ST. LOUIS, Mo. (CBS Local) — Two people were recently ticketed by St. Louis police for feeding sandwiches to the homeless and are now suing the city in federal court, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. The Rev. Ray Redlich, a minister at New Life Evangelistic Center, and Christopher Ohnimus were giving away sandwiches from a cooler on Halloween when police issued them city court summonses.
The city bars food prepared in a private home from being offered to the public. Anyone handing out food also must obtain a “food service establishment” permit.
Redlich and Ohnimus say they don’t have the resources to comply with the ordinances.
The city counselor later dropped the case.
The nonprofit Freedom Center of Missouri filed a lawsuit Tuesday on behalf of Redlich and Ohnimus, seeking a judge’s order that would block enforcement of the ordinance against people who feed the homeless.
The suit alleges that the city policy violates the constitutional right to freely exercise religion because it restricts people from following religious mandates to help others.