When most people hear the term “arrested,” their mind immediately flashes to instances of drunk driving, robbery or even assault. However, until recently, there was another seemingly innocuous way to get arrested in Fort Lauderdale: feeding the homeless. According to Local10, the situation got so out of hand that a judge stepped in, ordering police not to arrest people for feeding the homeless in public for the next 30 days.
If you’ve been arrested and need a criminal attorney in Fort Lauderdale, we can help. At Leader & Leader, P.A., we have extensive experience defending clients who face criminal charges ranging from traffic offenses and misdemeanors to serious felonies. Call our office at 954-523-2020 to speak with a qualified criminal lawyer today.
Fort Lauderdale Became the Latest City to Restrict Feeding the Homeless in Public
According to NBCNews, Fort Lauderdale approved citywide restrictions earlier this year on feeding the homeless in public. The new regulations require that groups handing out food to the homeless must be a minimum of 500 feet away from residential areas. They also limit the number of feeding sites on any given block and limit sites to being at least 500 feet away from one another.
This is the fourth law the city has passed this year concerning the homeless; the others banned homeless people from panhandling at busy intersections and made it illegal to store belongings at or sleep on public property. Legislative action that criminalizes the distribution of food items to homeless people in public is increasing across the entire country, and more than 30 cities have passed or are considering passing such bans.
Ban Leads to the Arrest of a 90-Year-Old Man Just Trying to Help the Homeless
The Washington Post reports on a Florida Circuit judge who has temporarily lifted the Fort Lauderdale ban on feeding the homeless in public. He arrived at the ruling several days after the most recent arrest because of the new ban: a 90-year-old World War II veteran. The man has run a nonprofit devoted to feeding Fort Lauderdale’s homeless population for years.
His first citation occurred in a local park in early November, when police ordered him to drop the plate he was about to distribute. He continued to violate the feeding ban, though, and eventually racked up four more citations, each of which carries with it a fine of up to $500 and up to 60 days in jail. Earlier this month, approximately 100 demonstrators crowded around the federal courthouse to protest the latest ordinance.
A judge finally put a stop to the arrests—at least temporarily. As of now, there is a 30-day hold on the ban in Fort Lauderdale. There’s no telling what’s going to happen in the New Year, though.
If you’ve been arrested and need a criminal lawyer, we can help. Call Leader & Leader today at 954-523-2020 to speak with a qualified criminal attorney about your case.