Posted: Aug 21, 2013 8:27 AM by AP/CS
SLIDELL, La. (AP) - The American Civil Liberties Union's Louisiana chapter says Slidell police are violating the First Amendment rights of panhandlers in the city by arresting them.
The ACLU has asked the city to immediately stop the arrests.
A police spokesman tells The Advocate the department is awaiting the city attorney's advice before taking any official action.
The ACLU's request, made in a letter sent to City Attorney Bryan Haggerty, says Slidell Police have been arresting beggars based on an unconstitutional ordinance banning street peddling. Marjorie Esman, state director of the ACLU, cited federal court rulings from several U.S. districts to back up her claim.
Esman would not say whether the ACLU will pursue legal action if the city continues arresting beggars.