance but claimed on the day he was arrested he wasn't protesting the law but instead following it, WESH 2 News reported.

Just minutes before his court appearance, Montanez was feeding the homeless in Lake Eola.

October 10, 2007

Feeding the Hungry is a Crime

The stake-out was almost comical in its absurdity:

On April 4, 2007, undercover police counted how many times Eric Montanez, a 22-year-old volunteer with Food Not Bombs, dipped a serving ladle into a pot and handed stew to hungry people.

Once Montanez had dished up 30 bowls, the police moved in, collecting a vial of the stew for evidence as they arrested him for violating an Orlando, Fla., city ordinance: feeding a large group. Two days into his trial yesterday, Montanez was acquitted by a jury of the misdemeanor charge, but was cautioned to obey the law.

As activists celebrate the verdict, the Orlando Police Department has said it will continue to ordinance, making the fight for the free flow of food in the city far from over.

“He is on trial for the crime of feeding the homeless—literally,” says George Crossley, a member of the Stop the Ordinance Partnership (S.T.O.P.), an alliance of 19 advocacy groups, including Orlando branches of Code Pink, the NAACP, and the National Organization for Women.

October 8, 2007

UPDATED: October 9, 2007

Group Protests Member's Arrest With Food Food Not Bombs Feeds The Homeless Despite Bans

ORLANDO, Fla. -- The local chapter of Food Not Bombs protested the arrest of one of its members in Orlando on Monday.

They said Eric Montanez is going on trial for feeding the hungry.

Food Not Bombs protested by doing exactly what an ordinance stated they should not do; they gathered the homeless in a public area and fed them.

October 8, 2007
UPDATED: October 8, 2007

Group Intentionally Violating City Ordinance During "Ladle Fest"

ORLANDO, Fla. -- A controversial city ordinance has led to a number of protests and now a trial. An Orlando man is the first person to face a jury for feeding the homeless.

It's the first trial of its kind. A man is facing a judge and jury for violating Orlando's ban on feeding the homeless. Eric Montanez, 22, was caught feeding a group in Lake Eola Park earlier this year. The prosecution told Eyewitness News their case rests on video taken of Montanez feeding the homeless, breaking Orlando's feeding ban.

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