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Fort Collins sued over policy against panhandlers

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FORT COLLINS, Colo. -- The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the city of Fort Collins arguing their policy against panhandling is unconstitutional.

The lawsuit, which follows similar legal actions taken against other Colorado cities, alleges the City of Fort Collins is impeding free speech by preventing people from asking for help.

"The constitutional right of free speech applies to everyone, regardless of their economic status, their social class," said Mark Silverstein, legal director of Colorado's ACLU branch.

The City of Fort Collins declined to speak on camera with FOX31 Denver about the lawsuit but released a statement:

"We will not likely have a comment at least until we’ve had a chance to review and evaluate the documents that we’ve received. We appreciate your interest in this case.”

Businesses in downtown Fort Collins told FOX31 Denver crews they've seen a dramatic rise in the number of panhandlers in their area and complained some of the activity was driving away business.

No court date has been announced.

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