ACLU files claim against GJ anti-panhandling law
CORRECTION: A staff report that ran in the Friday, March 21, edition of the Free Press, contained a typo. It incorrectly stated that Grand Junction City Attorney John Shaver petitioned for a temporary restraining order against the anti-panhandling act recently approved by the City of Grand Junction. It was the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado that filed the petition.
The anti-panhandling ordinance that was recently approved by the City of Grand Junction is being challenged by the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado.
“The ordinance bans a wide swath of speech that is protected by the First Amendment,” according to the news release from ACLU.
The ACLU has petitioned the court for a temporary restraining order to prevent the ordinance from being enforced, according to the news release from the City of Grand Junction.
The anti-panhandling ordinance prohibits all panhandling after sunset and in many additional locations specified in the ordinance.
According to the news release from ACLU, Grand Junction officials have claimed that the ordinance aims only at aggressive panhandling. The ACLU claims that the provisions are written too broadly and can be applied to those who are requesting assistance peacefully.
Shaver said, “The city staff and council were very thoughtful in how we approached this ordinance and the circumstances that it addresses; I have not yet had time to fully consider the ACLU’s claims, but will certainly as appropriate and directed by council (to) defend the city’s position.”
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of five individuals to stop the enforcement before it goes into effect on Sunday, March 23. The lawsuit also states, according to the news release from ACLU, that “the city’s true goal is not to target aggressive panhandling but to provide police with a tool they can use to tell homeless persons and poor panhandlers to move on and to reduce the impoverished beggars in Grand Junction.”
The city will not be making comments regarding the case, and no interviews are being granted at this time for comments.
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