A homeless man in Louisiana has the Internet divided after his picture was posted to the Slidell Police Facebook page where he was publicly shamed for having $800 in his pocket at the time of his arrest.
The man, 59-year-old Franklin Jones, had reportedly been begging around the same intersection for a year, and at the time of his apprehension had more cash on his person than a lot of families make in a week.
The police department attempted to illustrate through their post how difficult it is to do their job in relation to homelessness. On the one hand, the page notes, they are derided for “harassing” individuals like this homeless man, but if they do nothing, they’re told to “do their jobs.”
“Transients, also known as beggars or homeless, are often a hot topic of debate for Slidell residents,” the post states. “There are people who feel these individuals all need to be arrested. Some feel they should offer help. Literally, every day, someone either calls Slidell Police or sends us a message on Facebook asking us to do something about this problem.”
The post continued.
“Offering help: We continue to offer help, but when you can make $800 in less than a week by ‘begging,’ some people say, ‘Why get a real job?’ We’ve found jobs for people. We’ve offered assistance by bringing some of these individuals to rehab facilities. Bottom line is, it’s up to the individual person if they want help or not. All we can do is guide them in the right direction. We can’t force people to do things.”
Jones, pictured above, was not arrested by police for begging as that is not against the law in Slidell, but he was brought into custody after becoming intoxicated and publicly urinating on a street in view of a woman and her child.
When Slidell authorities responded to her call, they found the $800 on Jones. They also snapped his picture and posted it to the Facebook page, after which it was picked up by national sites like ABC News.
Some felt the Slidell Police had no right to do this.
“Irresponsible post…now you’re going to have a problem with transient robbery. I guess protect and serve only applies to some citizens,” wrote one commenter.
“Let me say this,” wrote another, “if he had $800 on his person this tells me he is actually legit and saving his money. The broke ones are the ones to watch as they are mostly supporting their addiction, Herion [sic] is a huge problem much bigger in fact than most realize. This is the result of the recent crackdown on pain Management Clinics…. Mark my words! and leave these people alone…. Better a Begger [sic] who asks as opposed to a Burglar’s home invasion hello??”
What do you think of how the police handled this homeless man? Sound off in the comments section below.
[Image via Slidell Police Facebook]