ACLU Wins One For 1st Amendment Against City. Warns Against Restricting Free Speech Rights

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aclu logoIn a decision that the City of Indianapolis refused to comment about, the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana won a case in Federal Court on First Amendment grounds against the City’s attempt to illegally restrict panhandling and begging downtown.  The City agreed to drop prosecution of persons who were passively panhandling and begging downtown, as is currently permitted under city ordinance.  Appearing on Afternoons with Amos the ACLU of Indiana’s Chief Counsel Ken Falk talked about the victory.  Falk said the city could still cite, give tickets to appear in court, for those soliciting in the roadways at intersections.  A practice currently outlawed by city ordinances. But citing or ticketing people who calmly ask for money on sidewalks is protected by the First Amendment.  Though aggressive in your face panhandling can be restricted.  In the interview Falk warned the City against creating a more restrictive ordinance that would infringe on free speech rights.  Falk was asked about a statement by Visit Indy, the new brand name for the Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Association which stated that in the last two years, “At least 14 meeting decision-makers have cited panhandling and solicitation concerns as one of the reasons they didn’t choose Indy”. Falk wasn’t impressed with Visit Indy’s concerns and said that if more restrictions were issued and ACLU sued then the court case could force Visit Indy to reveal exactly what they’re talking about. The ACLU’s Ken Falk also explained to Afternoons with Amos listeners how the ACLU legal process works which receives hundreds of requests for help monthly.  Click the Arrow to Hear Amos’ Interview with the ACLU’s Ken Falk. Runs 19 Minutes ©2014 WTLC/Radio One. 

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