ACLU sues Flagstaff over panhandling arrest - New York News

ACLU sues Flagstaff over panhandling arrest

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FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) - The American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona says it has filed a lawsuit against Flagstaff on behalf of a disabled Hopi woman who was arrested for begging.

The ACLU says the city's effort to rid streets of beggars is unconstitutional and criminalizes peaceful panhandling in public places.

A call to the Flagstaff City Attorney's Office for comment on the suit wasn't immediately returned Tuesday.

ACLU officials say 77-year-old Marlene Baldwin was arrested Feb. 22 after asking an undercover Flagstaff police officer for $1.25 for bus fare.

The city adopted a policy in 2008 to remove panhandlers from downtown areas by jailing them early in the day on "loitering to beg" charges.

The ACLU says 135 arrests were made by Flagstaff police under that statute between June 2012 and last month.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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