I suspect we will hear more stories like this in the days, weeks, months to come. Why this police officer could not take this man to church or shelter is beyond me.
ATLANTA – A man who fled Louisiana with his family to escape Hurricane Katrina was arrested for asking motorists for money in this city where banning panhandling has been a hotly debated issue.
James Scott says he had slept in a car for days with his brother, sister and her two young children before they decided to ask for help.
Nearly broke, the family drove to Buckhead, an affluent north Atlanta neighborhood Thursday and got out near a shopping mall, hoping for the charity of others.
“It’s the most expensive mall in Atlanta,” Scott said. “I thought I could get some help.”
After a half hour of asking passing motorists for help, Scott was approached by a policeman on a bicycle. Scott showed the officer his Louisiana driver’s license, his car tag and his car registration — proof that he was not a local homeless person, but an evacuee down on his luck in an unfamiliar city. He was arrested for soliciting.
“I asked the cop, ‘You can’t feel my pain?’” said Scott, who added that another officer gave him $7 as he was taken to jail.