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ACLU claims Indianapolis police harassed homeless

By The Associated Press
06.13.08

INDIANAPOLIS — A federal lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana claims that city police are harassing panhandlers and homeless people.

The lawsuit filed June 11 in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis alleges that police treatment of four homeless men violated their constitutional right of free speech and protection from unreasonable searches. It seeks class-action status.

The suit claims police told two homeless men who were silently soliciting money with cups that they had to leave the area even though they were not violating state panhandling laws. Two others have been forced to produce identification and wait while police did records checks, the suit alleges.

The suit seeks an injunction preventing police from interfering with lawful soliciting or demanding ID from homeless people without probable cause.

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard earlier this year announced a plan to aggressively enforce anti-panhandling laws. Last month, the city installed donation boxes downtown in an effort to discourage giving directly to panhandlers.


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Rewritten law still too restrictive, federal appeals court finds, because it views minors' protected First Amendment activities as a defense after an arrest is made, rather than as providing immunity against arrest. 01.23.04

Minneapolis cracks down on aggressive panhandling

Ordinance bans verbal requests for money within 10 feet of crosswalks, convenience and liquor stores; silent requests via signs won't be affected. 06.20.07

Miami commissioners vote to ban panhandling downtown
City officials say they plan to meet in coming weeks with homeless advocates to work out final language of proposal. 04.12.08

Curfews, loitering & freedom of association


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