A 90-year old man was arrested this week in Fort Lauderdale, Florida for preparing and serving food to a group of homeless people.
Elderly volunteer worker Arnold Abbott and two church ministers were arrested on the grounds that they broke a new local law that ‘effectively outlaws’ distribution of food to homeless people in public places. They now face a $500 fine and 60 days in jail.
‘One of police officers came over and said “Drop that plate right now,” as if I was carrying a weapon,’ Abbott said, according to local news site KHON. ‘I fully believe that I am my brother’s keeper. Love they neighbor as thy self. We believe very strongly that Jesus taught us that we are to feed his sheep.’
Abbott – who previously won a suit he filed against the city in 1999 for banning from giving homeless people food on the beach – now says he will have to sue again.
‘I’m going to have to go to court again to sue the city of Fort Lauderdale, the beautiful city,’ he said. ‘These are the poorest of the poor. They have nothing. Don’t have a roof over their head, and who could turn them away?’
And as for Fort Lauderdale mayor Jack Seiler, he said when the law was passed last week that it will be enforced. ‘Just because of media attention we don’t stop enforcing the law,’ said Seiler. ‘We enforce the laws here in Fort Lauderdale.’