JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Starting today a panhandling ordinance that was passed by the city council is being enforced across Jacksonville.
Up until this point, people panhandling, or those giving panhandlers money, were just subject to a warning.
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Action News Jax spoke with one man asking for money on the side of the road who said a patrol car drove right past him, and he wonders if it will be enforced
“It’s like a trap, hard to get out of it,” Darien S. Hopping said.
Jacksonville City Council members back in February voted 16 to 3 of the plan.
Read: Jacksonville City Council passes panhandling ban, 30 day grace period begins today
Hopping is currently homeless, he says the decision that local officials made was just wrong, and he has a message for the 16 who voted in favor of this bill.
“Why don’t you come out here and survive, try to survive and see that the struggle is real,” Hopping said.
Hopping told Action News Jax, he does receive money from people, and he uses it to live.
“The first thing I did when I came here is I got enough for a 19-dollar tent, and I live in the woods somewhere around here,” says Hopping.
So what are the penalties if someone is caught panhandling.
According to this bill, we obtained from the city, for the first, second, and third offenses it’s just warnings from JSO.
For the fourth offense it could cost someone jail time, up to 10 days.
Read: New Jacksonville City Council bill aims to crack down on panhandling
“Police officers, which are public servants are supposed to be peace officers. They are supposed to be out busting people that are doing harm to innocent people. I don’t even say nothing to nobody,” Hopping said.
We also spoke with Guy Griffith who was formerly homeless. He says he doesn’t understand why the city of Jacksonville decided to implement this bill, and he hopes at some point it changes
“They need to get out here and see what it’s like, honestly. They need to put their feet on the ground and come out and talk to these guys,” Griffith said.
The three city council members who didn’t vote in favor of this bill were Reggie Gaffney Jr., Joyce Morgan, and Brenda Priestly Jackson.
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