Alameda County Sheriff’s Deputy Jacob Swalwell works with the county’s crime prevention unit. He was out and about one day when he stumbled across a homeless man panhandling at a busy intersection. The 67-year-old named Michael Myers was asking people for money while they waited at the intersection. Deputy Swalwell had warned Michael numerous times to stop, so he flipped on his lights and pulled over. Enough was enough.
Deputy Swalwell asked Michael to show his identification, but discovered he didn’t have any. Those individuals avoiding interactions with the law or who have a warrant out for their arrest often will refuse to show identification, saying they don’t have an ID, reported the sheriff’s office. That’s when Deputy Swalwell learned that Michael panhandled three times a day to earn enough money for a fast food meal. According to KPIX 5, even though the man didn’t have a substance abuse problem or a criminal record, the deputy knew what he had to do.
Deputy Swalwell learned that Michael had grown up and aged out of the foster care system. He never had an official birth certificate, which meant he could not obtain official identification that would allow him to get a job and earn his own money. Michael had simply given up and began living off the streets. But he didn’t want the help, he just needed a helping hand so he could get back on his feet and become independent. So Deputy Swalwell did something unbelievable when he stopped to issue Michael a citation. Deputy Swalwell said, “We both realized at the same time that there was a real person there, and not just a stereotype we saw when we first met each other.” Watch the KPIX 5 news report below and see how this initially suspicious police stop turned out for both Michael and Deputy Swalwell.