A 90-year-old man is facing up to 60 days in jail for feeding the needy due to a new law that bans people in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, from meal-sharing with the public.
Arnold Abbott risks being fined $500 and spending time in prison after police officers apprehended him while he was handing out meals to homeless people in a park on Sunday.
He was arrested and charged along with two ministers from the Sanctuary Church, which prepares hundreds of meals to dish out every week in their kitchen, while shocked onlookers shouted to officers “shame on you!” in a video published by NY Daily News.
Mr Abbott said: “One of police officers came over and said ‘Drop that plate right now,’ as if I was carrying a weapon.”
He added: “These are the poorest of the poor, they have nothing, they don’t have a roof over their heads. How do you turn them away?”
In 1999, Mr Abbott sued the City of Fort Lauderdale after he was banned from feeding the homeless on the beach and the court found that the rule was against the Constitution. The new law – which has come into effect or is planned to in Seattle, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Dallas, and Philadelphia – was passed last week.
Ron Book, a city lobbyist, told the US newspaper Sun Sentinel: “Whatever discourages feeding people on the streets is a positive thing.”
Mr Abbott, who describes himself as his “brother’s keeper” who believes “love thy neighbour as thyself”, is planning to sue the city again and intends to continue his good-hearted deeds… see more
source: Independent UK