BALTIMORE (WBFF) Baltimore police say the alleged killers of Jacquelyn Smith tried to hide behind the controversy of panhandling in Baltimore, but the debate over the dangers of panhandling remains.
Some believe the Smiths’ fabricated story only fuels unwarranted fears about Baltimore.
“I think the news media, with some of it being negative when people pull up, and [panhandlers] come to the car, a lot of drivers probably have this negative image of them and that’s when the confrontation starts,” Councilman Robert Stokes says. Smith was murdered in Stokes’ district.
But, on his WBAL radio show, Clarence Mitchell IV says panhandling was a problem before Smith’s murder, and should not be tolerated in the city.
“We were talking about people bashing windows in and abusing drivers before the tragedy of Mrs. Smith, which is why I think that this 52 year old alleged murderer, took advantage of that. He knew the climate and fed into the climate with this lie,” Mitchell said.
Approaching and soliciting money from drivers on public streets is illegal in the city of Baltimore.