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Lawsuit settled, Flagstaff to stop arresting beggars

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- Police officers in Flagstaff will no longer arrest transients who ask for handouts as part of a settlement with a civil rights group that sued over the practice.

The City Council agreed this week to settle the suit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona.

The Arizona Daily Sun reported the arrests were part of a campaign to remove transient alcoholics from the streets early in the day before they became highly intoxicated.

The ACLU contended the arrests were an unconstitutional infringement of free speech. Both the Flagstaff city attorney and the state attorney general have agreed.

Flagstaff police have said they will work with attorneys and community groups to craft enforcement policies that address aggressive panhandling, such as touching, harassing and following.

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Information from: Arizona Daily Sun, http://www.azdailysun.com/

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