SAPD Ticketed Good Samaritan For Feeding Homeless People

Being a good samaritan is apparently a criminal offense in San Antonio. - DAVID MARTIN DAVIES/TEXAS PUBLIC RADIO
David Martin Davies/Texas Public Radio
Being a good samaritan is apparently a criminal offense in San Antonio.

With Easter out of the way and Fiesta on the horizon, local good samaritan Joan Cheever is mad as hell — for good reason, too.

Last week, Cheever, who runs The Chow Train, a nonprofit that provides hot restaurant quality meals — that are healthy — to the Alamo City's homeless, was feeding hungry people at Maverick Park.

Then the San Antonio Police Department showed up.

On The Chow Train's Facebook page, Cheever acknowledged the ticket.

Yes my friends it is true. I just received a ticket -ONE OF THE FIRST IN THE CITY— for being a GOOD SAMaritan.

No worries — it was a great meal & my loyal & focused group of volunteers just kept plating dinners & seconds& thirds— to a very hungry & appreciative group— while I talked to the bike cops from SAPD. I gave them a copy of the Texas law. & the federal law, the U.S. Constitution & the federal case out of Dallas ( Dallas lost BIG TIME) on the same issue 2 years ago & the judge was so mad he fined the City of Dallas $250,000 plus more for issuing citations, fines & harassment.

when one of the officers asked me what right he was infringing upon— I told him my right to practice my religion.

The Bible says— "when I was homeless you fed me."

The officer said, "Mam, if you want to pray, go to church."

I said " I pray while I serve the homeless." I don't have to go to church to pray. 

There will be a candlelight vigil at 8 p.m. in Maverick Park tonight.

Texas Public Radio's David Martin Davies happened to be with Cheever when the SAPD cited her and captured the exchange on audio.

According to the San Antonio Express-News, Cheever could be fined up to $2,000 for transporting and serving meals in a vehicle that was not The Chow Train food truck.

Cheever says the SAPD violated her rights under the Texas Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

And she's not happy about it:

Just so you know IT IS A CRIME in this city to feed the homeless, the poor & the food insecure. That's what they say but we know that's not the law.

Are we a city of hate or love? I asked the officers & I responded first & I say without any hesitation - SAN ANTONIO IS A CITY OF LOVE AND COMPASSION. We are a community who takes CARE of each other.
nite all & thank you to everyone who supports the chow train.

I'm just sorry for the FOUR MEMBERS OF SAPD bike patrol ( who by the way, I immediately asked if I could serve them dinner) — I'm so sorry because they looked very uncomfortable. I thanked them for their service but I'm sorry that the city put them in this position. 

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