Photo of James Gill (aka Sunny James) with London police officers. Photo from Facebook (Michelle Wilson)

Homeless Man Charged After Cashier, Cop Assaulted

A homeless man whose belongings were seized by city bylaw officers over the weekend has now been charged with assault after an incident at a Byron pharmacy.

London police were called to the Shoppers Drug Mart at 1224 Commissioners Rd. W around 4pm Sunday after a man had reportedly assaulted the woman working at the cash register, following a brief argument.

Officers tracked a suspect to Springbank Park where they say he began yelling obscenities at them in front of young children. The man allegedly resisted arrest and assaulted an officer, as police tried to take him into custody.

Fortunately, no one was injured in either confrontation.

James Gill, 64, is charged with assault, assaulting a peace officer, causing a disturbance, and resisting arrest.

The charges come just two days after Gill, who also goes by the name Sunny James, had his makeshift shelter in the area of Huron St. and Highbury Ave. dismantled by bylaw officers. Police and social service workers accompanied bylaw officers to the site on Friday evening. When Gill tried to intervene, he was briefly taken into police custody and was later released without charge.

The city took steps to remove Gill’s belongings after receiving complaints from several people in the northeast end neighbourhood, who were upset he was obstructing the sidewalk. However, not all were happy with what they believed to be the heavy handed action taken by the city. A public outcry quickly surfaced on social media and a GoFundMe page was launched to raise funds to get Gill a campsite at the Fanshawe Conservation Area. By Monday afternoon the campaign had raised nearly $1,500 towards its $2,000 goal.