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ACLU Sues On Behalf Of Indianapolis Poor Who Asked For Money

The ACLU says Indianapolis police unlawfully told four individuals to move because they were holding signs asking for money.

downtown panhandling

Photo: Steve Baker (flickr)

The city-council council has been considering an ordinance that would ban panhandling in downtown Indianapolis.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana has filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of four people who the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department allegedly told to move because they were asking for money in downtown Indianapolis.

“Persons are allowed to passively solicit funds from people under Indiana law and under Marion County ordinances, and recently it appears that there has been a concerted effort by the city of Indianapolis from stop persons from engaging in that activity which is protected under the first amendment,” ACLU of Indiana Legal Director Ken Falk said.

A spokesperson for the IMPD said it is the department’s policy not to comment on pending litigation.

As we reported in March during his state of the city address, Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard proposed a ban on panhandling in the city’s downtown. However, the ban needed the approval of the city-county council, which postponed a vote on the measure late last month.

Gretchen Frazee

Gretchen Frazee is a reporter/producer for WFIU and WTIU news. Prior to her current role, Frazee worked as the associate online content coordinator for WFIU/WTIU. She graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia where she studied multimedia journalism and anthropology. You can follow her on Twitter @gretchenfrazee.

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