by Garret Ean
July 13 2012
Riot police responded to the scene of a Chalk Walk celebration in Los Angeles last evening and forcibly disbursed a crowd. Unfortunately, some in the crowd responded to the police’s violence in kind, escalating the situation, and motivating the better armed aggressors to deploy rubber bullets and batons on civilians. Seventeen people were arrested in total, nine for chalking (including a juvenile), two for failure to disperse, one for receiving stolen property, two for simply resisting arrest, and three for assaulting a police officer. Two of those charged with assaulting the police also received the subtitle ‘with a deadly weapon’. One officer was reportedly given a minor concussion by a bottle smashing against her helmet.
The chalking protest itself was a response to the arrest of twelve Occupy LA chalkers over the past four weeks in the United States’ second largest city. Organizers of the Chalk Walk scheduled the event to coincide with the annual Art Walk occurring simultaneously nearby. Free chalk was made available to those who cared to participate.
Journalist Nancy Casanova tweeted this picture of the night’s violence kicking off. The first individual arrested, a young woman chalking the ground.
Local news affiliates broadcast video from the scene.
The chalk riot in Los Angeles occurs just one day after Ademo Freeman was ordered incarcerated for sixty days over chalkings at the Manchester police station he inscribed on June 4, 2011. He was denied a jury trial because the court sent his trial notification to a nonexistent address.
July 14 2012: Ironically overlooked on the night of the Chalk Walk was a 9th circuit court ruling which had been reported on that day by the LA Times. The court ruled that using ‘less than lethal’ exercises of force, such as rubber bullets and batons on non-aggressive protestors, is a violation of their civil rights.