PHOENIX, ARIZ. — In a fiery press conference, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio angrily defended the arrest of Pastor Lonnie Childs at his mobile soup kitchen outside a Phoenix homeless shelter. On Saturday evening, the Christian pastor was charged by Sheriff’s deputies with violating a recently enacted law prohibiting food-sharing operations within Phoenix city limits and resisting arrest without violence.
The B.L.U.F.F. (Brother Lonnie’s University of FaithFacts™) van, known as the “Soup ‘n Soul Kitchen,” was also impounded by Maricopa County Sheriff’s deputies.
“We drive from Safford to Phoenix once a month to feed the many who are down and out and need to hear our message of faith and self-help. We want to share our food and share our faith, as the Lord commands us,” Childs said by telephone from Durango Jail on West Gibson Lane in Phoenix. Childs, who asked his followers not to post bail for him, remains in Durango Jail until his trial, which is to be held next month.
In spite of his incarceration, Childs is eager to take his ministry back to the streets of Phoenix. “Most of these bums are in their current situation because of one form of addiction or another, be it bath salts or masturbation. We aim to change that, for the better and to turn them into happy, productive and non-addicted individuals. They may not understand knock-knock jokes, but they do need to understand that self-help means stopping self-abuse,” says Childs. “The sooner these charges are dropped, the sooner I can get back to saving the hobo population from hunger, addiction and sin.”
B.L.U.F.F. attorney Saul Rubenstein expressed optimism that the charges will be dropped. “We have a good case. Lonnie initially tried to comply with the order to leave the premises, but we have pictures of Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office patrol cars blocking his van. The Sheriffs told Pastor Childs to leave, but they wouldn’t let him leave. Cop logic is not real world logic. Unfortunately the situation escalated and Pastor Childs was taken into custody and insists on staying there until trial.”
“Sheriff Joe Arpaio is a ruthless attention hound. His department has a history of intimidating the homeless community and their benefactors. The ACLU, of which I am a life member, has even declared Maricopa County a no-go zone because of Arpaio’s impossible antics, but his trumped-up charges against my client won’t hold up in court,” said Rubenstein.
When asked about arresting Good Samaritans at the news briefing, Sheriff Arpaio told reporters “I don’t give a damn what these peoples’ intentions are. This is the Sheriff you’re talking about, with a gun and badge that enforces the law. Hobos or nobos, nothing is going to stop me from cracking down on Mister Childs’ operation as long as the laws are there.”