90-Year-Old WW2 Veteran and Two Clergymen Face 60 Days in Jail for Feeding the Homeless in Florida

Screen Shot 2014-11-05 at 11.40.54 AMDrop that plate right now!

– Florida police to 90-year-old WW2 vet Arnold Abbott as he tried to feed homeless people

Last week, I reported on the very disturbing fact that a Boynton Beach, Florida police officer had been accused of raping a 20-year old woman at gunpoint while on duty. A week later, we learn that police just 33 miles south, in Fort Lauderdale, raided a 90-year old World War II veteran and two clergymen and charged them with feeding the homeless. Under a new law, these three humanitarians face penalties of up to a $500 fine and/or 60 days in jail for, well, being humanitarians. No, I’m not making this up.

We learn from WPLG Local10:

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Fort Lauderdale police charged three men — including two pastors and a 90-year-old man — for feeding the homeless in public on Sunday, the first such cases made by the city after the a new ordinance effectively banning public food sharings took effect Friday.

The first to be charged was homeless advocate Arnold Abbott, 90, who has been feeding the homeless in Fort Lauderdale for more than 20 years. Also cited were two Christian ministers — Dwayne Black, pastor of The Sanctuary Church in Fort Lauderdale, and Mark Sims of St. Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church in Coral Springs.

All three men face up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.

“One of the police officers said, ‘Drop that plate right now,’ as if I were carrying a weapon,” said Abbott, who runs a nonprofit group called Love Thy Neighbor, Inc. “It’s man’s inhumanity to man is all it is.”

“I don’t do things to purposefully aggravate the situation,” said Abbott. “I’m trying to work with the city. Any human has the right to help his fellow man.”

The Broward Palm Beach New Times, adds some additional color on the situation, particularly with regard to the area’s history of mistreating the homeless:

Benjamin Waxman, ACLU lead attorney in the landmark Pottinger v. City of Miamisettlement agreement, calls Fort Lauderdale’s treatment of the homeless “evocative of conditions in Miami before the Pottinger case began” back in 1988.

The Pottinger case established limited protections against criminalizing homelessness in Miami and last year withstood an effort by that city to eliminate its core protections, including ones related to food-sharing and camping. Prior to Pottinger’s original filing, official police abuse of Miami’s homeless, often carried out by its so-called “bum squad,” had become notorious and included such acts of cruelty as the seizure by Miami Police Department officers of homeless persons’ property, which was then burned as they were forced to watch.

The confiscation of the property of six homeless persons in Fort Lauderdale that was overseen by an as-yet-unidentified FLPD officer, alleged to have occurred on the morning of September 24, is just one of countless incidents of abuse reported by homeless people in recent months that justify the comparison with Miami.

An inquiry a week after the incident allegedly occurred to FLPD’s property room manager, Dawn Ramage, confirmed that no property had been turned in despite a requirement that all seized property be stored for at least 30 days. Nor were the homeless folk who spoke about the theft of their property, including one woman whose breathing medication was taken, given a 24-hour notice as the personal property ordinance mandates. The woman, Renee (full name withheld for fear of retribution), who suffers from COPD, wound up in Broward General Hospital for three days because she couldn’t access her medication. Seven bags of recyclables, which the homeless had been collecting to exchange for cash, were also seized in that incident.

Yep, makes sense. Homeless people have basically nothing, so may as well take what little they have. That’ll show em.

Arnold Abbott’s take was the same melodic riff he’s been trumpeting for years: “I went through World War 2. 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.”

Here’s the face of an American “criminal” in 2014. Meanwhile, still not a single bank executive behind bars.

Screen Shot 2014-11-05 at 11.37.24 AM

Truly sad it takes a 90-year-man engaging in civil disobedience to demonstrate to the rest of us how apathetic and spineless we have become.

For more articles on the topic of the criminalization of the homeless see:

Video of the Day – Watch as 8 Police Officers Fire 46 Shots and Kill a Homeless Man in Broad Daylight

In 33 U.S. Cities, Feeding the Homeless Has Been Criminalized

Couple Fined $746 for the Crime of Feeding Homeless People in Florida Park

The Homeless in NYC Are Now Living in Tiny Spaces in the Frame of the Manhattan Bridge

Illinois Church Told by City Officials It Can No Longer Provide Homeless People Shelter

South Carolina City Implements Law that Requires a $120 Permit to Feed Homeless People

In Liberty,
Michael Krieger

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  1. Police love unjust laws. The more unjust the law, they more interested they are in enforcing it. When one of them breaks the law, their interest in enforcing the law drifts sharply down towards zero. They also love prosecutors who conspire with them to withhold exculpatory evidence. If a psychiatrist got onto a city council and it created a new ordinance requiring ritalin to be force fed to all the second graders, police would swarm the schools and force feed the children ritalin at gunpoint. People who are born cruel are attracted to this police occupation.

  2. Arnold Abbot and the 2 pastors.. well done, you are good men. The police present in this video have clearly lost their ethics and their humanity. They are deplorable cowards.

  3. How sickening.

  4. I died a little when I read this article. What a senseless way we have chosen to arrange our society.

  5. The very use of the term civil ‘disobedience’ shows us how how apathetic and spineless we have become. Employees of the state call themselves public servants. How can we disobey our servants?

    When we use that phrase we are explicitly giving authority to the state to rule over us like serfs. It’s not a statement of defiance, it is an acknowledgement of submission.

    Our servants are not only disobedient but they treat us like their prisoners. We have handed authority to them partly by being ignorant of what words really mean when we say them.

  6. This article leaves out important details. There is no law against feeding the homeless in Fort Lauderdale, but there are regulations for how to do it so as not to be a public nuissance. One part is that if they are going to do it outdoors, they need to provide portable toilets. I don’t want to be walking barefoot down the beach and encounter a pile of poop from a well-fed homeless person.

  7. I am so glad about Arnold Abbots and the pastors actions. This is a sign about love and dignity for all other humans. I think, the police need lessons in human rights education. Was there no programm about the third phase of the worlds human rights education in this country? It´s a shame for local politicians to create such discrimination on the basis of laws.

    Greatings to Arnold Abbot from Germany

  8. Those scum.

    Soon enough they will be much more forcefull in their methods, they´ll just send tanks and drones to deal with protesters and control the internets like China does, that time is soon.

  9. This is unbelievable… it is the complete opposite of Christianity, so much so that it can be called “Anti-Christian” or Satanic behavior. It’s high time we call this out for the EVIL that it is. Republicans are so fond of calling this a “Christian” nation and whine about a “war on Christianity” when they are greeted with “happy holidays” instead of “merry x-mas” at the local shopping mall. But when real attacks on Christianity, such as making it illegal to feed the hungry, republicans are silent… worse than that, they are the ones behind these Anti-Christian laws. Lets boycott Florida all together until they repeal these Satanic laws.

  10. Our problem is simple. Everything, all three branches of Government, is corrupt. The police are all corrupt, the news media is corrupt, since politicians are corrupt, it corrupts the Military. I did not say everyone in the military is corrupt, what I am saying is that DC Politics forces the military to do corrupt things. I am a disabled veteran, I live on compensation, social security disability, and I run into people all the time trying to steal from me. I have learned that they think, since I am receiving money from the government, to live on, money I earned from my injuries in Iraq, they have right to it also. The reason everything is corrupt, is because the American people are vastly corrupt. Selfish, self serving, full of themselves, wrapped up in themselves. I am 51, and I have watched America go down hill. People do not have integrity anymore. Look at the cops, they are all a bunch of liars, they lie, because they can get away with it. It is a means to an end for them. God is going to destroy America, look into history, every nation that has gotten itself into the depths of evil, like America has, He has destroyed. America is just another Rome. Full of itself. For goodness sakes, Obozo put a gender neutral bathroom in the white house. There are no gays in Heaven, read the bible. Thank you for letting me have my free speech, you can rail on me now.

    • Michael Krieger

      Such a great comment until the homophobic part. So sad that someone who claims to believe in a higher, loving spiritual power could harbor such hate. I feel sorry for you. Not because of your physical injuries, ignorance, prejudice and spiritual disability can be far worse injuries.

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