SLIDELL, La. – Authorities in Louisiana have created a public discussion about homelessness in their city after a series of controversial Facebook posts.
On May 21, officers arrested a man after a woman called police, saying she and her children saw the man urinating on the side of the road.
The Slidell Police Department posted his picture on its Facebook page.
Several citizens asked the department why they couldn’t arrest other panhandlers in the area.
The next day, the department posted another picture and an explanation.
“Mr. Jones has been begging for money at the intersection of Gause and Interstate 10 for well over a year. Mr. Jones has been offered a job on multiple occasions, but chooses not to work because he makes a better living by begging people for money. Due to a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, it is perfectly legal for Mr. Jones to beg for money.”
After officers received an indecent exposure call on Jones, he was taken into custody.
“Mr. Jones was subsequently arrested and found with over $800 cash in his pockets. (For those of you wondering, Mr. Jones’ money was not seized. It is his to keep).”
The post sparked a debate on social media.
Some people said it is better to show compassion to others than not help someone who may really need it.
Others say the system needs to be changed to prevent people from abusing the kindness of others.
Many people criticized the police department, saying it is no one’s business how much money he has and should not be expressed on social media.
They say officers should not be involved in “public shaming.”
The post had over 800 shares, 600 likes and hundreds of comments on Facebook.