Cranston acknowledges panhandling ban unconstitutional

(Michael Monteiro)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The city of Cranston has acknowledged that an ordinance that banned panhandling was unconstitutional, and it agreed to stop enforcing it as part of a settlement in a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union.

Under a consent judgment filed Wednesday in federal court, the city also agreed to pay $1,500 to a man who was cited by police for soliciting donations at an intersection. The city acknowledged it violated Michael Monteiro’s First Amendment rights.

It will also pay $5,000 in legal fees and court costs.

The city did not immediately return a call seeking comment on Thursday.

The ACLU says the outcome is an important victory against the criminalization of poverty.

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