Victor Frost, a local panhandler who is running for City Council, was arrested Tuesday afternoon for allegedly shouting racial epithets at a homeless amputee.
Frost, who regularly solicits donations across the street from Whole Foods Market, received an arrest citation after a female passerby witnessed him yelling at and berating a homeless person, according to police spokesman Sgt. Dan Ryan.
The woman called police, who arrived at the scene and interviewed Frost, the witness and the victim. Ryan said Frost accepted the misdemeanor charge and is scheduled for an appearance at Santa Clara County Superior Court in Palo Alto on Nov. 10.
Ryan said Frost was arrested for disturbing the peace after the police found him to be using "words likely to produce an immediate violent reaction." Frost potentially faces six months in jail, Ryan said.
Ryan said Frost left his usual seat across Homer Avenue from Whole Foods for an hour or two, at which time the other person took over the spot. Frost returned and allegedly lashed out at the man, an African-American amputee in a wheelchair who also is a panhandler.
"He was berating the fellow in a wheelchair, who was an amputee, and calling him all the horrible words in the English language," Ryan said. "I think there was a competition for what Mr. Frost considered to be his own personal space on the sidewalk."
Frost is also facing six counts of violating Palo Alto's sit-lie ordinance. Attorneys are scheduled to discuss those charges on Nov. 30.