Lying down on a blanket in a park is apparently a safety hazard in Fort Walton Beach, Fla.
Resident Michelle McCormick and her family were relaxing at Fort Walton Landing park recently when a police officer approached them and told them they had to get up.
“She walked up to us and said, ‘Sir, I’m going to have to tell you to get up. There’s an ordinance against lying down in the park,’” McCormick said. “My husband was just incredulous.”
Fort Walton Police Sgt. Bill Royal said the officer was responding to a complaint from a guest in the park.
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“We received a phone call, and it was a homeless person,” he said. “He was complaining about individuals lying on blankets near the gazebo.”
According to Fort Walton city code, park visitors cannot “sleep or protractedly lounge” on seat, benches, or other grounds in the park. The ordinance is meant to prevent homeless people in the city from occupying the parks.
When asked about the safety reasons behind the law, Sgt. Royal said, “You may trip someone.”