The ACLU of Ohio has taken aim at the city of Cleveland's panhandling laws, saying the city's increased enforcement of already unlawful ordinances has caused problems with the city's homeless population.
The ACLU says in a lawsuit filed Tuesday that two ordinances, one that puts restrictions on asking for money on sidewalks and one that affects streets and highways, are unconstitutional because they infringe on free-speech rights. It is suing on behalf of John Mancini, a disabled Army veteran, and the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless.
The city's law affecting roadways has been in effect since 2002, while the one affecting sidewalks has been on the books since 2006. Joe Mead, an attorney working on the case for the ACLU, said the lawsuit was filed now because police officers ramped up enforcement of panhandling laws in the past few months by writing more tickets. Mead based this assertion on what he said Mancini and Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless clients have seen. [MORE]