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Court of Apeals upholds ruling against anti-panhandling law

Court of Apeals upholds ruling against anti-panhandling law


LITTLE ROCK — A federal appeals court has upheld

a judge’s ruling against an Arkansas anti-loitering law that opponents say unfairly targets panhandlers.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday upheld a federal judge’s preliminary injunction against the 2017 law, which expands the definition of loitering to include anyone asking for charity or a gift in a harassing or threatening manner that’s likely to cause others alarm or create a traffic hazard. A federal judge in 2017 called the measure “plainly unconstitutional.”

The American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas sued the state over the ban on behalf of two panhandlers. The state had argued the measure still allowed begging in many forms.

The 2017 measure was enacted after a federal judge struck a previous begging ban in the state’s loitering law. Since then, many communities across the state, have been inundated with street corner panhandlers. Cities including West Memphis have even become havens for beggars who network online on Facebook sites such as “Squat the Planet.” Commuities have passed anti-panhandling ordinances but have been waiting to see how the court case played out before enforcing them.


HARRISON — Harrison Police Detective Ted Schaeffer makes sure sex offenders in his city are registered.

“It’s almost a daily basis,” he said.

Right now, he said there are more than 30 offenders Harrison.

“Arkansas has had a problem with multiple sex offenders not registering like they’re supposed to,” Schaeffer said.

So in April, the state amended a law that if sex offenders don’t comply with registration requirements three or more times, they must register for life. Another new law deals with Halloween activities two weeks before and after the holiday.

“It prevents them from going out and being trick-or-treaters or providing candy themselves,” Schaeffer said.

The police chief said these new laws are a way to protect the community and prevent further problems.

“Our children is our most valuable resource,” Harrison Police Chief Chris Graddy said. “They’re our future.

Here at the police department we want to do everything we can to proactively prevent them from these sexual predators.” But the detective says there does have to be a balance.

“Making sure these laws that they put into place don’t violate the rights of the people. Even though they are registered sex offenders, they do have rights.”

Other laws the state passed have to deal with sex offenders on school campuses, recording kids under the age of 14, and the definition of sexual grooming.


Deadly crash on I-30 kills 2, injures officer

BRYANT, Ark.- Bryant Police say the officer injured in a wreck that killed two other people has been released from the hospital.

According to a statement from Bryant Police, Officer Seth Wakefield conducted a routine traffic stop Wednesday morning at I-30 Eastbound, around the 123-mile marker while working the DWI Task Force.

Officials say Wakefield noticed a vehicle had defective equipment and conducted the stop.

The vehicle was pulled over on the inside lane next to the center median wall. Once the stop was completed, police say the officer returned to his patrol car.

Officials say an 18-wheeler hit the patrol car and the stopped vehicle, which resulted in two deaths. Police say Officer Wakefield suffered minor injuries and was treated and released from a local hospital.

Arkansas State Police identified the deaceased as Adriana Greenwood, 23, of Pointblank, Texas, and Treylin Cranford, 19, of Little Rock.

The driver of the FedEx truck who crossed the divider lines and collided with a police car, and a passenger car is Roshannon Dunnigan, 37, of Shreveport, Louisiana.

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