Police ticketed a homeless man in San Francisco for eating pizza at a bus shelter.
The San Francisco Examiner reports that the Coalition on Homelessness brought attention to the ticket after the elderly man sought help from the group.
Kelley Cutler, who works for the homeless outreach organization, shared a photo of the citation on Twitter, along with the caption, “A senior came to the office for citation defense because he received a ticket for eating pizza at the bus stop.”
The citation described the offense as “eating in the shelter.”
Cutler told SFGate that, while eating on public transit is prohibited in the city, the rule is rarely enforced. She further said she had never seen it enforced at a bus shelter, and said citing the elderly man was “a real waste of police services.”
However, she noted that the man appeared to be amused at the situation.
“Some people get agitated or upset, but he was being a good sport,” Cutler she told SFGate. “He laughed about it.”
San Francisco Police Department spokesperson Grace Gatpandan acknowledged that the citation “won’t go anywhere,” but said the officer issued the ticket after a recent stabbing at the bus shelter. She also said multiple residents complained about people drinking and smoking at the bus stop.
Cutler said judges normally dismiss such citations for most homeless or low-income residents, and won’t require them to pay for the tickets, which carry a fine of $250. But even so, she noted the process of getting such citations dismissed often takes over 20 hours of work.
“The consequence is having to go through the process,” Cutler said.