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Texas cops handcuff man after he gave change to homeless person

Published time: January 17, 2014 20:25
Reuters / Benoit Tessier

Reuters / Benoit Tessier

You may want to think twice next time you consider giving a homeless person some change, if one Texas man’s experience is any indication.

Houston resident Greg Snider claims he was arrested and held for more than an hour after local police mistakenly targeted him as a criminal, all for giving a homeless man a few quarters.

Snider said he had pulled into a local parking lot in order to make a phone call when a homeless man came up to him and asked for some spare cash. Snider claims he gave the man 75 cents and left to continue on his way.

"I had no idea at all what was about to happen," he told KPRC Local 2 News.

As soon as Snider merged onto a local freeway, however, police followed him with flashing lights and sirens, ordering him to pull over.

“He's screaming. He's yelling. He's telling me to get out of the car. He's telling me to put my hands on the hood,” Snider said to KPRC. “They're like, 'We saw you downtown. We saw what you did.’ And I was like, 'Are you kidding me? I gave a homeless man 75 cents.'"

Police reportedly said they saw Snider give the homeless man drugs and asked to search his car. Snider was placed in handcuffs and held in the back of a police car for an hour or so while ten other police vehicles arrived at the scene and used dogs to search his car.

Once the search failed to uncover any illegal substances, Snider was freed and told the situation was a misunderstanding.

Houston police have declined to comment on the incident, though they did confirm that Snider has filed a complaint.

Prosecution of the drug war has come under scrutiny lately as more Americans question the overall effects of police behavior. In two particularly disturbing cases, New Mexico men were pulled over and suspected of carrying drugs in their anal cavities. The men were then taken to hospitals outside of police jurisdiction where doctors performed invasive medical procedures that failed to turn up any drugs.

One man, David Eckert, was subjected to multiple enemas and rectal finger examinations. This week, he was awarded $1.6 million as the city and county involved settled their portions of the lawsuit.