Florida man fed up with aggressive panhandlers takes to streets to warn other drivers

Posted at 7:58 AM, Jul 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-16 11:14:23-04

BRADENTON, Fla. — Instead of a handout, Ryan Bray said he offered a homeless man $15 an hour to do yard work. Bray said his offer to the man in need fell on deaf ears.

Bray said the homeless man only wanted money and became angry.

"So, I started rolling up my window, he's getting belligerent the whole time and then he kicks my tire," Bray said. "I said enough's enough."

MORE: Latest news from across Florida

Later that Sunday, Bray said he came back to the Bradenton, Florida, intersection with a sign that read, "I offered him $15 an hour to do yardwork for me, and he refused. If we as a community stop paying them, they will leave our neighborhood!"

From there, Bray said things escalated and the Bradenton police responded.

"What frustrated me is the belligerence if you don't give them money," Bray said. "They curse and they yell at you. Said he's going to 'rape my mother, kill my wife,' you know why? Because, I didn't give you any dollars. Don't get belligerent with people that don't give you money."

Scripps station WFTS in Tampa talked to the man Bray identified as the aggressive panhandler. The man only said he wanted us to identify him as "Alabama" and that he didn't do anything wrong.

"I said, 'Hey brother, I don't want no trouble now' I said. 'Now you want trouble, let's rock and roll," Alabama said. "Then they [the police] get on my ***. I said 'why you getting on me man?' I said 'that's stalking.'"

Alabama said Bray was the aggressor and that Bray never offered him a job.

"He's a rich preppy [expletive], piece of [expletive] who thinks I'm supposed to take his [expletive] because he's got money and he lives down here. I don't care what you got brother," Alabama said. "I never had no trouble until this dude shows up. Just because he's got money, don't mean as homeless people, we don't have rights."

Florida law states that panhandling is a misdemeanor. But, each municipality can choose whether to enforce the state law.

Bray wants the city of Bradenton to pass stronger legislation against aggressive panhandling.

"I understand the plight of homelessness," Bray said. "I feel bad for him. But, this isn't homelessness. They are making more money sitting here on this corner than they would doing an honest living. Enough is enough. It's out of control. It's getting worse and worse and worse now they are coming into northwest Bradenton."