90-Year-Old Man Arrested for Feeding the Homeless
A 90-year-old advocate and two members of the clergy were arrested this past weekend in Fort Lauderdale, FL for serving lunch to a group of homeless individuals in the city’s Stranahan Park.
Arnold Abbott, who heads the activist group Love Thy Neighbor, said he was only able to serve about three or four of 300 planned meals before being ordered to stop by police.
Abbott was cited along with Rev. Mark Sims of St. Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church in Coral Springs, as well as Rev. Dwayne Black, pastor of The Sanctuary Church in Fort Lauderdale, according to the Sun Sentinel.
Police were cracking down on a new local ordnance that essentially outlaws the distribution of food to homeless people in certain public places.
“One of police officers came over and said, ‘Drop that plate right now,’ as if I was carrying a weapon,” said Abbott, who has won past legal battles with the city over feeding restrictions and has vowed to go to court again over the latest incident.
“We are simply trying to feed people who are hungry,” Sims was quoted as saying. “To criminalize that is contrary to everything that I stand for as a priest and as a person of faith.”
But Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler defended the crackdown, saying the permission of feeding will do nothing to solve the homeless problem in the city. “Just because of media attention we don’t stop enforcing the law. We enforce the laws here in Fort Lauderdale,” he added.