In Bullhead City, Arizona, feeding those living on the streets without a permit is punishable by a jail term
FILE PHOTO: Two homeless man talk at their tents in Phoenix, Arizona, May 20, 2022 © AP / Ross D. Franklin
An Arizona woman sued her city on Tuesday over a law that punishes feeding the homeless in public parks with a four-month prison sentence. The 78-year-old was arrested under the law for distributing food from a van.
Norma Thornton was brought to court in April, a month after she was ticketed for feeding homeless people in Bullhead Community Park without a permit. She was the first person punished under an ordinance passed by the city’s council a year earlier with the goal of deterring the homeless from congregating in parks.
While charges against Thornton were dropped, she filed a lawsuit on Tuesday and is seeking an injunction to stop the city enforcing the ordinance.
“Bullhead City has criminalized kindness,” Thornton’s attorney told Phoenix TV station KPHO. “The City Council passed an ordinance that makes it a crime punishable by four months imprisonment to share food in public parks for charitable purposes.”