Aggressive Panhandler by Exit 5 Receives Infraction for Creating a Public Disturbance

A person was ticketed for aggressive panhandling on East Putnam Ave by exit 5.

According to Captain Kraig Gray, the panhandler exchanged inappropriate words of a sexual nature with a  motorist and one called police.

The motorist said the panhandler was aggressive and use “strong, inappropriate words of a graphic nature.”

The panhandler was charged with creating a public disturbance, an infraction, which means they receive a ticket and pay a fine.

Two summers ago residents complained about a panhandler in front of Riverside Commons by exit 5.

A man with a poster that said “Homeless Family in Need Not Bums” walked the sidewalk in front of Riverside Commons Shopping Center for several weeks and Greenwich Police received multiple complaints from residents.

At the time Captain Gray explained that panhandling is not illegal. In fact it may be viewed as protected ‘free speech’ under the US Constitution.

However, there are activities sometimes associated with panhandling that are illegal, such as illegal use of a highway by pedestrians, disorderly conduct, or trespassing.

“If a person is simply standing there asking for charity, that is not illegal,” Captain Kraig Gray said at the time.

The sidewalk is set up for pedestrians, while Putnam Ave is set up for cars. So, while standing on the sidewalk asking for charity with a sign is legal, running into the roadway to collect money from a driver is another story.


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