Activists say City Attorney has yet to Prosecute Even One of the Nearly Two Dozen Chalk Arrests
LOS ANGELES –Participants of Occupy LA’s Chalk Walk wonder why the Los Angeles Police Department continues to arrest them for chalking when the City Attorney has declined to prosecute any of the chalking arrests.
One Occupier wonders, “If the so-called crime is not worth prosecuting, then is it worth making the chalk arrests in the first place?” and then adds, “LAPD harasses us with these arrests to intimidate us.”
Occupy activists say that LAPD had made nearly twenty arrests for chalking related to Occupy but has failed to make chalking arrests at non-occupy events including an event the Mayor handed out boxes of yellow chalk to be used on the “sidewalks, driveways, and any blank canvasses” including the streets of Sunset Blvd in traffic at night for a fundraiser for Lance Armstrong’s art campaign, “Hope Rides Again”, sponsored by Nike.
Chalking activists –known as Chalktivists – say the Mayor, LAPD, and the City have a double standard which allows for two sets of laws, one for occupiers and one of others.
“The Mayor violated the new City Hall Park rules during his opening ceremonies last Thursday,” said a chalktivist, "by using an Amplified Sound system and a generator specifically banned under revised park rules. If we would have done that, there would have been riot police and rubber bullets.”
Occupy LA participants say the arrests stem from their nightly encampment and continued protest of the Central City Association (CCA), a local lobbying group located at 626 Wilshire Blvd.
Activists insist LAPD had not made chalking arrests until the group started focusing in on CCA.
“These arrests and the violence caused by LAPD have nothing to do with chalk,” said another Chalktivist, “It all has to do with our dissent against the city’s cozy relationship with lobbyists”.
These activists say the Central City Association creates Business Improvement Districts (BID), hires private security companies, and CCA gentrifies downtown by displacing small businesses, low-income families, and minorities from the city’s center.
Members of Occupy say the private securities hired by the BIDs perform duties for the LAPD even though Courts ruled the private security cannot perform police duties. Videos
of July’s Art Walk show the green-shirt security guards holding police lines.
“We should not be harassed by the green shirts or LAPD for chalking especially if the City Attorney isn’t willing to prosecute us for these so-called vandalism crimes,” states another Chalktivist.
Activists say the City Attorney has prosecuted plenty of Occupiers on other petty charges.They say he may be tough on some protest issues but not chalk.
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*PLEASE NOTE: This was written by an individual participant in Occupy LA but is not an official statement. All official statements have to have consensus from Occupy LA's general assembly.