Man Gives to Another Man and Faces $344 Littering Ticket

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May 30, 2012; Source: USA TODAY

We’d love your reaction to this story. In Cleveland, Ohio, where you can receive a ticket for giving to a panhandler, John Davis was recently cited for littering when he handed a couple dollars to a disabled man in a wheelchair who was holding a religious sign. Davis’ own brother is paralyzed, so Davis immediately sympathized with the other man’s situation. One of the dollar bills fluttered to the ground and Davis was then pulled over by a police officer that presented him with a $344 ticket for littering. Davis is contesting the ticket in court, which may increase his expenses for his small act of charity yet more.

We find this story confounding. It’s not that NPQ has not been following the anti-panhandler laws, but since when did we decide that our public servants should spend their time prosecuting random acts of kindness to the full extent of the law? We’d love to hear from readers about their reactions to this story and their experiences and thoughts on anti-panhandler statutes.–Ruth McCambridge

  • Russell Foszcz

    My comment? Stay out of Cleveland! This could very well fall under the definition of “absurd”…

  • Ken Goldstein

    In some ways, this does make sense: it’s easier to collect a fine from the guy with a job than from the guy on the street. But this is also their public policy, the people of Columbus obviously believe that it’s that driver’s fault that the guy in the wheelchair is a beggar.

    Clearly, the good people of Columbus have discovered and gone after the root cause of poverty: Generosity.

    If we would only stop caring about the less fortunate among us, life would be wonderful, and our streets would be clean and safe.

    (Thank you, NPQ, for i[LINK=]nspiring a blog post for me[/LINK])

  • Mark Barrett

    Ridiculous! The man was holding a religious sign, not pan-handling, and since when is it wrong to simply be kind and share with those in need by free will. Something has gone terribly wrong with out system.

  • ann rosenfield

    I didn’t realize that crime levels were so low in Cleveland that the police are reduced to filling their days with ticketing good Samaritans.

  • greg

    fortunately, cooler heads prevailed and the case was dropped. still…

  • S Ferraro

    The charges were dropped yesterday – May 31 – in Cleveland when the city decided that money was not trash.

  • Necromorphic

    This is the problem with zero-tolerance laws. There is no common sense applied where common sense should prevail. So much easier not to even have to think about whether or not issuing the ticket makes sense or whether or not it is just or fair. Let the courts decide.

    Unfortunately zero-tolerance mentality is epidemic in schools and in public policy.

  • Myra Greene

    It’s amazing what they decide is criminal…we should give the officer a ticket for being downright ignorant…and…inconsiderate…