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Henrico man challenges panhandling ban

Friday - 11/2/2012, 7:15am  ET

RICHMOND, Va. - A Henrico County man has filed a lawsuit challenging the county's ban on panhandling.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports ( that Robert S. Reynolds filed the lawsuit in federal court in Richmond this week. He claims the ordinance violates the free-speech and equal protection provisions of the Constitution.

County supervisors recently amended the ordinance to make it illegal for people to sit in median strips and seek contributions. Previously, panhandlers could use medians as long as they were standing.

Henrico officials cited safety reasons for the ban, but Reynolds said their real goal was to "rid the county of bums." The 56-year-old Reynolds says he pays for his rent and food mostly with solicited contributions.

County attorney Joseph Rapisarda Jr. says the county probably will ask to have the suit dismissed.


Information from: Richmond Times-Dispatch,

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