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Homeless Man at Walt Disney World Charged with Battery for Forcibly Shoving Candy Down a Sheriff Deputy’s Body Armor

A recent event at Walt Disney World Resort saw a homeless man, Zachary Coley, 35, shoving candy into a sheriff deputy’s body armor just before being arrested.

The incident, which took place near Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar around 10 p.m. on March 26, led to Coley’s arrest and subsequent charge of battery on law enforcement, a third-degree felony, as per records from the Orange Circuit Court.

Coley has pleaded not guilty and is being represented by the Public Defender’s Office.

According to the arrest report, Coley was behaving erratically before the confrontation.

Despite being evaluated by Disney World first responders, he refused medical attention and fled towards STK Steakhouse, continuing west through Disney Springs.

A deputy, who approached Coley to issue a trespass notice requested by Disney, recounted that Coley, after being asked to leave, pulled out two bags of candy.

Despite the deputy’s refusals, Coley tried to place the candy on the deputy’s external body armor, and upon failing to secure the bags, forcibly shoved the candy inside the vest.

Following the altercation, Coley was taken into custody.

In response to the incident, Kate Santich, spokesperson for the Homeless Services Network of Central Florida, highlighted the complexities of dealing with individuals experiencing homelessness and possible mental health issues.

She noted that while the deputy gave Coley multiple opportunities to depart without further consequences, the nature of Coley’s actions—particularly his aggressive interaction with law enforcement—justified the arrest.

Santich emphasized that homelessness often comes with traumatic experiences and that individuals might turn to substances like alcohol and drugs as coping mechanisms.

Santich expressed hope that Coley would receive the necessary support, possibly including substance abuse treatment and assistance with housing, acknowledging that while charges might seem severe, they often get reduced later.

The incident underscores ongoing challenges related to homelessness in Central Florida, a region grappling with rising rents and housing costs, further exacerbating the vulnerability of its homeless population.