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Jan 13, 2016 12:34 PM

ACLU sues Manchester, says city violates panhandlers' rights

The Associated Press

MANCHESTER (AP) — The New Hampshire American Civil Liberties Union is suing the city of Manchester and a police officer, accusing the police department of violating panhandlers' rights.

New Hampshire Public Radio reports the ACLU argues that the police department has been charging panhandlers with disorderly conduct.

The chapter's legal director, Gilles Bissonnette, says the behavior isn't a crime in the state. He says the city is twisting the statute's language to criminalize panhandling.

The suit was filed on behalf of a 54-year-old Army and Navy veteran named Theresa Petrillo.

The ACLU also sued the town of Hudson two years ago for its attempts to curb panhandling. The town settled.

Officer Ryan Brandreth is also named as a defendant. The city declined to comment.

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