July 16, 2017 1:09 pm
Updated: July 20, 2017 5:37 pm

Homeless man’s arrest in London garners huge social media response

Sunny James was briefly arrested by London police.

Courtesy of Michelle Wilson on Facebook
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A homeless man who has been camped out at Huron Street and Highbury Avenue for weeks was arrested for a brief time Friday evening, causing a huge uproar on social media.

London police say they were asked by city officials to attend to the scene after Sunny James, 64, was deemed to have broken city bylaws of obstructing property.

James was not charged, according to the media release, but witnesses say that the ordeal was terrifying.

READ MORE: Province announces $11.3M funding to combat London homelessness

Michelle Wilson witnessed the alleged events, and posted her story on social media.

She told AM980 her account of the incident.

“I was shocked at his belongings being thrown, his sleeping bag being dragged down the sidewalk, and just thrown into the trailer. It was disgusting to see everything that was important to him being thrown and taken away like it was nothing.”

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Wilson says the large volume of feedback to her post on Facebook prompted her to start a GoFundMe campaign for Sunny.

“I was blown away by the response of the people in the community. It was clear that the people wanted to help raise this money to get him to a place where he is safe and OK,” said Wilson.

She says the money will be used in efforts to help Sunny secure a spot in the Fanshawe Conservation area to set up camp until the end of the season.

So far, $1,340 has been raised through the campaign. Wilson says that she spoke with the Fanshawe Conservation Authority on Sunday morning in efforts to help secure a spot for Sunny to stay.

“We are promoting ourselves as a sanctuary city, so it’s our responsibility to take care of our own, and while the community can’t take him into our homes, what we have done is invited him into our hearts, and we won’t give up on him.”

AM980 reached out to the Fanshawe Conservation area on a decision regarding Sunny, but no official statement has been given at this time. More information is to come.

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