Gastonia’s homeless veteran regularly collected money from an intersection. He paid with his freedom as well as his service dog for the purchase on October 13.
A woman called 911 that day to complain about Joshua Rohrer’s “using” of her phone. [his]To get money, you must have a dog. Rohrer adopted the dog to be his post-traumatic stress disorder (PTS) service animal. He had just returned from an overseas tour with the U.S. Army.
Evidently, the operator was completely confused. “Does the operator think that [dog is] in danger?” He asked. “Like, what?” he asked. [is he]How can you use your dog to make money?
She replied that they were using the dog as a way to feel bad for people. After that, the dispatcher stated that he wasn’t aware of any illegalities.
If there is a will there is a way. Gastonia Police Department officer arrived at the intersection and informed Rohrer that Rohrer was in violation of the law. He asked him for identification. Rohrer denied that Rohrer did anything illegal. Rohrer disputed that he had done anything illegal. The officer requested support, believing it prudent to call all hands on deck in order to arrest a panhandler. Rohrer was required to produce a state identification. Rohrer didn’t possess one; Rohrer only carried his Veterans Affairs card. Eyewitnesses report that he was taken into custody shortly after.
Justyn Hufman, a local NBC affiliate reported that an officer requested his ID. He tried reaching into his pocket for his ID, but he wasn’t moving fast enough. He was thrown against the vehicle by them. He was taken into custody.
Sunshine ran away after being tased by an officer. Rohrer asked the officers if they would retrieve Sunshine and transport her to him. He said that they laughed at him. Army Times. Since then, the dog was killed after being struck by a car.
The following information was available at press time Gastonia Police DepartmentNot responded to There are reasonsPlease send a request to comment.
Rohrer was charged with solicitation and resisting arrest. The primary charge—that he was begging for money—is part of an effort to restrict panhandling, and it is not the first. Similar laws appear all over the country. Constitutional challenges have also been raised.
The Lowell Anti-Beginning Ban, Massachusetts (previously in effect), prohibited any “aggressive” panhandling. You had to act aggressively. Officials claim that this sign was intended to discourage “modern-day court jesters and buffoons” who were being accused by the city of “parasitism”.
A federal court found that the content-based restriction was not applicable to sign-bearing individuals. The American Civil Liberties Union sued. It is notThese are related to financial needs. Massachusetts’s panhandling ban was repealed in December last year. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court asked how individuals could ask for money to buy tickets or newspapers, but not personal charity.
Greensboro, North Carolina, also used to have a begging ban, but the city did away with it six days after the ACLU sued in 2018—a testament perhaps to how constitutionally questionable they knew the law to be.
While constitutional issues are irrelevant, Rohrer’s arrest and death by his dog show how such statutes can be applied to practical problems. It is possible to be charged with upholding the law against those who have a monopoly of force. AllThese laws. Sometimes, it’s not worth the effort.