Some black lives matter in D.C.
Life | Police arrest activists for writing a pro-life message in chalk on a sidewalk
by Leah Hickman
Posted 8/07/20, 04:22 pm
About two dozen pro-life activists showed up in front of a Planned Parenthood location in Washington, D.C., on Saturday during a gathering of Students for Life and the Frederick Douglass Foundation. Two of the activists wrote “Black Pre-Born Lives Matter” in chalk on the sidewalk in front of the facility. District of Columbia police officers arrested them.
According to Students for Life, the group obtained a permit from the city’s police department to have the event in front of the facility, and members wrote a letter to Mayor Muriel Bowser to state their intentions. The activists said an officer had told them they could write the slogan on the street, and participants brought the requested temporary paint. But six police cars waited at Planned Parenthood when the group arrived, and the officers threatened to arrest them if they applied the paint. The police department denied it gave the group permission to write the slogan.
The pro-life advocates asked if they could write in chalk instead, but the officers threatened to arrest them again. A video of the encounter showed two activists wearing “Black Preborn Lives Matter” shirts bending over the sidewalk as an officer gave them a warning. One of the activists, 29-year-old Warner DePriest, said, “We do this every Saturday.” The officer responded that DePriest would be under arrest if he continued.
When DePriest and 22-year-old Erica Caporaletti wrote the slogan anyway, the officers handcuffed them, detained them for an hour, and charged them with defacing property.
Students for Life issued a statement saying the mayor opened up the streets of Washington for public expression by having “Black Lives Matter” painted on a two-block section of 16th Street downtown and allowing activists to add their own messages.
“With these threats and arrests, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser 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,” the group wrote. It called the arrests a violation of First Amendment rights and said it plans to sue the city.
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