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San Antonio Police Chief: No Food, Money To Panhandlers

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Women walk by a panhandler along Madison Avenue in Manhattan.  (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Women walk by a panhandler along Madison Avenue in Manhattan. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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SAN ANTONIO (AP) - The San Antonio police chief is pushing to criminalize giving food or money to panhandlers within certain parts of the city.

The San Antonio Express-News reports (http://bit.ly/1CsjrEK ) it’s already illegal to ask for money near crosswalks, bus stops, ATMs and other places. Chief William McManus proposed an ordinance to a city committee Wednesday that would make giving to panhandlers a Class C misdemeanor.

McManus says aggressive panhandlers sometimes spit on windshields or cause drivers to run red lights. He says there’s no way for the department to “arrest its way out of” the problem but he wants to deter people from giving.

A draft of the ordinance is scheduled for committee review next month.

An Austin civil rights attorney says the proposal is “mean and likely unconstitutional.”

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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