by WorldTribune Staff, August 2, 2020
This is what life is like in the nation’s capital in the summer of 2020.
The police were told to stand down as Black Lives Matter was permitted to paint “Defund the Police” for everyone to see on 16th Street NW in Washington, D.C. The city even re-named a two-block section in the area Black Lives Matter Plaza.
But, when pro-life activists attempted to paint “Black Preborn Lives Matter” on the street outside a D.C. Planned Parenthood facility, city officials sent the police in to stop them.
Police stopped the pro-life groups Saturday and arrested two activists for writing the message in chalk on a sidewalk, even though the activists said they had the District government’s permission for the street painting, Valerie Richardson reported for The Washington Times.
Students for Life of America (SLA) leaders said they informed police and city officials during the permit process that they would be painting the message on the 1200 block of 4th Street NE, citing the precedent of the protesters who painted “Defund the Police” on 16th Street NW.
“We were told verbally that we would not be prevented from painting and what kind of paint to buy,” said Students for Life spokesperson Kristi Hamrick in an email, adding that the group was told to use non-permanent tempera paint.
But video released Saturday morning showed officers telling two activists from Students for Life to stop writing “Black Preborn Lives Matter” in chalk on the sidewalk in front of the Planned Parenthood facility, and then arresting them when they refused.
Alaina Gertz, spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police Department, said that the group had obtained a permit to hold a rally in front of the Planned Parenthood facility, but not to paint the street.
“MPD did not issue a permit to paint a message on the street,” she said in an email. “MPD issues permits to assemble. Any markings on the street would have to be permitted by the DC Department of Transportation.”
Arrested and released were Warner Depriest, 29, of Southeast D.C., and Erica Caporaletti, 22, of Highland, Md., both of whom received citations for defacing public property.
In a statement, SLA president Kristan Hawkins said that “D.C. Mayor Muriel Bower has made her motives clear as she apparently only thinks that SOME Black Lives Matter and that only SOME slogans are allowed to be painted on streets.”
“After applying and receiving our permit for this event today, after being told by the Metropolitan police that the Mayor has quote ‘opened a Pandora’s box’ by painting public streets, we arrived to find six police cars threatening to arrest our team and students if they painted, even using the tempura [sic] paint we bought that the Police Department specifically requested,” said Hawkins.
“When we asked if we could at least use sidewalk chalk to chalk our anti-violence message on the streets, the police threatened to arrest us,” she said.