Amarillo resident Kip Billups, who was arrested in April for clapping during an Amarillo City Council meeting, could be facing jail time.
Billups, founder of Amarillo Brown Bag Runs, an organization providing brown bag meals for the homeless, was charged with camping outdoors on public property and obstruction of a passageway at Amarillo City Hall.
With signs that read, “Stop the criminalization of homelessness” and “Illegal to be homeless in Amarillo,” Billups was protesting what many call Amarillo’s draconian homeless regulations.
Since last year, the City of Amarillo and local homeless advocates have been at odds after a controversial ordinance was passed banning “camping” within city limits. Since it went into effect, the city has proceeded to fine protestors of the ordinance and even sued local landowner Melvin McEwen for allowing the homeless to camp on his private property.
According to The Amarillo Pioneer, Billups has the option of paying a fine or serving jail time. He opted for the latter. “I will not pay a fine. My invisible friends would not be able to pay a fine,” Billups stated. “Neither will I do community service. I was doing community service when I was ticketed. If we lose the case I will be in Potter County jail on my 50th birthday. If we win I’ll be at Moondoggy’s eating a calzone.”
His next trial will take place September 20, according to information provided to The Amarillo Pioneer by Billups.