“Chalk the Police State” with the CopBlock Network on July 18th

Chalk The Police StateTime for the Third Annual “Chalk the Police State” Day is fast approaching on July 18th. Like previous years, Nevada Cop Block and the CopBlock Network would like to make this a national event with as many cities as possible making a statement about police brutality and accountability, as well as the continuing militarization and expansion of police forces and governments.

Originally, the call for Chalk the Police State Day was put out by members of Nevada Cop Block, dubbed the “Sunset 5” after we were arrested for legally and peacefully protesting (see below for more details). However, the use of chalk in Cop Block protests actually dates back to the “Manchester 8” arrests in 2011 and two subsequent annual “Chalk the Police Day” events. It was through participation in those that members of Nevada Cop Block  found out how useful and effective chalk protests could be. So, technically this could be called the fifth annual chalk protest by members of the CopBlock Network nationwide.

#BlueLiesMatter

#BlueLiesMatter

The number of people killed by police this year alone already stands at 590 (and counting rapidly), with the per day average death toll being three people. Of those nearly 600 people whose lives have ended at the hands of the police, some of them have gotten a lot of attention and inspired massive protests. But for every Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, Antonio Zambrano-Montes, John Crawford, Kelly Thomas, Walter Scott, and Tamir Rice, there are many others, such as Michael Nida, Stanley Gibson, Manuel Diaz, Danielle Willard, and Erik Scott, in your own communities that don’t get the same sort of national attention.

July 18th will be an opportunity for local groups to highlight police brutality on a national level. You can choose who to talk about with a national audience ready to listen via the CopBlock Network.

As a tool of protest, chalk has many advantages:

  • Chalk protests require very little preplanning: No routes have to be picked, no streets or traffic have to be blocked to accommodate that route, no signs have to be made or transported, and no leaders have to be picked to coordinate all of that. Basically, you just pick a location and hand out some chalk. People can decide for themselves (another advantage) what and how much they want to write. The most complicated part of the planning is making sure someone picks up enough chalk that day. In fact, chalk protests can be very spontaneous and unscheduled. Some members of NVCopBlock have been known to carry chalk on them just in case the need for an impromptu protest presents itself. No “conspiring” is necessary.
  • Chalk allows small groups to make a big impact: One of the biggest advantages to chalk protests is the ability it creates for a small determined group to maximize their impact. While we hope that lots of people show up everywhere, the truth is you don’t need 100 people with signs to get the message out. Instead, within a relatively short amount of time a small number of people can write out multiple messages each. Anybody walking past the location of the protest will see those messages, even if you don’t have 50 people to hold individual signs. In fact, the activity of drawing usually creates curiosity among people in the area and grabs their attention. Many of them want to come and see what all the commotion is about.
  • Forty Feet of InjusticeChalk allows for a lasting visual impact: One of the staples of chalk protests, especially amongst members of Nevada Cop Block have been taking photos of the messages chalked. As an extension of the artistic nature of the chalk itself, it creates powerful visual imagery that transcends the protest. Even if the chalk messages are quickly (and easily) cleaned up right afterwards, those images and their thousand words live on. Sharing those photos via the internets and social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram, etc., allows people throughout the country and even worldwide that didn’t actually attend the protest to see and pass along those messages. In fact, when those of us from Nevada Cop Block were arrested back in 2013, the Associated Press and other media outlets used my photos from previous protests in their stories. The LVMPD was soon faced with the rather unpleasant reality that the statements they were trying to suppress about how often they murdered people and how non-existent their accountability for those murders was were popping up in newspapers and websites all across the United States. That included the front page of the local papers.
  • Chalk is very easy: Most people drew on sidewalks as a child and, even if you didn’t, it’s not exactly hard to figure out how to write stuff. And oftentimes in the past there have even been children, who can give you some pointers, at Cop Block’s chalk protests.
  • Chalk is fun: Drawing with chalk allows people to be creative and express themselves in the process of protesting. You’re not just limited to walking around shouting slogans and holding signs.
  • Chalk is cheap: The cost of a chalk protest basically consists of a few boxes of chalk and not much else. Those can be easily and very inexpensively found in most department stores or art/toy stores. You probably spend more on dinner most days than you will on a chalk protest.
  • Chalk doesn’t cause damage: Most of the false claims regarding “damage” caused by chalk protests are based on the clean up costs involved once the protests are over and the police (or other target of the protest) no longer want to have their crimes highlighted on the public sidewalks for the world to see. However, the truth is that chalk is very easily cleaned up with nothing but water. In fact, the simple act of pouring water on the chalk usually is enough to remove it. Beyond that, it doesn’t even actually have to be cleaned up. It isn’t in anyone’s way, nor does it prevent anyone from going about their business in a usual manner if they want to. The only real reason somebody would want to remove it before the wind, rain, or even people just walking over it would do so naturally would be if they didn’t want to have a spotlight shined on their bad behaviour and lack of accountability.
  • Chalk is Free Speech: Several courts in various parts of the country have already ruled that sidewalks are considered public forums and that chalk in fact doesn’t cause any real damage. Therefore, writing out criticisms of police and other governmental officials is a legal and protected form of free speech protected by the First Amendment.

Chalk Arrests Las VegasJuly 18th marks the two year anniversary of when members of Nevada Cop Block called for the first Chalk the Police State Day amid the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s attempts to shut down legal, peaceful anti-police brutality protests involving chalk throughout the Las Vegas area. Those attempts at intimidation, harassment, and retaliation against people bringing attention to their crimes eventually led to the arrests of three people and charges against two others for the non-crimes of writing on the sidewalk with chalk and conspiring to do so.

Although the “graffiti” charges were dropped shortly after, amid a large and vocal public uproar locally, the intent to silence criticism was fairly obvious. In addition, that obviousness and the blatant overreach it represented actually resulted in more publicity for the lack of accountability and blatant murders by the LVMPD and other Las Vegas area police departments than the original protests ever had. Their inflation of (unnecessary) clean up costs to justify making arrests, rather than giving out citations, and the possibility of a four year sentence that some of those arrested potentially faced brought attention nationally.

Chalk Protest Las VegasSince that time, Nevada Cop Block has held countless chalk protests throughout Las Vegas and even other parts of the country. The effectiveness and ease of chalk protests have led to it being our primary choice for political actions. Also, although some people were too afraid to take part after the initial arrests and there have been many instances of harassment during subsequent protests, as of yet there have been no additional arrests associated with chalking. In fact, in some ways the media coverage it created has enabled us to get our message out even more effectively via interviews and the spread of chalk protests among other groups.

Last year, thirteen different groups from all over the country participated in Second Annual Chalk the Police State Day. With the spread of the CopBlock Network over the years into ever more cities and even internationally, it shouldn’t really be hard to get even more out onto the sidewalks this year. July 18th will be a day for everyone who is tired of police brutality and and the occupying armies that local police are rapidly turning into, regardless of where you are, to let them know that we won’t tolerate them any longer within our communities and against our friends and families.

Bring attention to those high profile national cases, highlight the abuses by your own local police departments, and put everyone responsible for them on notice that we are watching and the days of waiting are rapidly nearing an end. Bring so much attention to their crimes that they have no choice, but to create meaningful change.

The CopBlock Network Facebook event page for the National Chalk the Police State Day is located here:

If you haven’t already “liked” the CopBlock Network’s Facebook page, you should in order to get updates. Ideally, each individual city should set up their own event page (such as this Las Vegas invite) to coordinate locally. However, you should also invite everyone you believe would want to participate (and stop hanging out with people that won’t) to the national event, especially those from a different city than you, in order to get the word out to as many people as possible.

Find a CopBlock Group near you!

Find a CopBlock Group near you!

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About Kelly W. Patterson

a lifelong resident of Las Vegas, who's been very active in local grassroots activism, as well as on a national level during his extensive travels. He's also the founder/main contributor of Nevada Cop Block, served as editor/contributor at CopBlock.org and designed the Official Cop Block Press Passes. ____________________________________________________________________________ Connect with Kelly at these social networks; Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

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16 Responses to ““Chalk the Police State” with the CopBlock Network on July 18th”

  1. JC July 9, 2015 at 10:14 am #

    More childish copblockers playing with chalk. Even children know chalking up everything is inappropriate. Chalk does damage. I read the Keene memorial was chalked up so bad the city had to pay someone to clean it professionally. Also I read the gazebo in Keene had to be repainted because of all the chalk. Cine Las Vegas is in the middle of a drought, how is the rain going to wash it away? Water is in serious need so you are causing the wasting of water. You people are idiots.

    • Andrew July 9, 2015 at 3:30 pm #

      You’re an idiot

      • JCrapeslittleboys July 9, 2015 at 9:42 pm #

        +1

    • DeadPigGoodPig July 9, 2015 at 11:00 pm #

      At some point you would think you would be embarrassed to open your mouth, but then we are pleasantly surprised when stupid falls out of it again and again.

  2. t July 9, 2015 at 10:33 am #

    Oh…you guys do make me smile

    It was about a year ago (maybe not quite that long) when a group of the Keene crew posted up a video of them out “chalking one night.
    The funniest part of the video was how violent those peace lovers became when a bunch of other young adults came and poured water out on their chalk…and washed it away.
    The irony of progressive liberals who so immediately want to crush the voice and opinions of others….hate it when someone does t agree with them.

    That video wasn’t up for but a few hours…kinda like the one where I AM CENTURION got owned in the middle of the street by a college kid who sent mister tough talk chasing after the police to protect him.

    It makes me smile :-D

    • DeadPigGoodPig July 9, 2015 at 10:58 pm #

      The pussies make you smile, you wouldn’t smile around me.

    • Kelly W. Patterson July 10, 2015 at 12:23 am #

      The chalk they sell at Target can write on wet concrete.

      • t July 10, 2015 at 7:13 am #

        KWP:
        Oh. So now you’re advocating real live vandalism to public property. If the chalk doesn’t wash off…it’s more permanent and would be vandalism. Good call. Lead the sheep into trouble

        Oh…but you COMPLETELY missed the point.
        The point was that you goofs can’t stand an opposing viewpoint. You stomp on the rights of others because you think only your rifts are important. Thanks for enforcing that.

        • Kelly W. Patterson July 10, 2015 at 8:39 am #

          Nobody said it wouldn’t wash off. That’s one of the main characteristics of “Washable Sidewalk Chalk.” It just sucks (for them) when people spend a bunch of energy carrying water out and then are real proud of themselves for washing it away and ruining your efforts, but you come right behind them and write again.

          The look of defeat on their face is pretty magical.

          Cops don’t have a right to murder people, BTW. However, citizens do have a right to bring attention to those murders. It’s the first one.

          • t July 10, 2015 at 10:13 am #

            KWP:
            Oh. So it still washed off.
            Ok then

            But thanks for really reinforcing the idea that super aggressive progressive liberals such as yourself think that only your rights matter and not respecting that someone disagrees with you.

            You write it, they rinse it off. You write it again…they rinse it off again.

            You’re such Da Man wit da Chalk In Yo Hand.

            TRUE. No one has the right to murder anyone. Thank goodness the police are there to invisetagaire, locate charge and apprehend those who do such horrible crimes.

            BTW….did you see that 7 out every 10 U.S. cities are looking to dramatically increase their public safety budgets to add more officers in response to the demeans of the citizens?
            Guess you missed that one huh?

          • Kelly W. Patterson July 10, 2015 at 4:15 pm #

            Yes, I readily admit that I have no respect for people whose opinion it is that police can just murder people and get away with it every single time in the 100+ year history of the city of Las Vegas. i don’t see myself developing a respect for such a disgusting and immoral opinion anytime soon.

            BTW, We defeated the “More Cops” tax here in Vegas about a year and a half ago. We aren’t missing all the murders and absolute lack of accountability out here. Fortunately, the rest of the country is starting to catch on, too. The arrogance with which cops murder people and cover up for the murders of other cops has a lot to do with that.

            #BlueLiesMatter

          • t July 10, 2015 at 7:44 pm #

            KWP:
            Wow. You are imaginative.

            No ones murdering anyone and getting away with it.
            And nobody is saying anything about any made up thing but you.

            It is funny that you do admit hat you don’t respect anyone else’s opinion…but yet you seem to want to defend that others respect your opinion.
            The classic progressive liberal approach.

          • jay money July 18, 2015 at 11:11 am #

            umm wow really theres thousands of cases where police beat, murder, citizens & get away with it, they are the law what do u expect, thousands are murdered by cops yearly yet all they get is paid leave do look this up & u shall c

    • Mytar July 18, 2015 at 10:33 am #

      I actually agree with you on this one.

      Legal to write it in chalk, also legal to pour water on the ground. If was to go out and hand out chalk, I would give it to anyone that wanted to use it. Free speech for all. Protest, support, whatever. Free speech is to allow people to say what they want, if everyone liked what was being said, we wouldn’t need the right.

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