I honestly don’t believe the stupidity, of both the police officer AND the law cited. Here’s the story:
Last Monday, May 14th John Davis was exiting I-90 at the West 117th ramp when he saw a man in a wheelchair. The man was pale, thin and holding a sign that had a religious sentiment and also a request for help.
Maybe I should add the possible stupidity of Mr. Davis for falling for what I already suspect was a scam. If the guy really was disabled enough to be in a wheelchair (how did he get to the exit ramp?) there’s an almost infinite number of Federal, state, and local programs to help him. Add in friends, family, private charities and this guy shouldn’t be panhandling anyway. But I digress. Let’s continue:
John reached into his wallet and grabbed a couple of bucks to give to the man. As he approached the light at the exit, he rolled the money up vertically and stretched his arm out of his window. He says, the man touched the cash and one of the dollars fell to the ground.
The man then bent over and picked it up.
Moments later as John travelled North on West 117th he says a Cleveland police officer pulled him over.
“He proceeds to tell me he’s pulling me over for littering,” said John.
Obviously Cleveland police have solved all other crimes. Since when is money trash? Doesn’t it have to be trash to be considered litter. In any case, the ‘litter’ was immediately picked up! Am I going to be ticketed for littering every time I drop something and immediately pick it up? That’s the stupidity of the police officer. Now let’s get to the law cited:
The ticket cited Section No: 613.06 of Cleveland’s Municipal Codes, which is littering from a motor vehicle.
His offense was listed as, “Throw paper out window,” and in parenthesis, “money to panhandler.”
John said he was confused because money is paper but it’s not trash.
I made that point earlier. Plus the money wasn’t ‘thrown’. It was handed to someone. But now it gets even better:
Cleveland police can’t comment on the ticket at this time but according to a spokesperson there is another code that may have been violated.
There is a code which states that it is illegal to panhandle or give money to panhandlers near a highway or street including a berm, shoulder, treelawn or sidewalk.
Have you ever encountered a panhandler anywhere else? Ticket the panhandlers then. But last time I checked, If I own something, including the money in my wallet, I can give it to who I wish to.
Section No: 471.06 states in part that “No person shall stand on a highway for the purpose of soliciting…contributions…”
It also reads that “No driver” is to “transfer currency….to any person standing on a street or highway.”
But John says that’s not what he was ticketed for. He was cited for littering from a motor vehicle, and the officer advised him to “take it up with the courts.”
The person in question was not ‘standing’ on a street or highway. He was sitting in a wheelchair. A technicality? Yes, but if you’re stupid enough to write a law, you better cover every possible variation. Anyway, Mr. Davis is going to fight it.
John does plan to challenge the ticket in court, mainly because it carries a hefty fine. It could cost him $500 once you add the fine plus court costs.
John says he has always had a deep admiration for Cleveland police, and he isn’t trying to start trouble, but that’s a lot of money for helping out someone less fortunate.
No word on if the panhandler was ticketed also. Probably not, since he wasn’t ‘standing’. I’d certainly bring that up in court.
Maybe Cleveland should adopt how Dayton handles panhandlers. They are legal if they’re licensed. Their licenses must be prominently displayed, usually hung on a cord around their neck. In other words, the City gets their cut.
Seems the Cleveland Police should adopt a new motto: “Stand and Deliver.”
With all due respect, I don’t mean to be callous, but at 70 I’ve learned never to hand money to a street person. NEVER. 99.9 times the moola will go to buy drugs or booze.
I don’t give to most “Organized” charities, cause if you investigate the head of the charity is probably on a 6-figure salary + a 5-figure expense account.
In my working days my company and union constantly badgered the union workers to give “THEIR FAIR SHARE” to “The United way”. I always refused, which caused great indignation. Management people HAD to give a certain amount.
Here are a few examples:
1) The chief executive of the American Red Cross, Gail J. McGovern, earned $467,252 in 2008,
2) Brian Gallagher, President of the United Way receives Compensation: $1,037,410
3) UNICEF - CEO, receives $1,200,000 per year, (plus use of a Royal Royce for his exclusive use where ever he goes, and an expense account that is rumored to be well over $150,000.)
About the only organization where the “boss” gets a small salary is: The Salvation Army.
Remember: No good deed goes unpunished.
Be callous NJY. I was. I pointed out that I thought the guy in the wheelchair was a scam artist.
My point was the stupidity of ticketing the guy for ‘littering’ and the stupidity of the law cited.
Nor did I ever give United Way a dime through the Combined Federal Campaign. All of my charitable giving has been through church tithing, or directly to the organization (usually the BSA). Lately, since I’m unemployed, my ‘charitable giving’ has taken the form of actual work. Once a month I drive to the Bishops’ Storehouse in Columbus and help fill and ship orders submitted by church leaders for needy church members in all of Ohio and (I think) part of West Virginia. The church stocks and ships food, toiletries, etc. We even ship mops and brooms. I’ve seen the use my tithing is put to: not only in building churches and Temples, but running our own welfare program. The government should emulate our welfare system.
First time I did this was in January. I had a fellow unemployed church member riding with me. He was wearing a flannel shirt and a windbreaker. It was cold. About half-way to Columbus he asked me if I had an extra coat. I glanced sideways: he was shivering and his lips had a bluish tinge. Quite a feat when you’re black. I’d already shed my coat because I was sweating, but I was wearing several layers. Twenty+ years of delivering mail in winter teaches you how to dress. I cranked the heat up and handed him my coat to wrap up in. I also mentioned: ‘if you need a coat, you might ask at the Storehouse. Quite possible they’ll have some donated coats.’
And they did! I’ve rarely seen a guy so happy to have a decent coat. It was a pretty nice one. Yeah, he worked for it: we were in different parts of the warehouse, but every time we passed each other we were both dripping in sweat. The drive home was ‘fragrant’ enough that I kept the windows cracked.
Oh dear, I’m almost writing an article. Should save it for another time.