Group attempting to distribute food to homeless at Tampa park arrested

Last Updated: Tuesday, January 10, 2017, 10:06 AM EST

Seven people were arrested Saturday afternoon at a park in Tampa after violating city ordinance. 

  • Seven arrested at Tampa park after violating city ordinance
  • Group attempted to distribute food to homeless without permit
  • Police warned the group of the violations before arrests

Police said a group of 30-40 people were at Gaslight Park around 4 p.m. Saturday with signs that read "Food not Bombs" with the intention of setting up tables and distributing food. 

Parks and Recreation said the group did not receive city approval or the proper permitting to hold such an event. 

Officials said Tampa Police attempted to explain to the group that city ordinance prohibits the distribution of food to the general public without a permit or written permission from the Parks and Recreation department. 

The officers even offered other alternatives to distribute food somewhere other than a city park, but the group continued to set up tables. 

According to the report, police gave them warnings explaining that they were trespassing and that they would be arrested if they did not stop distributing food. 

Police said seven members of the group refused to listen to their warnings and ignored police. 

Bert Donaldson, Dezeray Rubinchik, Jason Grimes, James Dunson, William Payton, Roger Butterfield, and Christopher Mince were arrested and charged with misdemeanors. 

The Tampa Police Department works closely with the homeless and with area agencies and groups that provide resources to the homeless.