Give Now

Indianapolis And ACLU Reach Agreement On Panhandling

The ACLU filed a lawsuit against the City of Indianapolis last summer over rules for panhandling downtown.

begging

Photo: flickr (James Jordon)

The agreement prohibits panhandling in streets but not on sidewalks.

The City of Indianapolis and the American Civil Liberties Union have agreed to parameters for panhandling in downtown Indianapolis.

The ACLU of Indiana filed a lawsuit against the city last summer on behalf of a group of panhandlers who were ticketed for violating a city ordinance.

Ken Falk, the Legal Director for the ACLU of Indiana, says the ordinance doesn’t apply to people who solicit on sidewalks, and punishing people for doing so violates the First Amendment.

“Panhandling is seeking contributions from someone  and courts have indicated that’s protected by the first amendment,” Falk said. “The same way someone has the right to come up to you and ask you to contribute to a charity, they have the right to come up and ask you to contribute to them.”

The agreed judgment will prohibit panhandling in streets or next to people’s cars, but allows people to ask for money on sidewalks as long as solicitors don’t block people’s walkways.

Claire McInerny

Claire McInerny is an education reporter for StateImpact Indiana. She comes to WFIU/WTIU from KCUR in Kansas City. She graduated with a journalism degree from the University of Kansas where she discovered her passion for public media and the stories it tells. You can follow her on Twitter @ClaireMcInerny.

View all posts by this author »

  • Bob Eckert

    We need this ordinance south of Indy about 50 miles, in Bloomington. Panhandling has become a cottage industry even when folks have shelter and food being provided while they seek a job. They sometimes become aggressive.

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Indiana Public Media News:

Support For Indiana Public Media Comes From

Search News

Stay Connected

RSS e-mail itunes Facebook Twitter Flickr YouTube

Follow us on Twitter

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Indiana Public Media News:

Recent Politics Stories

Recent Videos

Find Us on Facebook