Watch: 90-Year-Old and Two Florida Clergymen Cited, Face Possible Jail Time For Feeding the Homeless
At least four police cruisers in Fort Lauderdale and a half dozen uniformed cops were ready and waiting for Love Thy Neighbor — totally nothing like the Crips and the Bloods — a group who showed up on Sunday, just like it does every week, armed with trays of hot food for the needy.
[su_center_ad]Evil, right? We can’t have hungry people just given plates of hot food, now can we.
As a result, four local stalwarts of helping those in need were issued summonses by Fort Lauderdale Police for violating a newly enacted ordinance restricting public food sharing throughout the city, the New Times reports.
The founder of the group, 90-year-old Arnold Abbot, previously had announced that the new ordinance would not deter him from sharing food, which is something he has done for the past 23 years.
New Times reports:
“Drop that plate right now,” was the Fort Lauderdale Police officer’s directive to Abbott, as he was doling out food to the fourth person in a line of well over 100 homeless and hungry people queuing on the sidewalk on a cool, sunlit day. Abbott later half-joked that from the way the officer barked his order, he seemed to have mistaken the plate in his hand for a gun.
Abbott had been insistent that none of his crew of about ten helpers put themselves in harm’s way and risk arrest as he was doing and called for calm among the visibly angry crowd as he was led from behind a table of food to the side of an FLPD cruiser to receive his summons. While the crowd stayed calm, it was too late to prevent others who already had assisted with the sharing from also being issued citations.
The Rev. Canon Mark Sims of St. Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church in Coral Springs, the Rev. Dwayne Black of the Sanctuary Church in Fort Lauderdale, and Irene Smith, one of Love Thy Neighbor’s helpers, were each issued a summons. Their court dates will be set in the coming weeks. Violations of the ordinance carry penalties of up to a $500 fine and/or 60 days in jail.
(My bold because WTF)
A ‘town hall’ meeting was announced in January in order to introduce ordinances restricting camping, panhandling, food sharing, and other activities that are considered “life sustaining” due to the condition of homeless people, who have to conduct their lives mostly outdoors, because in case you missed it — they are homeless.
The food sharing restrictions was set to begin on Halloween, a holiday famous for sharing candy.
In September, six homeless people’s possessions were confiscated by authorities.
In response to today’s events, the Rev. Mark Sims said, “It’s sad that we criminalize sharing food with people who are hungry, not necessarily even homeless.”
“I don’t think the city has a right to tell us we can’t feed the homeless,” the Rev. Dwayne Black said. “This is breaking my Christian vows.”
When asked what’s next, the reverend stated, “Continuing to feed them.”
Amen to that, Reverend.[su_csky_ad]
Images: New Times