The ACLU of Michigan has sued Grand Rapids and the State of Michigan over a state law which makes panhandling illegal.
The ACLU argues that peaceful panhandling is a protected form of free speech.
Specifically the ACLU lawsuit states:
The First Amendment of the United States Constitution protects the right to ask for employment or financial assistance in public places.
The lawsuit also asks for ”a declaration that Michigan’s anti-begging statute is unconstitutional”.
Mlive.com reports that Grand Rapids has arrested 399 people on begging-related charges since 2008. The lawsuit names Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, Grand Rapids Chief of Police Kevin Belk, and GRPD Officer Gregory Bauer as defendants.
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