A 90-year-old man and two ministers have been accused of breaking a new ordinance that severely restricts public feeding of the homeless.
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.
“One of the police officers said, ‘Drop that plate right now,’ as if I were carrying a weapon,” Abbott told South Florida television station WPLG . “It’s man’s inhumanity to man is all it is.”
All three face up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.
Abbott runs a nonprofit group called Love Thy Neighbor, Inc. He said he sued the city in 1999 after they tried to stop him from feeding the homeless on Fort Lauderdale Beach. He won that case and now says he’ll fight the new ordinance.
“These are the poorest of the poor,” Abbott said. “They have nothing. They don’t have a roof over their heads. How do you turn them away?”
He planned to feed the homeless Wednesday evening on Fort Lauderdale Beach.
This story was compiled with information from the Associated Press.