Arnold Abbott not charged for feeding homeless in public

Fort Lauderdale delays filing formal charges against activist

By Ben Kennedy - Reporter

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - The 90-year-old war veteran the city of Fort Lauderdale treated as a lawbreaker for feeding the homeless in public appeared in Broward County court Wednesday morning.

Arnold Abbott's supporters were expecting Fort Lauderdale to formally charge him for refusing to comply with a highly controversial ordinance.

Abbott has been committed to feeding the homeless at a seaside park for decades. His refusal to comply with a Fort Lauderdale ordinance -- banning people from feeding the homeless in public since Oct. 31 -- has put him in the spotlight.

Prosecutors delayed filing formal charges against Abbott after Broward County Judge Thomas Lynch ruled Tuesday that there were to be no arrests or citations for 30 days.

During his arraignment Wednesday morning, Abbott was given time to work things out with the city.

"Either we resolve the matter or we'll try the case before the 30 days is up," attorney John David told Local 10 News.

Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler has been firm on his position that the ordinance is meant to protect the public.

Lynch asked that both the city and Abbott try to resolve their disagreement through mediation. During an episode of This Week in South Florida with Local 10 News' Glenna Milberg and Michael Putney, Seiler said he was open to coming to an agreement with Abbott.

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