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Intimidating panhandler

Too often, the disorderly conduct charge is used by police as a catch-all charge for behavior that isn't really illegal.

None of this is meant to minimize the problem of downtown homelessness. And make no mistake: Aggressive panhandling is a crime, and it should be quashed.

Albany Officer Glenn Szelest, in his arrest report, said Carroll's sign "distracted the drivers of passing vehicles causing public inconvenience." The sign, Szelest wrote, obstructed traffic by causing drivers to slow down. Szelest is the downtown bicycle cop who was involved in that much-discussed, videotaped confrontation with an Albany street performer.

Musician Leif Solem, 43, was also charged with disorderly conduct, although his case was dismissed on Thursday when District Attorney David Soares declined to prosecute.

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(Cat Jones via Youtube) ORG XMIT: MER2015091415294004 less In a video posted on Youtube, musician Leif Solem is told by Albany Officer Glenn Szelest that he is not allowed to perform on the sidewalk without a permit.

Many of these individuals already have substance abuse problems, so panhandling is a way they generate funds to obtain the substances they are addicted to.

By giving money to local agencies instead, their financial contributions will definitely be put towards providing food, clothing, and other necessities for those in need.

more Albany John Carroll was standing near a downtown highway exit on a recent morning.

The 46-year-old held a small sign that said, "Homeless Anything Helps." For that, Carroll was charged with disorderly conduct.


  1. Sep 29, 2014. “The reason people are panhandling is that people do give them money,”. between homelessness and aggressive, intimidating panhandling.

  2. May 24, 2016. “Soliciting in public is a common practice, but there are instances when solicitors can be intimidating and aggressive,” said state Rep.

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