Las Cruces Police Come Down On Street Performer

LAS CRUCES, N.M. – Peter Barbeau of Taos has been staking out Las Cruces intersections to play his saxophone and beat a bucket drum. He says he makes a lot of people smile as they drive past.

But police have cited the 55-year-old Barbeau for aggressive panhandling under an ordinance that prohibits asking for money and entering roadways.

Barbeau says he will fight what he calls an unconstitutional violation of his right to free speech. He says he fought and won after a confrontation two years ago that resulted in a city ordinance in Wilmington, N.C., being ruled overbroad and unconstitutional.

Barbeau faces a $500 fine and up to 30 days in jail.