Arnold Abbott, the 90-year old man from Fort Lauderdale, FL who was arrested earlier this week for feeding the homeless in public, was on Wednesday busted again for committing the same ‘offense.’
As ENTmania! previously reported, Abbott was arrested and cited on Sunday for failing to obey a new law passed last week that requires individuals and organizations to obtain local government permits and provide portable toilets and hand washing facilities before distributing food to the homeless to the public. Many church organizations and charities see the new law as a measure by authorities to effectively outlaw publicly giving food to the homeless since many of them cannot bear the financial burden of meeting the above stated requirements.
Abbott – who said after his Sunday arrest that he expected to be arrested again – was feeding a group of homeless people at his usual spot on the beach. Cops were there and watched him feed the people for 45 minutes before swooping on him when he turned around to grant an interview to a local news station.
He was then taken away, cited and ordered to appear in court at a later date.
In a letter sent to constituents who complained about the new law in the wake of Abbott’s initial arrest, Fort Lauderdale mayor Lack Seiler insisted that the Good Samaritan chef was NOT arrested, but was just cited. He also insisted that the law is not banning giving food to the homeless.
Contrary to reports, the City is not banning groups from feeding the homeless. We have established an outdoor food distribution ordinance to ensure the health, safety and welfare of our community. The ordinance does not prohibit feeding the homeless; it regulates the activity in order to ensure it is carried out in an appropriate, organized, clean, and healthy manner. At a recent outdoor food distribution, citations were rightly issued for non-compliance with the process enacted to ensure public health and safety. Contrary to what was reported in the media, no one was taken into custody.
He then went ahead to list the various ways Fort Lauderdale authorities have catered for the homeless, which you can read over at New Times Broward Palm Beach.
What do you think about this new law?