BANGOR- A Facebook post by the Bangor Police Department has many people upset, and today they gathered to take a stand.
Homeless advocate Pat LaMarche organized the demonstration outside the Bangor Police Department. They’re concerned about a Facebook post issued by police who are urging others to not give money to panhandlers. Police say those people often pull at your heartstrings to get your money, saying things like they lost their job or need to get back home. Police say in some cases they use the money for other things like drugs and alcohol. That has angered some who have a problem with the generalizations.
“It was anecdotal, it was unremarkable, it was a backyard bullying tactic, and it was frankly beneath them and i think they need to say, ‘Oops, my bad,’” said Pat LaMarche, a political activist and Green Party Leader.
The Facebook post goes on to talk about how donating money to an organization might be a better way to do good, but those who oppose the post have concerns about that advice as well.
“They’re saying that people should go to all these nice organizations, but the truth is in today’s economy the nice organizations can’t even begin to help meet the need because the government is relentlessly shredding the slim safety net these agencies provide,” said Julia Hathaway, a protestor at the demonstration.
A topic that continued to come up was a concern of lack of resources available to people who turn to panhandling.
“You can’t throw anybody out in the cold and ask them to shut up about it,” said LaMarche.
But amidst all the controversy that was sparked by the Facebook post, Sergeant Tim Cotton believes that the true point of the post was lost.
“The bottom line is we were talking about aggressive pan handling and the fact of the matter is there are many great charities, local, that people can give their money to,” said Cotton.
Cotton believes that the post was taken out of context and stresses that the point of the post was to warn people about potential dangers.
“We also have to watch out for the victim in this case, and no ones bringing that up. I’ve had elderly ladies who were scared to go into the grocery store lobby because someone followed them or while they’re at their car someone approaches them from behind,” said Cotton.
Cotton says the post wasn’t intended to offend anyone, but he stands by the message.