A $29,000 settlement by the city of Cleveland has closed the lawsuit brought by homeless veteran John Mancini, in which Mancini alleged harassment
from police officers. Mancini's lawsuit became the centerpiece of a local conversation about anti-panhandling laws in the city.
Cleveland's anti-panhandling laws were repealed
last summer. Mancini and the ACLU of Ohio argued that those laws infringed on the right to free speech.
On the subject of the legal settlement, the ALCU of Ohio provided this statement: "We are pleased that the City has finally repealed its unconstitutional anti-panhandling ordinances. The First Amendment does not allow the state to choose who may speak in public space – and that includes folks who are asking for help. We hope this resolution will help our clients to move forward and we urge the City to offer support to people who are experiencing homelessness, rather than targeting them.
"Cities in Ohio and nationally are realizing that criminalizing homelessness is ineffective and cruel. We applaud Cleveland for taking this step, and look forward to working with other cities on productive responses to homelessness."