Non-profit leader, Police respond to Room in the Inn incident

Updated: Nov. 12, 2020 at 1:12 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

FLORENCE, Ala. (WAFF) - Room in the Inn Shoals is a Florence non-profit that aims to provide food, shelter and resources to families in need and the homeless.

Since the pandemic hit, Room in the Inn Shoals has had to change plans.

Before, the non-profit was serving meals 5 days a week inside of a building. Now, they serve meals 3 times a week, carpool style. The new system typically works, but Krista Manchester believes officers with the Florence Police Department kept food from being distributed to those in need on Tuesday.

She says officers arrived at the building and asked people in line to leave the property.

“There were families lined up that weren’t homeless for the room at the table meal along with some of the homeless folks when that happened. There was no way to determine who was homeless and who wasn’t,” Manchester said.

The Florence Police Department responded on social media stating they only approached two people at the facility. The post goes on to explain the officers responded saying, “Because within the past week the police department has received complaints such as public sexual intercourse between two individuals at the facility on the loading dock, facing Veterans Dr., and using the grounds of this premise and nearby premises as a toilet to include defecation.”

We also talked with Manchester about the department’s post.

“We can’t take care of a problem and help a problem that we aren’t aware of,” she said.

The Florence Police Department states that signs posted around the building clearly mark what is and what is not allowed around the property. The department’s response goes on to state…"There was no ulterior motive at play, other than the police once again responding to a complaint at the facility and enforcing the clearly posted warning signs."

See the full statement from the Florence Police Department posted on Wednesday below.

Some of you may have seen a recent post made by the executive director of a local homeless shelter which was critical of...

Posted by Florence Alabama Police Department on Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Manchester tells us she would like to see more communication from law enforcement regarding the complaints.

“I would like to be in some kind of dialogue so we can understand their possession and our position and we would just hope that we can work together and do our best to make the best of a very difficult and hard situation."

On Thursday, the Florence Police Department shared body camera footage showing an officer talking with Manchester over the phone on Tuesday evening. The conversation is cordial. and the officer indicates previous phone calls to Manchester have not been answered. Manchester provides her cell phone to the responding officer for future communication.

In an effort to be transparent, the police department is posting the body cam video of our officer at Room in the Inn on...

Posted by Florence Alabama Police Department on Thursday, November 12, 2020

Manchester shared the video on the Room in the Inn Shoals Facebook page, and claimed the video does not include a previous response from Florence police officers earlier that night. The post reads, “The incident we referred to in our post happened 30 minutes prior to this video. As we stated last night, we respect the work of the FPD and understand the difficult task of protecting and serving all.”

Because we believe in transparency and correct information, here is body cam footage released this morning by the FPD....

Posted by Room in the Inn Shoals on Thursday, November 12, 2020

Copyright 2020 WAFF. All rights reserved.