ACLU sues City of Slidell on behalf of U.S. Army veteran panhandler, two others

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New Orleans Panhandling Ordinance Ruled Unconstitutional

NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – The ACLU of Louisiana is suing the City of Slidell to reverse a city ordinance requiring a permit to panhandle on city streets.

Panhandling has long been recognized as protected by the First Amendment, according to an ACLU press release, putting the Slidell ordinance at odds with free speech rights.

“Slidell officials have tried for years to remove beggars from their streets,” Executive Director of the ACLU of Louisiana Marjorie R. Esman said. “Whether they like it or not, free speech applies to all, including those whose speech Slidell officials may not favor.”

filed yesterday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, co-defendants U.S. Army veteran Gary Blitch, David Knight, and Daniel Snyder, seek a declaration that the ordinance is illegal and an injunction prohibiting enforcement of the ordinance.

The plaintiffs are represented by ACLU of Louisiana Staff Attorney Bruce Hamilton, and cooperating attorney Ronald L. Wilson.