Dozens Protest Ordinance That Bans Sitting, Lying In Downtown Indianapolis

Sep 24, 2018

Republicans on the Indianapolis City-County Council introduced a proposal Monday night that would affect the city’s homeless population.

The ordinance says no one can sit or lie on a city street or sidewalk within the Mile Square between 6 a.m. and midnight. The councilors behind it say it’s meant to address aggressive panhandling.

Social activist Tony Davis, one of a few dozen who showed up to protest the ordinance, says it dehumanizes people experiencing homelessness.

"Let’s deal with the systems that’s harming the individuals, as opposed to the individuals that were harmed by the systems," Davis says.

Some who support the proposal say too many panhandlers harass people walking downtown, which hurts local businesses by decreasing foot traffic.

“Let’s handle those on an individual basis then, if that’s the case," Davis says. "Laws are already in place to handle those issues. Why do we gotta create this to specifically marginalize the homeless community, even further than they already are?”

The council took no action on the proposal, it was only introduced. It was sent to committee for further discussion, and possible amendments.