Lawyer: Panhandling Law Could Be Tricky
So-called "aggressive" panhandlers setting up shop in Battle Creek has city commissioners working to figure out if a tweak to the law would be helpful in order for police to better enforce against the practice.
West Michigan attorney Rich Migala tells WBCK the wording of such a law will be key, especially since the idea centers around intimidation, which can be different for one person versus another. The notion that aggressive panhandlers can be intimidating to those they approach has motivated the discussion about the local laws.
Battle Creek City Attorney Jill Steele cited municipalities in the Grand Rapids suburbs as workable precedent. Migala said those laws haven't been easy, and the broader they are, the greater likelihood they will face a legal challenge.
Battle Creek Police Chief Jim Blocker tells WBCK greater substance to the law could help his officers back off aggressive panhandlers, which have been described as a group of transient, pushier panhandlers who throw away loose change and offers of food in favor of greater amounts of cash they might be able to extricate from passers-by.
Hear the Migala interview by clicking the player below.