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 Wednesday, 25 December, 2002, 02:06 GMT
NY homeless reward defiant policeman
US cents
A gift from those who have nothing
A group of homeless people in New York have clubbed together nickels and dimes to make a Christmas gift for a police officer who was disciplined for helping a homeless man.

We just wanted to thank him by contributing however we could

Joe Bostic
contributor
Small change bummed from passers-by on the city's wintry streets went into a kitty for Officer Eduardo Delacruz, who was suspended without pay for a month after he refused to arrest a man found sheltering in a garage in November.

Officer Delacruz told his superiors he had disobeyed his sergeant because the man had had nowhere else to go.

Support groups for the homeless commended the policeman for his act and boosted the unusual donation to $3,000.

"We just wanted to thank him by contributing however we could," Joe Bostic, one of 30 former and current homeless men and women who took part in the fund-raising, told The Associated Press.

'Quarters, nickels and dimes'

Officer Delacruz, married with five children, was "very moved" by the present, his lawyer Norman Siegel said.

"God bless everyone, especially the homeless," the policeman, who is now back in his job, was quoted as saying.

The cash was raised both from begging and recycling cans, as well as from a portion of the donors' welfare benefits.

"A lot of us gave quarters, nickels and dimes," said Mr Bostic.

See also:

20 Nov 02 | Americas
15 Aug 02 | Americas
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