A rare victory for a homeless man
Noe Donnat was sleeping on a concrete slab along the Bradenton waterfront when a police officer with a flashlight woke him up.
in an unfriendly city
He was arrested -- on two consecutive nights -- for violating the city's ban on overnight outdoor lodging.
But Donnat will not be prosecuted because police did not offer to drive him to a shelter, as the Bradenton ordinance requires. There also was no evidence he was using a tent or sleeping on bedding material, a prosecutor said. The second time he was arrested, Donnat was only "setting up" to go to sleep.
Bradenton's ordinance does not address how police should respond when a shelter is full. "Until a city is able to shelter or house its homeless, people should be allowed to sleep in peace," said Michael Stoops, executive director of the National Coalition for the Homeless. "Rather than arresting a person for sleeping in a doorway, we should find out why that person is there in the first place."
In Los Angeles, city leaders said police will not enforce a ban on sleeping outdoors until more than 1,200 affordable housing units are built. A federal appeals court last year overturned outdoor-sleeping convictions in Los Angeles in part because of that city's lack of housing for the homeless.
Read the Sarasota Herald-Tribune story here.