Chicago Panhandlers File Suit Against Police
Class action federal lawsuit claims harassment, intimidation.
Web2Carz Contributing Writer
Published: May 30th, 2012
Eight panhandlers in Chicago have filed a class action federal lawsuit against the city, claiming that they've been subjected to police intimidation, threatened with arrest, and have been chased away from prime panhandling space along Michigan Avenue's Magnificent Mile.
An ordinance from 2004 prohibits panhandlers from "aggressive panhandling," and disallows asking for money within 10 feet of ATMs, bus stops, banks, and currency exchanges.
An ordinance set into place in 2004 prohibits "aggressive panhandling," and disallows panhandlers from asking for money within 10 feet of ATMS, bus stops, banks, and currency exchanges. They are also not allowed to ask for money in restaurants, at gas stations, or at sidewalk cafes. The ordinance also prohibits their use of profanity, rudeness, and touching people, and it is not allowed for two or more panhandlers to ask one person for money at the same time.
These things may seem reasonable to most of us, as we're usually the target for such panhandlers, but these people say what they're doing is protected by the First Amendment. That said, they adhere to the bylines of the ordinance, but some claim that they've been chased away from where they were panhandling because some areas are deemed "tourist spots" (read: tourists find being asked for money an unsavory vacation activity). Others say they have been threatened with jail numerous times by police for panhandling along Michigan Avenue.
Do you think panhandlers have the right to panhandle in popular tourist areas in the city? Do you think they have a case against the city, or do you think they should just move along (as they are seemingly being told to do) and panhandle elsewhere?