Since last year, San Antonio Police Officers have been citing tickets to the homeless in the city. According to the San Antonio Current, over 12,000 citations have been given out between January 1, 2013 and early October of this year. The citations were given by a proposal by Police Chief William Mcmanus to “…have tourists and visitors feel safe from aggressive panhandling…” as stated by police spokesperson, Sergeant Javier Salazar.
In many cases, multiple homeless people were given many citations at once. Stephanie Steves, the director of St. Mary’s University Law School’s Criminal Justice Clinic in San Antonio stated that many of her visitors have been given citations and they [the citations] were given to the same people over and over again. Recipients of these citations, such as Karen Hoag and Ismael Escobar who have quoted to the S. A. Current that the police officers wouldn’t even ask them to sign and would just hand the tickets to them, forging their signatures with remarks as “too filthy to sign”, “feces on hands”, and “mentally ill”. The proposal was to ban both the individuals who give and take from panhandling, but has been primarily focused on those who receive from panhandling.
Recently, McManus has aborted his proposal, claiming “it would not make it past the committee.” and has started to shift his focus on his public charity campaigns. McManus hopes people will contribute to these campaigns in which he states “will actually help the homeless, instead of help them buy a cigarette or alcohol to feed their addiction” The campaign is called Change That Makes A Difference and is a electronic code that will digitally wire people’s contributions to organizations that help the panhandlers and the homeless. The current ordinance for panhandling restricts giving in front of buildings, ATM’s, and restauraunts.