SANTA MONICA (CBSLA.com) — Rabbi Shlomo Cunin, of the Chabad West Coast Headquarters, believes he was targeted by authorities for feeding the homeless in Santa Monica.
Cunin told CBS2’s Cristy Fajardo that he was handing out food along Palisades Park when he and his son-in-law were cited by an officer for driving with his handicap placard hanging in the rear-view mirror, which the ticket stated was an obstruction of vision.
The rabbi said a second officer then started writing them a $304 ticket for parking in a bus zone.
In the “note” section of the ticket, the officer wrote, “To feed homeless.”
“I said, ‘Well, we were pulled over by the other officer, that’s why I’m here.’ And he said, ‘No, no, no, no, no… you were parked here,’” Cunin said. “They don’t want Rabbi Cunin with his beard and black coat coming to feed God’s children.”
Santa Monica police said there was no ulterior motive.
“We, at the Santa Monica Police Department, are actually homeless advocates ourselves. We work a lot with the homeless,” said Sgt. Jay Moroso.
Cunin and his son-in-law, Moroso said, broke the law.
“One had seen one violation…that being the placard violation. And at pretty much the same time, the park ranger had seen the parking violation, so they both went to take enforcement action at the same time,” he said.
Cunin, however, doesn’t believe the timing was a coincidence. He now plans to make his case in court.