What Police can and Can’t do About Homelessness and Panhandling

Friday, June 24th, 2022 11:20am

By JonChristopher Collins

Branson Police Chief Jeff Matthews spoke Thursday about what can and can’t be done about homelessness and panhandling.

He said over the years the courts have looked at solicitation from the viewpoint of Freedom of Speech. “You got to remember that the Constitution was not written for people like me in the Police Department. The Constitution was written for the people to protect them from people like me,” Matthews said. He said that taking into account the way courts have interpreted panhandling with a sign, the sign represents Freedom of Speech.

“I cannot regulate that sign. That sign can say whatever it wants on the public place, and I can’t do anything about it because that’s part of the Freedom of Speech through the Constitution,” he said. However, he also highlighted what law enforcement can do.

The article was originally published and can be read in full on Ozarks DynaCom’s websites.

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