Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police arrested two young pro-life activists over the weekend, for using sidewalk chalk to scratch out the message, "Black Pre-Born Lives Matter" in front of a local Planned Parenthood abortion facility.
Students for Life of America and the Frederick Douglass Foundation co-hosted the event, and said they'd received a District Police permit to hold the demonstration and were even advised by an officer that they weren't prevented from writing on the asphalt.
The group said they were instructed to use tempura paint, according to The Washington Post. Tempura is a permanent, fast-drying paint.
Instead they used chalk, something easily washed off.
However, the police don't issue such permits — the D.C. Department of Transportation does. But apparently the pro-lifers weren't told that.
Erica Caporaletti, a 22-year-old Towson University student, and Warner DePriest, a 29-year-old D.C. resident, who were both wearing masks, addressed reporters while standing in front of a line of at least four police cruisers, according to a video posted to YouTube.
Caporaletti pointed to the police vehicles and said, "If we were writing ‘Black Lives Matter' we would not be in this position." DePriest said the two groups held similar demonstrations at that location every weekend in recent months.
As the pair bent down and began chalking their message on the sidewalk, an officer approached and told them that they'd be arrested if they continued chalking.
They continued chalking and were arrested without resistance or incident.
Metro Police spokeswoman Alaina Gertz told the Daily Caller News Federation (DCNF) that the two activists were arrested for "the defacing of private/public property" and were later "both citation released."
Both The Washington Post and the DCNF reported that the office of Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, a Democrat, failed to respond to a request for comment on the incident.
However, two months earlier, Bowser commissioned for the message "Black Lives Matter" to be painted in large, bright yellow block letters on a public street near the White House. It was intended as a message to President Trump.
She took that action in response to federal officers breaking up attempts to topple a statue of Andrew Jackson in Washington, D.C.'s Lafayette Square, located across the street from the White House.
The rioters later torched the historic Sr. John's Church and attempted to set up what they called the Black House Autonomous Zone in the same park.
John Falcicchio, the mayor's chief of staff, issued a statement purporting to explain the reasoning behind mayor's decision to paint the BLM graffiti.
"There was a dispute this week about whose street it is, and Mayor Bowser wanted to make it abundantly clear whose street it is and honor the peaceful demonstrators who assembled Monday night," he said.
In addition, the mayor permitted BLM activists to paint messages that included "Defund the Police" in the vicinity of the BLM graffiti, and using the same bright yellow paint. This calls into question the manner in which permits are granted.
"Defund the Police" plastered in bright yellow permanent paint is OK, but "Black Pre-Born Lives Matter" scrawled in chalk that can be hosed off in a matter of minutes is not?
It's obvious that speech, in this case, is permitted only if the mayor agrees with the message. That's not how free speech works. That's not what the First Amendment provides, and that wasn't the intent of the founders.
If you hear speech with which you disagree, you have every right to challenge it, but you have no right to silence it.
Time columnist David French, who's also a senior editor at The Dispatch, asked, "Why arrest anyone for mere chalking? Especially on a public sidewalk?"
He continued, "After the absolute avalanche of graffiti in American cities, arresting pro-life activists for chalking on the sidewalk is petty and absurd and broadcasts selective enforcement."
It would have been far better for Bowser to prosecute everyone who defaces any property — public or private. But if she's going to allow BLM activists to paint anti-police messages on the public square, she has to allow pro-lifers to chalk out their own anti-abortion messages.
Even the leftest of leftists have to understand that. They may not like it, but they should understand it.
Michael Dorstewitz is a retired lawyer and has been a frequent contributor to BizPac Review and Liberty Unyielding. He is also a former U.S. Merchant Marine officer and an enthusiastic Second Amendment supporter, who can often be found honing his skills at the range. Read Michael Dorstewitz's Reports — More Here.
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