Wednesday, June 11, 2008

ACLU sues city over mistreatment of panhandlers

here's an unsurprising development:

The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana filed a lawsuit today against the city over what its attorneys see as a too-aggressive crackdown on the homeless in Downtown Indianapolis.

The suit, filed on behalf of four men, says Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officers have hassled them even though they weren't breaking state panhandling laws. Two men who were holding cups but not speaking were told by officers they couldn't solicit contributions, the suit says.

Two others who were not soliciting -- but appeared homeless -- have been forced multiple times to produce identification and wait while officers conducted records checks, the lawsuit says.

Such treatment violates the U.S. Constitution's protections of free speech and against unreasonable searches, argues the suit, filed this morning in U.S. District Court. It seeks class-action status and has four homeless men named as plaintiffs: Richard Dellantonio, Douglas Ayres, Ryan McClellan and Richard Byrd.

unsurprising because, as i've written before, it's clear from the mayor's own comments that the city crackdown on panhandlers is born not out of human compassion, but out of disgust and loathing. mayor ballard wants to get rid of those filthy panhandlers, and if that means strong-arming and hassling them, so be it.

1 comment:

M Theory said...

America is THE most generous country on earth. Having said that most of the panhandling done is a scam employed to take advantage of the generous nature of Americans.

If you don't believe we are generous, just look at how much money is being raised to help our flood victims.

If people have legit human need they can go to Horizon House, The Mission, Good News Ministries, or a whole host of other services available to the homeless including SKILLS TRAINING FOR JOBS and even free clothes for interviews! These agencies know how to appropriately screen people based on REAL need. These agencies are walking distance from the Circle. They screen out those running a scam...just as hospitals must try to do with all the drug seekers that clog up our emergency rooms.

Our citizens don't need to be harassed while walking around downtown. And panhandling IS harassment! It gets old...really old.