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Indy panhandlers can stay, but no begging along roadways

INDIANAPOLIS – Panhandlers will be able to continue begging for money in Indianapolis as long as they don't harass motorists.

A lawsuit filed last August bucked Mayor Greg Ballard's high-profile effort to run panhandlers out of downtown Indianapolis. Four panhandlers represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana said city police had tried to drive them off sidewalks even though they were complying with existing ordinances.

The ACLU said the crackdown violated panhandlers' First Amendment rights.

Under the agreement filed in federal court Friday, begging along roadways and directed at passing motorists will not be allowed.

Panhandling will be allowed as long as it is directed at pedestrians and isn't aggressive.

The city also agreed to drop or consider dismissing citations against several panhandlers.

City officials had no immediate comment.

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