ABC 7 - 90 YEAR OLD CHARGED FOR FEEDING HOMELESS PEOPLE
Abbott and two pastors in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, were charged for feeding the homeless in public on Sunday, the city's first crackdowns under a new ordinance banning public food sharing, CNN affiliate WPLG reported.
Now they face possible jail time and a $500 fine, WPLG said.
Despite some criticism from homeless advocates, city officials have vowed the new rules will be enforced.
"Just because of media attention we don't stop enforcing the law. We enforce the laws here in Fort Lauderdale," Mayor Jack Seiler told WPLG.
He defended the law in an interview with the Sun-Sentinel newspaper.
"I'm not satisfied with having a cycle of homeless in the city of Fort Lauderdale," Seiler said. "Providing them with a meal and keeping them in that cycle on the street is not productive."
(HEY SEILER WHERE DO YOU PLAN TO SEND THESE PEOPLE?)
But Abbott, who has been helping feed homeless people in the area through his Love Thy Neighbor nonprofit since 1991, said authorities are targeting the city's most vulnerable residents.
"These are the poorest of the poor. They have nothing. They don't have a roof over their head," he said. "Who can turn them away?"
Recently, the city has also passed an ordinance limiting the storage of personal property in public, WPLG said. Then came the restrictions for food sharing.
"The city passed an ordinance requiring us to have a Porta-Potty. It's ridiculous. The whole thing was designed to rid Fort Lauderdale of its homeless," Abbott said. "Police told me anyone who touches a pan ... anyone who is involved, will be arrested."
It's a battle Abbott has fought before. In 1999 he sued the city for banning him from feeding homeless people on the beach -- and won, according to WPLG.
ABC NEWS - 3 CHARGED WITH FEEDING HOMELESS IN FORT LAUDERDALE
Police arrested homeless advocate Arnold Abbot and ministers Dwayne Black and Mark Sims on Sunday as they handed out food to homeless people in a Fort Lauderdale park. The city ordinance took effect Friday...Black pastors The Sanctuary Church in Fort Lauderdale. Sims is pastor of St. Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church in Coral Springs.
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