Littering Citation Offers Lessons for All

Today in Cleveland Municipal Court, the City Prosecutor moved to nolle, or dismiss, the littering citation issued to John Davis for allegedly tossing money out of his car window to a homeless man.  Now that the court proceedings are complete, we want to set the record straight.

  1. In the City of Cleveland, it is illegal to ask for money from the side of the roadway and it is also illegal to GIVE money from your vehicle to someone soliciting funds.
  2. When people ask for, or solicit, money from the roadway they place themselves and others in harm’s way.  If you take a close look at this photo, the man pictured is very close toI90 & W117 the edge of the curb.  If he rolls his wheelchair less than a foot, he would topple right INTO the off-ramp of I-90.  Traffic can, and does, become a major issue as each person stopping to hand this man money is, in fact, IMPEDING the FLOW of traffic.  This causes traffic to back up (which, let’s face it, can make for some serious road rage) and increases the likelihood of accidents.
  3. A number of  individuals who are homeless suffer from mental health issues and/or substance abuse problems.  Oftentimes, well-intended contributions made directly to individuals are spent on drugs or alcohol.  Therefore, it is the recommendation of the Cleveland Division of Police that any charitable contributions be made to an accredited advocacy program, of which there are many.  Funds collected by the advocacy groups are spent on healthcare, food and shelter for the homeless.

As always, the primary concern of the Cleveland Division of Police is the safety of the public we serve.  Let’s all take this opportunity to to learn from what happened and to make Cleveland a better place where we can truly help those in need and keep each other safe.