NH News
3:59 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

N.H. Civil Liberties Union Sues Hudson Over Anti-Panhandling Methods

The New Hampshire Civil Liberties is suing the town of Hudson, claiming local police have been suppressing the free speech rights of panhandlers.

Staff attorney Giles Bissonette says the lawsuit filed in federal district court claims the town has been illegally restricting panhandling on public property for more than three years.

“And this practice includes detaining, harassing, threatening, dispersing, and citing panhandlers, in violation of the 1st, 4th, and 14th amendments of the U.S. Constitution.”

While town officials have discussed whether to ban panhandling, Bissonette says no such town or state ordinance exists.

He says the lead plaintiff, a 24-year-old homeless man, received a citation, but the case was ultimately dismissed.

The issue of whether to ban panhandling has come up in communities across the Granite State.

Earlier this year, the city of Rochester repealed an ordinance limiting panhandling after the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union raised similar concerns.