Fatal stabbing renews panhandling debate in Baltimore
BALTIMORE (WBFF) - The murder of a good Samaritan has reignited the debate about panhandlers in Baltimore.
According to police, Jacquelyn Smith, 54, of Harford County was stabbed to death in East Baltimore Friday while trying to help someone she thought was in need.
“The last thing I'm thinking is that this guy has a knife,” said Jacquelyn’s husband Keith Smith. “I mean, we are giving.”
Smith is now pleading to lawmakers to crack down on panhandling.
Baltimore city law prohibits aggressive soliciting.
The ordinance defines this as using intimidation, abusive language, blocking a person or their vehicle, touching another person, or causing a reasonable person fear of bodily harm while asking for money.
Section 47-4 says people cannot solicit from someone who is driving or riding in traffic on a public street.
“You can't impede traffic. You can't harrass people. You can't assault people. You can't impede their free flow. You can't act in a disorderly fashion,” said Warren Brown, a local attorney. “Those are those types of laws that police can act upon.”
Brown said enacting a stricter law would be difficult because the first amendment also protects ones civil rights.
“You have a constitutional right to ask people to attend your church, to vote for your candidate, and to help you buy food.”