ACLU sues Springfield over panhandling lawsuit

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) _ The American Civil Liberties Union has sued the city of Springfield over its panhandling ordinance.

The ACLU says in a news release that the ordinance is unconstitutional. The suit was filed Thursday on behalf of 61-year-old Bobby Hunicutt, of Springfield, who was “threatened with criminal charges” after holding a sign asking for money last month on a public sidewalk. The sign read: “Trying to Support My Sick Wife” and “Please help.”

The suit said that a couple weeks earlier, a Springfield attorney received a citation for panhandling after he held a sign and accepted donations for the American Cancer Society.

Springfield city spokeswoman Cora Scott says the city attorney is reviewing the lawsuit.

In October, the city of Bolivar repealed its panhandling ordinance after the ACLU sued.