7 arrested for aggressively panhandling during downtown rush-hour traffic, police say

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Seven people were arrested after aggressively panhandling in downtown Jacksonville.

Police said the panhandlers would go up to drivers and place signs on their windows saying they needed money.

Some other panhandlers in the area News4Jax spoke to said that’s something you never do.

“I just stand still," one area panhandler said. "If they want to give it to me from the kindness of their heart, then I’ll accept it. If not, then I don’t take it.”

Another area panhandler said, “I ask my Lord Jesus for $10 a day, and I usually come up with it.”

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office arrested the seven people last week downtown during the middle of rush hour. 

Police said the aggressive panhandlers would stand at intersections, walk up to cars and place their signs in drivers' windows asking for money.

“That’s a definite no-no. There’s a lot of ones that will, and they deserve to be arrested,” one of the area panhandler said.

Some drivers in the area said the panhandling downtown has gotten out of control.

“You can’t distinguish them from being a robber and an actual homeless person, so you have to arrest them as if they’re robbers, because you’re walking up to me asking me for money," resident Gershoma Berring said. "I say no and now you are basically attacking me.”

But the panhandlers that keep to themselves said they wish the bad ones would stay off the street.

“I tell them, 'Man, you’re not going to be out here very long doing that crazy aggressive panhandling,'" an area panhandler said. "I mean, they get really stupid. I think they bring them from up north or something.”

They said holding up their sign is a request for money, not a demand.

The alleged aggressive panhandlers have been arrested on charges for peddling and obstructing traffic.

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