Now that there are artsy ways to get rid of annoying billboards in Times Square, it seems that cops are trying to get rid of annoying regulars. Joshua Long, better known as "Weed Man" of Times Square, is known for carrying a sign reading "Help! I need money for weed." But he has now filed a lawsuit against the city, complaining that his First, Fourth and 14th Amendment rights have been violated by repeated arrests.
According to his lawsuit, the police have continually impeded on his right to lawfully beg: "Though the First Amendment protects Mr. Long's right to stand on the sidewalk with his sign, he has been, and continues to be, regularly and wrongfully, arrested, charged and harassed by police officers...Without an injunction, it is virtually assured that the NYPD will continue to violate Mr. Long's constitutional rights," it reads. Long, a 30-year-old North Carolina native, generally stands outside the Planet Hollywood on Broadway, between 45th and 46th.
Long's lawyer, Matthew Brinckerhoff, says that his client is seeking a court order protecting Long's right to beg and unspecified damages and lawyer fees: "He certainly has the right to stand on the sidewalk and ask for money. I can only conclude that the police don't like his message."
Ironically, as we learned last year, Long claims he doesn't even smoke marijuana! But he does put away $200 during a four- or five-hour shift, which he has been putting toward a real estate career. If the police really wanted to crack down on marijuana users in Times Square, they should go after the big fish: