News writing sample - Spare Change News
Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Transcripts - News writing sample - Spare Change News
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Homeless newspaper hawkers under fire
Spare Change News
As the holiday season lures droves of shoppers to the Back Bay, police are pressuring Spare
Change News vendors to stay off the streets despite laws protecting their right to push papers.
Longtime vendor Darryl Murray, who works on Newbury Street and at the Hynes Convention Center,
says police told him to leave the area because of complaints that hawkers were harassing and
“They were ordered to move everyone off the block,” says Murray. “Homeless people, panhandlers
Murray was told if he continued to sell, he would be arrested on charges of aggressive panhandling.
Another vendor who works in Copley Square has been ordered to leave as well.
Anyone may sell newspapers on the street without a license under Chapter 93, Section 40 and
Chapter 101, Section 17 of Massachusetts state law.
Officer James Kenneally, Boston Police spokesperson, says merchants complained Murray was
“creating a nuisance and a disturbance" to people in the area.
"He's putting himself in the position where he’s impacting the quality of life down there," says
Kenneally, adding that a number of complaints were filled against Murray.
However, when police reports were requested Officer Eddy Chrispin said there were none, but
maintained Murray was “getting in people’s faces.”
Murray says he has worked the area for years, is well-known and respected, and has never had
problems before. He recently submitted a petition requesting assistance—signed by store owners,
residents and shoppers—to the mayor and the governor.
Spare Change vendors purchase papers for $.25 and sell them for $1, keeping the $.75 profit.
“I just want to survive,” states the petition.
Murray says there is a push to move the homeless out of the area, which may be led by the
Kate Quinn, chief administrator of the Newbury Street League business association, says there is no
“We are in favor of anything in favor of promoting shopping on Newbury Street,” she says. “Any
aggressive hawking of papers is something that we’d be against.”
Quinn says the league has not complained to police about vendors and does not have a policy in
regard to them, though it could take up the issue soon.
Robyn Frost, executive director of the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless, says pushing the
homeless from their traditional locations is becoming a trend. Framingham and Springfield recently
closed shelters, and she says the Back Bay situation could be another example.
“I really think it’s a civil liberties issue,” she says. “If no one has filed a complaint, I don’t know how
you can be arrested if you’re not doing anything. It’s just because of who (Murray) is. You can’t just
arrest him because someone says he’s aggressive.”
“The First Amendment gives me the right to sell the paper and I'm going to continue to do so,” says
Murray. “If there's a complaint made against me I want the person who's complaining to represent
themselves. Other than that, I'm selling papers and if they illegally arrest me on false pretenses, I
have a lawyer and we're going to court.”