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ACLU Sues Southeast Mo. Town After Police Kick Out Homeless Couple

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Edward Gillespie and Brandalyn Orchard

Edward Gillespie and Brandalyn Orchard

MINER, Mo. (KMOX) - The American Civil Liberties Union is suing a small southeast Missouri town after police there allegedly ran a homeless couple out of town because they held a sign reading “Traveling. Anything helps. God bless.”

Edward Gillespie and Brandalyn Orchard were walking through Miner, Missouri – a small town of fewer than a thousand people – when they say police produced a copy of an ordinance against vagrancy, begging, and loitering and told them to leave town in five minutes.

The ACLU of Missouri says Miner has no such ordinance and the officers had shown the couple an out-of-date document.

The ACLU says it is stepping into the case because “it’s especially egregious when police try to intimidate those who are least likely to have the resources to defend their rights.”

“We have the right to ask for assistance. We have the right to be homeless,” Jeffrey Mittman, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri, said.

“We can’t say to somebody because you’re down on your luck you don’t have a right to be in our town.”

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