Six police officers recently arrested members of Love Thy Neighbor, a group that feeds homeless people every Sunday at a public park in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
One of those arrested on Sunday (video below) was Love Thy Neighbor’s 90-year-old founder, Arnold Abbott, who has been feeding the homeless for decades.
Fort Lauderdale police say Abbott violated a new city law that effectively bans giving out food in public, but the 90-year-old homeless advocate says his only crime was to “love thy neighbor.”
He faces 60 days in jail and a $500 fine, and he intends to get cited again Wednesday night, when he sets out to feed some of the Florida city’s estimated 10,000 homeless on a public beach.
Rev. Canon Mark Sims, Rev. Dwayne Black and Irene Smith were each cited as well. They all face fines of up to $500 and/or 60 days in jail.
“It’s sad that we criminalize sharing food with people who are hungry, not necessarily even homeless,” Rev. Sims told the Broward-Palm Beach New Times.
“I don’t think the city has a right to tell us we can’t feed the homeless,” added Rev. Black. “This is breaking my Christian vows.”
For his part, Abbott has no intention of stopping.
“I went through World War II,” Abbott told the Broward-Palm Beach New Times. “I fought in the Civil Rights movement. This won’t stop us. All this did was move us to court earlier than we had planned.”