Founder of The Van, an outreach effort to support the local homeless population, Aaron Reddin was arrested today for failure to properly mistreat the local homeless. Reddin was taken into custody on his farm in North Little Rock Thursday and is being held without bond in Pulaski County.
Reddin plead guilty to all charges including 232 counts of failure to neglect, 52 counts of improper feeding, and 2 counts of illegal use of a vehicle. In total the charges could land Reddin up to 18 months in jail and 200 hours of mandatory community service involving kicking sleeping homeless individuals. In a released statement by Reddin he states “The LR and NLR PD have both issued multiple warnings. It was no surprise really. The tipping point was probably last week when I gave out free showers in the middle of the River Market pavilion.”
The law went into action in 2000 as a way to control the local homeless population around the developing Clinton Center area and has been kept to prevent local homeless from tarnishing the reputation of the tourist areas of the city. The law has only been enacted once, in 2007, when during the last day of River Fest a local couple gave their entrance badges and unused money tickets to a local homeless man.
“By and large the law has been effective. Citizens have been really good about refusing to give money and kicking sleeping persons when they can” says an NLRPD spokesperson. “Both LRPD and our department discussed the situation, and we really avoid enforcing this law when we can. Occasionally there needs to be a reminder that we can not allow homeless people to be treated with respect, they will never go away. I hope Mr. Reddin is able to learn his lesson.”
Supporters of the van are being asked to donate money to build a homeless shelter next to the mayor’s house. LR and NLR PD warn that those individuals who do can be charged as well.