Judge rules police cannot arrest sign holders

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Posted: Friday, February 1, 2013 11:16 pm | Updated: 11:14 pm, Thu Mar 14, 2013.

SARASOTA - Sign-holders are free to stand on city streets, thanks to a Sarasota judge's ruling.

The injunction -- effective immediately -- allows people holding signs to do so without interference.

In response, Sarasota Police Chief Bernadette DiPino issued an order Friday instructing officers not to arrest, cite or bother anyone seen holding a sign -- regardless of the sign's message.

This order comes just weeks after officers wrongly arrested a homeless man and charged him with soliciting funds.

The order allows an exception when it is clear the individual is creating an unsafe condition or blocking traffic.

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  • Nick Knatterton posted at 9:23 am on Sun, Feb 3, 2013.

    Nick Knatterton Posts: 3

    It's no pleasure waiting at a traffic light and seeing these people holding up signs. What am I suppose to do, give my hard earned money to every Tom, D i c k and Harry at each intersection?
    Am I to feel guilty, pathos or to ignore them completely or are they deemed part of the beauty of Florida?

    My comments keep disappearing! Are they so bad and destructive?
    Holy cow... are we now in the 1984 state of mind here.
    As I write this the following comes up "Your comment cannot be accepted due to the presence of profanity. Please remove any objectionable content from your comment and try again " I could not figure out what is wrong-- until I separated the second name.
    Are we this sensitive now?

  • bbuster10 posted at 1:21 pm on Sat, Feb 2, 2013.

    bbuster10 Posts: 2

    There are more and more of people holding signs and they do walk out into traffic. That part is intimidating when they are standing right outside your car window. There are several men and women who congegrate on Fruitville and US 301. They leave trash full on cups and other items in a box which ends up strewn around the businesses. I have had the fun of walking past the same people and they also will ask for money which when adding in the verbal part sounds more like panhandling. It is the same people everyday. I was further south in Sarasota and just happened to watch a guy who was holding out a homeless sign in a parking lot get into a newer suv, as soon as the car pulled up. There is a homeless problem, but there is a lot of scamming going on by those mentioned above.


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