Cleveland's Anti-Panhandling Ordinances Have Been Repealed

[image-1]Cleveland City Council repealed its anti-panhandling laws this month after more than a decade of questionable enforcement and after a lawsuit brought about a public conversation on the efficacy of those policies. Local veteran John Mancini raised concerns over ongoing harassment by the Cleveland Division of Police in a lawsuit earlier this year that targeted the city's laws.

The central contention involved free speech, and the ACLU of Ohio insisted (in Cleveland and in others cities that have repealed these laws) that anti-panhandling policies "criminalized poverty."

Mancini's experiences became such a constant thrum that he felt barred from public spaces. "I am even more afraid of panhandling in Cleveland now, because the police are acting angry that I filed my lawsuit," Mancini wrote. "They are stalking me and harassing me to intimidate me. I feel they are retaliating against me."

Last year, an ACLU lawsuit prompted the city of Akron to repeal its anti-panhandling laws.