As a Henrico man attempts to take down the county's new anti-panhandling ordinance, Richmond has a message for would-be panhandlers: Stay off the city medians as well.
Wednesday, Robert Reynolds formally dropped off his lawsuit at the federal court house in Richmond. It alleges that Henrico's new ban on panhandling from the median is unconstitutional. A judge has yet to decide whether to consider the suit. Later, Reynolds staged a one-man protest along a median near Willow Lawn, urging the county to reconsider its newest policy
Meanwhile, Richmond leaders are reminding citizens of an ordinance passed 15 years ago. Like Henrico, it prevents panhandling from city medians.
The clarification came just days after comments like this, from a panhandler who chose not to tell us his full name: "Richmond seems to be more lax than the county," said panhandler 'D' last week, hinting that panhandlers banished from Henrico would simply migrate into Richmond.
City Council President Kathy Graziano said Wednesday that Richmond is not "more lax".
"I think Richmond's ordinance is clearly as strong as Henrico's," Graziano said.
It doesn't mean the panhandlers would be banned completely, though.
"If you're a panhandler in Henrico and you want to come to the city, of course we would welcome you in the city...but not on the median strip," Graziano said.
But if 'D's experience is any indication, maybe crossing into the city won't be worth it.
"It's not as good, the people just aren't as friendly out here as they are in Henrico for some reason," he said last week.
Violating the city ordinance is a class four misdemeanor, which could lead to a $250 fine.
As for the county ordinance, police are not handing out fines just yet. They're still educating panhandlers about the new law.
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