Lafayette Consolidated Government Settles $42,000 Panhandling Lawsuit
Towards the end of 2020 into 2021 Lafayette Consolidated Government began cracking down on panhandling. One homeless man challenged that crackdown in federal court and won.
Lafayette Consolidated Government Settles Lawsuit
In 2021, homeless man George Henagan filed a lawsuit and took Lafayette Consolidated Government to federal court over what he claimed was aggressive policing toward panhandlers.
From thecurrentla.com -
"Three months after The Current’s August 2021 report on an aggressive policing strategy toward panhandlers, George Henagan took LCG to federal court, claiming his constitutional rights were violated by the Guillory administration’s overt campaign to criminalize begging."
Henagan was arrested twice by the Lafayette Police Department in November 2020.
In his lawsuit, Hengan claimed to panhandle was a protected form of free speech, and the U.S. Supreme Court agreed.
The lawsuit centers around the word "panhandling".
Hengan says “… [I]f you say ‘panhandlers,’ it will be declared unconstitutional.”
In December of 2120, Hanegan was awarded $42,000 from Lafayette Consolidated Government.
Thecurrent.com found that in 2021 "more than 100 people had been cited for panhandling over a six-month period, some as many as five times."
During the crackdown in late 2020 and 2021, many LPD officers questioned the intense focus on panhandling, knowing the legal peril doing so was putting the city in.
You can read more about the lawsuit at thecurrentla.com.