ACLU sues over Colo. Springs panhandling ban

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

DENVER (AP) -- A panhandling ban on its way to Colorado Springs faces a legal challenge from the Colorado ACLU.

The civil-liberties group announced Wednesday that it was filing a lawsuit in federal court in Denver to block the ban, which they say stifles speech.

The Colorado Springs City Council gave final approval Tuesday to a no-solicitation zone covering 12 blocks downtown. It takes effect next month.

Plaintiffs in the lawsuit include street musicians, advocacy groups and a wheelchair-bound panhandler.

ACLU legal director Mark Silverstein said in a statement that the panhandling ban is too broad and suppresses speech.

City Attorney Chris Melcher says the ordinance was intended to respond to requests to curb panhandling.

City officials say the ordinance won't stop Salvation Army bell ringers from seeking donations on private property downtown.

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